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DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Small Business Leads the Great Pivot as Flexibility and Online Presence Dominate

A raft of business surveys from Westpac’s SME Covid-19 response report and the digital transformation insights report from accounting group, Findex reveal that the once in a generation COVID pandemic has also spurred the great digital leap forward by small business.

In the Westpac report, half the business owners polled indicated a significant change in the way their businesses operate. 

Going online and embracing technology are the pain points that businesses have to overcome in order to survive.

The Courier Mail (behind a paywall) profiled Brisbane based Gourmet Basket which specialises in online gifting to include COVID-19 gift hampers that have been taken up by small groups of people and work from home professionals where meetings and socialising are obviously limited.

For economists who talk in terms supply and demand, measuring demand is done in terms of clicks, as opposed to foot traffic, with the ability to process that demand.

The point of sale has evolved in the last decade and has seen a rapid increase in businesses providing a myriad of payment options for the consumer. 

Additionally, given the move to online, questions in relation to maintaining bricks and mortar operations have also come into focus as flexibility with workplaces and retail outlets has changed considerably. 

While this writer could provide a page of business school jargon, the reality is that flexibility is about cash flow and being able to do more with less in an economy where business face reduced foot traffic and activity is greatly reduced. 

Practically speaking the demand part of the local economy has moved to an online world and the need for business to be able to capture and process customer data in a timely manner on both mobile and desktop devices is now a must have. 

Web service providers such as Godaddy like to tout figures that 60% of businesses in Australia don’t have website. 

The actual figure is closer to 40% according to the Telstra Business Initiative but the challenge is still considerable.

The cost of a basic website that can be viewed on a mobile or desktop device capable of taking customer queries and providing static web pages of information has fallen considerably over the last decade. 

Prices can range from A$500 to A$2,000 for a well-designed basic website produced locally. 

However, the horror stories reveal tens of thousands of dollars are wasted because poor design, execution and some questionable tactics by unscrupulous operators.

In sourcing e-commerce solutions, small business owners can get advice from Department of Small Business and Training or check in with the Chamber of Commerce network. 

For reputable website service providers, the Brisbane West Chamber of Commerce has within its membership highly reputable firms that can provide advice as well as recommendations on the appropriate e-commerce solutions for a local small business. Contact the Chamber for more information.

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