As the number of businesses going digital accelerates during the pandemic, we need to accelerate our efforts to support them, writes Melinda Petrunoff, Director of Small and Medium Business, Facebook ANZ.
Never since the dot-com boom has e-commerce been so front and centre. However, with the world in constant flux, businesses need to consider what a post-pandemic normal would look like for them. Whether your business is in survival, adaptive, or growth mode now is a critical time to reallocate resources, to deliver enhanced digital experiences and set your business up to be more competitive.
Using digital to grow
Businesses that have relied solely on physical interaction will have to find more creative ways to incorporate a digital experience. Shopping directly from social channels will only continue to rise, as more consumers spend time interacting with businesses via live video, messaging, click-and-collect or subscription services.
Australian businesses have been quick to adopt using social commerce. Research from our State of Small Business Report, shows nearly half of Australian businesses have made over 25 per cent of their sales digitally in August. We’ve seen some really inspiring examples of small businesses around Australia, utilising Facebook and Instagram to keep revenue coming in.
It’s no surprise that online sales are skyrocketing. The 2020 NAB online retail sales index showed YOY growth for the segment jumped 58.5 per cent in April and reached a new YOY high of 62.6 per cent in July. The level of growth matches our data showing a surge in new online shoppers, with 54 per cent of Australian CPG consumers purchased through a messaging service, saying they did it for the first time.
Facebook Live comes into its own
Local stories in Australia on businesses finding innovative ways to leverage social commerce – have impressed me with their demonstration of resilience, and the attitude of entrepreneurs, to keep going, and keep growing. Flow Athletic, a boutique gym in Sydney were one of these businesses, and when forced to close their gym, they adapted quickly by offering virtual classes via Facebook Live and grew their international membership by 400 per cent. When we originally built Facebook Live, we had not imagined this as a possible use case. Yet, businesses are now using live video to launch a range of things – from pottery classes to digital happy hours. It’s a great example of shopper-tainment in action, where you blur the lines between discovery, evaluation and purchase, all available online through your mobile.
The rise of social selling
For the short-term, businesses of all sizes need to understand the opportunity presented with social commerce and think of the best ways to connect with people given the changing consumer behaviours we have witnessed this year with the acceleration to digital. In the long-term, the responsibility to create better digital experiences doesn’t just rest with the retailers, but with all of the platforms they use to engage customers. These need to go beyond mere advertising solutions and provide seamless customer experiences.
This is why businesses of all sizes are being forced to change their model and adapt to selling online. Even those who historically viewed digital as a secondary channel, are having to reorient every aspect of their business to enable online shopping. It’s also why Facebook has made its move into shopping with our recent announcement of Facebook Shops – a way for businesses to set up a single online store across Facebook and Instagram for free.
While physical stores will always be important to the social and economic wellbeing of local communities, it’s clear that e-commerce is here to stay.
The Facebook for Small Business website contains all the tools and resources to help your business connect with the people who will love your business. Keep going. Keep growing. With Facebook Tools.