The switch to digital is helping small businesses survive and thrive during the pandemic

- September 22, 2021 2 MIN READ
businesses benefit from digital tech

Digitisation is helping small businesses survive and thrive during the pandemic according to the findings of Salesforce’s latest SMB Trends Report.

Businesses shift to digital to survive

Almost nine in ten (89 per cent) of small businesses have moved a portion of their operations online in the past year. While the move was a necessity for many businesses to allow them to continue trading, it has also proved a boon for some. Indeed the majority of business owners surveyed now believe the shift to digital solutions will be permanent.

These include contactless services such as secure digital payments (39 per cent), digital customer service (33 per cent), and e-commerce (28 per cent).

The shift to omni-channel isn’t going anywhere either,  with 22 per cent of small businesses permanently offering mobile orders and 17 per cent continuing to offer curbside pick-up.

Digitisation essential to business success

Merlin Luck, Regional Vice President of Small and Medium Businesses, Salesforce suggests technology is now essential for small business survival and growth.

“What this research tells us is that digitisation is critical for both resilience and growth. Those business owners and leaders that embrace technology and accelerate innovation are better placed to meet rising customer expectations and create meaningful connections,” Luck said.

Luck believes technology is an enabler for operational efficiencies assisting business owners across logistics to payments to customer service and experience.

Tech lends a hand with CX

Globally, three quarters (71 per cent) of small business owners say their customers expect online transactions and nearly the same proportion have an e-commerce presence (63 per cent). In ANZ, the top three challenges to meeting customer expectations are bringing innovative offerings to market, keeping up with customer demand, and responding to inquiries quickly.

“Living Edge is one such example,” says Luck. “By using Salesforce, it optimised its e-commerce experience to now feature a more personalised and inspiring browsing experience. In the first month of being live, conversion was up 290 per cent. It also deployed contextual live chat – and 20 per cent of all online revenue now comes from customers immediately following a chat engagement.”

Luck believes businesses that have embraced digital solutions are primed to take advantage post pandemic, but it’s another story for those who haven’t.

“As businesses navigate a post-pandemic world defined by digitisation, those who don’t make those digital investments now will be left behind,” he concludes.

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