We asked five experts how small businesses can tap into the eCommerce boom: Here’s what they said

- December 16, 2020 4 MIN READ

The global pandemic has well and truly paved the way for eCommerce this year, as a result of most non-essential stores closing down or shutting temporarily worldwide.

With around 5.2 million Australians shopping online since April, it’s evident that this trend is showing no signs of slowing down.

So how can small businesses get a slice of the eCommerce boom? We spoke with five experts to find out.

Brodie Haupt, CEO and co-founder of digital non-bank neo-platform, WLTH

“eCommerce is booming, but starting an online store isn’t something that every business can dive into and expect instant results. Before setting up an online store it is important to know your market and how you can be successful.

“If you already have a large following and customer base then it will be easier to tap into this, but you still need to think objectively about what products will be most profitable.

“There are so many eCommerce platforms available to plug into your website, but you will need to understand which is best for you and the fees you will be changed. The technology available will be able to help you scale and get up and running quickly, so it’s important to take advantage of what already exists but make sure you have done your research to avoid any surprises or costly changes down the track.”

Lauren Crystal, co-founder of project management platform Hassl

“Businesses have to be open to this digital shift in our current market. It can be overwhelming, especially as a small business in a market dominated by giants, but customisation and spontaneity are a small business’s biggest strengths.

“For example, Laantaan, a local Thai Bakery, grew from being purely offline, to an online sensation by using their buttermilk buns in catchy TikTok and Instagram videos. No flashy celebrities, no extensive videography, just a pure focus on their range of products. They adapted to an online business model and have expanded massively because of it.

“Being able to make instant decisions and act upon them is how a local business can take advantage of digital opportunities. Do the groundwork, learn what you can about your audience, and start talking to them through your platforms with original content targeted at them. It’s really all about just being there when they come looking.”

Tasman Page, Marketing Director of people management platform, Employment Hero

“It’s never been easier for small business owners to establish an online presence. It’s nowhere near as overwhelming, expensive or time consuming as it once was, with countless resources available to help upskill and learn throughout the online transition.

“ECommerce offers an opportunity to increase the value of your existing customer base, and tap into new ones with more conversion channels. However, when customers shop online, it can sometimes feel like a gamble.

“Without sophisticated technology, eCommerce minimises that sense of personalisation that many small businesses owners are masters of in-store. It’s harder to leverage soft sales skills, like experience, knowledge and quality service, in an online setting.

“These days, the path to purchase often involves both online and offline touchpoints, so it’s important that you make your website an easy way for people to research products and services before they come in-store to purchase. Even better, offer click and collect or express delivery for ultimate convenience.”

Carolyn Breeze, ANZ General Manager of recurring payments platform GoCardless

“Since the rise of eCommerce, consumers have been drowning in choice. For small businesses to compete, they need to offer smooth end-to-end experiences that delight customers at every touchpoint.

“Payments play a huge role in the customer experience. In a survey of 1,200 consumers in Asia-Pacific, 51 per cent admitted to abandoning their cart because their preferred payment method was not on offer. That equates to $7 billion in annual abandoned sales.

“For B2B and B2C businesses alike, offering flexible payment options can make or break conversion. Especially with the advent of subscription-based business models, the role of recurring payments in digital transactions is growing.

“No two customers are the same, so you need to know the payment preferences of each of your market segments. The modern consumer is brand agnostic: if you’re not offering their preferred way to pay, be it direct debit, or buy now, pay later, they will find a competitor who does.”

Anna Ji, Head of Product of video creation platform, Clipchamp

“Regardless of whether you are a small business launching a brand new website or an enterprise company trying to enhance leads and sales, online video marketing has become a valuable strategy for those looking to tap into the latest eCommerce boom. Video has become one of the most impactful forms of media online and the effects are now being felt by eCommerce websites.

“Some of the best ways to include video as a means of increasing conversions are Product Videos. A great example is eCommerce giant ASOS who do an excellent job of producing a short runway video for each clothing item featured, allowing customers to really see each product in much more detail. This is relatively simple to produce and adds enormous value for eCommerce customers”

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