Covid-19 forces Australian small businesses to move online

Small businesses have been urged for years to take their operations digital and for many it took a pandemic for them to enjoy the benefits of going online.

New research by Mastercard found smaller firms have been among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it prompted just more than half of them to accelerate their shift to e-commerce sales.

The study of 806 small and medium-sized businesses found for those who took the plunge, the move was swift.

One in five were able to make the change in 24 hours, while 44 per cent did so within three days of exploring the option.

“Australian businesses have faced unprecedented challenges amid COVID-19 but have shown fierce agility and resilience, with many able to migrate operations quickly and effectively to focus on digital opportunities,” Mastercard Australasia division president Richard Wormald said.

“Businesses have an incredible opportunity to improve the shopper experience online, and industry leaders have a part to play in helping business operators develop that expertise online, using digital payment technologies.”

Separate research commissioned by Google Australia estimated businesses and consumers have received $53 billion in benefits using its search, advertising and entertainment platforms.

The report prepared by AlphaBeta economists says 1.3 billion business received $39 billion through revenues, millions of connections with customers and greater efficiencies, saving time and money.

At the time, consumers are estimated to have received $14 billion in benefits using Google online services.

“Digital technologies have become central to how Australians conduct their daily lives and work,” AlphaBeta director Fraser Thompson said.

“As a rapidly growing number of Australian businesses and consumers buy, sell and interact with each other online, tools like Google’s search, advertising, maps and productivity platforms generate significant value for businesses and consumers throughout the nation.”

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