As far as bad years for business go, 2020 is possibly the worst in living memory. The fresh hopes that arose in the early weeks of the year were quickly crushed, as COVID-19 came to the fore.
The global pandemic and its ensuing lockdown forced most businesses to close their doors—permanently, for some. Remote working is no longer the preserve of creative individuals, as companies in all industries scrambled to make working from home a viable business model.
In the new normal, online presence is no longer an option. Without it, or the ability for your employees to work remotely, your business is going to struggle.
For business owners in Melbourne, the nightmare continues to roll on, as the city endures its second strict lockdown.
Thankfully,the Victorian Government is here to help with a new grantthat promises great business opportunities.
A Grant to Get Started in Ecommerce
On 13th September 2020, the Victorian Government unveiled a$3 billion Business Resilience Package to rebuild its economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This relief includes a dedicated $20 million voucher program to help sole traders and small businesses build their digital capability.
The program provides business owners with access to off-the-shelf ecommerce platforms like Shopify or Square, as well as workshops where they can learn how to manage a successful online store.
The process to access this funding is yet to be revealed, but we recommend you keep a close watch on updates from Business Victoria by subscribing to their newsletters.
For many CEOs, this is new territory. They will for sure harbor concerns and wonder is it the right move for their business? Will it work for their audience?
5 Undeniable Benefits of Ecommerce over Traditional Business
If you were in any doubt about the efficacy of all things digital, you need only look at the Digital 2020 report from the creative agency, We Are Social.
Together with Hootsuite, the agency's research of digital behaviors in January 2020 before lockdown, paints a clear picture of where the future is heading:
- 71% of Australians were active on social media
- 76% of Australians visited an online retail store
- 84% of Australians searched online for a product or service to buy
Moreover, here are five advantages to opening an online store with the grant provided:
1. You can reach more customers
That’s right, 84% of Australians search for products online! You stand a much better chance of connecting with them if you have an ecommerce website. As you build brand awareness through social media and paid advertising, you can attract a lot more customers.
2. You can use cheaper advertising
Speaking of paid advertising, Facebook Ads offer a budget-friendly way to target your ideal customers, ensuring you reach the right person, with the right message, at the right time.
3. You can promote and sell your products 24/7
There is no closing time online! After you set up your online store, it can make sales while you’re sleeping or off at the beach with the kids on a Sunday.
4. You’ll have fewer overhead costs
An online store is a much cheaper alternative to running a brick-and-mortar business. Your operational costs will drop significantly by moving your store online - starting with rent.
5. You’ll get a scalable business model
Ecommerce platforms are easy to grow. As you build an audience and your revenue increases, you can expand your product range or move into new markets. You can set up another store or new site pages in a single day.
The Rise of Ecommerce During Lockdown
During the lockdown, there was a surge in online shopping around the world. A report from TechCrunch estimates that the pandemic accelerated the global shift to ecommerce by five years.
According to The Australian Financial Review, when Melbourne went into stage three lockdown for the second time, the volume of ecommerce parcels delivered within Melbourne skyrocketed by 80% in a single week. When the threat level moved to stage four, ecommerce sales jumped another 16%.
The impact of COVID-19 is forcing change on businesses, whether they are ready are not.Many companies that put off a digital transformation in the past now realize they must adapt to the new reality.
It’s clear that the future is online.
Wrap Up: A Chance for Growth
The pandemic has devastated many businesses this year. Some companies will never recover.
For others, despite the chaos, new hope is on the horizon. If there’s one lesson for business owners in the wake of 2020, it’s that digital operations are not just viable, temporary solutions or nice-to-have options.
They are integral aspects of modern business. Without them, your business may not survive. With them, it can thrive.
Many companies are now at a crossroads. Business owners must take the leap into new territory and lead the way for their company to adapt to the digital age. With the financial support from Business Victoria, your business has every chance of turning 2020 into a transformational year.Do you need help creating an impressive ecommerce store that attracts more customers and more sales? Get in touch with us to get started and discover options for utilizing the grant.