by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SMALL, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) have been urged to adopt digital tools lest they struggle to ensure growth and continuity as the world reels from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Statistics indicate such enterprises in South Africa are reluctant to go digital.
According to the 2021 National Small Business Survey, only 48 percent of small businesses are selling products and services online.
Experts believe due to the pandemic, going digital has become less of an option but more of a requirement for businesses to thrive in the current economic environment.
Innocent Pereira, Executive Marketing: Yep Small and Medium Businesses Financial Services, said customer needs continued to change, accelerated by the pandemic.
Yep is Telkom Business’s online marketplace.
Pereira said consumers were moving away from physical stores and shifting to the internet to purchase goods and services.
“Due to the pandemic, the demographic of people that use digital channels to acquire goods and services has expanded,” he said.
“E-Commerce platforms and online marketplaces have made the transition to digital simpler for consumers and local businesses.”
The executive said by incorporating digital tools, small businesses also equip employees with the right tools to help increase productivity and subsequently enhance the customer experience.
“Using outdated tools in the age of hybrid may be costly for the business in the long term compared to switching to digital tools which may be costly only in the short term,” Pereira said.
“Another challenge with using outdated infrastructure is that it is difficult to scale your business as such infrastructure cannot accommodate the growing needs of a business.”
In the current era, for example, SMMEs can use analytics to gain a better understanding of what customers are looking for and how customers engage with the products or services.
SMMEs play an important role in the South African economy, which is beset by joblessness.
– CAJ News