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There will be life after lockdown for SA’s SMEs

Article provided by Visa

Lockdown restrictions have unfortunately shown the vulnerability of small businesses. Things may not go back to normal but there is hope and opportunity on the other side.

Surveys from across the globe now show, categorically, that consumers have changed the way that they shop. Reducing budgets, focusing on value, halting impulse purchases and shopping online are some of the clear trends we’re seeing in consumer behaviour. We’re also seeing new interest in supporting small, local businesses and an appreciation for the positive impact they have on our communities and the nation at large.

Habits are changing drastically

In the face of this pandemic, a survey of small businesses and shoppers conducted by Visa shows important trends.

Even though shoppers are indeed tightening their budgets in many places, the survey shows an 8% increase in grocery spend, with 64% of respondents saying that they have begun making grocery purchases online.

When it comes to visiting physical stores, 51% of respondents indicated a preference for contactless payments. Here we see that as awareness of the hygiene risk related to handling cash has increased, merchants must offer an alternative payment method, with contactless being the most convenient for many shoppers.

In addition, the survey reveals that shoppers who are visiting stores are usually visiting less frequently and avoiding peak traffic periods, but 60% have switched to buying in bulk in order to reduce their number of visits. So although we may see fewer feet through the door, the numbers imply that basket spend is increasing.

In the face of change, there is opportunity

The takeout of all of this is to say that small businesses, now, have an opportunity to think about the way they do business, get online, offer more seamless payment solutions and deliver their products conveniently.

Support is out there

Visa South Africa has increased their support of small businesses in the face of Covid-19. Headlined as Where You Shop Matters, the multi-phased initiative aims to highlight small businesses and their importance in the recovery and sustainable growth of economies. We can’t ignore “small” as SMEs employ up to 60% of South Africa’s work force and, by some accounts, contribute nearly 35% to our GDP.

Through TV, radio and digital platforms Visa is not only telling the stories of South Africa’s small businesses, but is importantly connecting them with consumers via their online Small Business Directory. At the centre is Visa’s Small Business Hub, a platform that provides useful tools, insights and information to help small businesses do more to improve their bottom line.

Going big for small business

Interested businesses can register here https://promotions.visa.com/campaign/za_wysm/ to apply for support.

As part of this phase, applicant businesses will be automatically listed on the consumer-facing Small Business Directory and by applying, they also stand to receive one of the following:

  1. A grand-prize R60 000 online shopping voucher,
  2. High-quality point-of-sale material,
  3. A Yoco Device

So, whether you have your business’ pandemic and post-pandemic plan clearly laid out, or you feel like you’re floundering in the fog of uncharted territory, know that there is help out there.

To register your small business, visit https://promotions.visa.com/campaign/za_wysm/

Read more at the Visa Small Business Hub

Terms and conditions apply.

Visa is a proud Partner of the NSBC