The coronavirus pandemic was one of the great accelerators for digitising small businesses.
Small Businesses and the Pandemic
A new report shows that nearly one in five (17%) UK small businesses chose to move their business online sooner than anticipated due to Coronavirus. It also instilled a newfound technological confidence in SME owners with only one in ten listing technology risks as their biggest challenge for 2021 (down 11% since last year). An overwhelming 87% of respondents said that keeping up with technology is not now a major concern for their business.
22% of SMEs introduced new technology to keep their business alive. There were also many introducing new payment methods and revenue streams (19% introduced QR code systems; 10% introduced card machines; 9% implemented online booking; 8% started selling via social media).
Industries Adopting Online Businesses
SMEs within accountancy, banking and finance were the industries most likely to have fast tracked their business online (30%), followed by those in hospitality and events management (28%). Virtual and live events is the most popular technological advancement of the pandemic with almost one quarter of SMES offering online webinars, workshops or live streams to continue engaging with customers.
The success of the live stream services for SMEs within the beauty and wellbeing industry made an impact on their business so much so that one quarter (25%) will continue with their live stream services beyond the pandemic.
SMEs also valued the impact social media has on their business as 15% stated social media helped their business grow and gain new customers. With SMEs across beauty and wellbeing (28%), business, consulting and management (28%) and the performing arts (25%) seeing the greatest benefits of social media.
The Future of Online
Sandra Rowley at takepayments limited said “2020 proved a challenging time for all businesses and unfortunately the uncertainty will continue into this year. However we have light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully life can start to go back to normal following a successful roll out of the vaccine.
“While the past year has been a struggle, one positive takeaway SMEs have is how the pandemic has led to many fast tracking their business in some way, whether it’s launching an area of the business they wouldn’t have otherwise or simply introducing new technology to help their service adapt to the climate. Businesses can take confidence from knowing how adaptable they have become, which should give them assurance for whatever may come their way in 2021”.