Nicola Smith 18 June - 4 min read
While the COVID-19 pandemic brought about many challenges for businesses, it also shifted consumer behaviours and created opportunities. eCommerce was one of the major winners and drivers of business growth throughout 2020 as businesses and individuals looked to online channels to buy essentials and splurge on other items. From homewares and furniture to books and technology, eCommerce growth surged and it’s here to stay as consumers enjoy the convenience of online shopping, while businesses enjoy sales growth and access to more customers.
As a tech-savvy country with consumers who are relatively open to new technologies, it’s no surprise that online sales in Australia experienced rapid growth in 2020. According to Salesforce’s Holiday Insights Hub and 2020 Holiday Predictions report, eCommerce growth across Australia and New Zealand was the highest in the world, growing at 108 per cent in Q2 2020 and 107 per cent in Q3 2020. To put these figures into context, this level of growth was expected over the next five years.
In this article, we outline the consumer shift to online shopping, how retailers can enjoy the benefits of eCommerce, and what they can do to prepare for a digital festive season.
Reach more customers and grow sales with eCommerce
When restrictions and lockdowns started in early-2020 across Australia, non-essential stores had to close and consumers were staying home. Once consumers adjusted to the new routines brought about by the pandemic, spending started again. According to Janio, over 200,000 Australians shopped online for the first time in April 2020. And with the height of the pandemic restrictions and initial economic headwinds passed, almost half (46 per cent) of the consumers who responded to a survey by Chanel Advisors are shopping online more often. Further, PwC’s ‘Where next for retail and consumer?’ report highlighted that channel choice by consumers is often habitual. The key takeaway here — if a consumer has a positive experience with a business’s online store, they’re likely to return.
The rapid growth in eCommerce throughout 2020, along with shifts in consumer behaviour around online shopping highlights the opportunities available to businesses. With an online store, businesses have the capacity to reach a much wider audience than a physical storefront alone, but it has to be a quality experience from the outset.
As online shopping becomes common place for people of all ages, the 2021 Christmas period could be the biggest yet in eCommerce. To ensure that retailers are reaching consumers online, are prepared for the increased demand, and can deliver a seamless shopping experience for their customers, they need to look at leveraging digital solutions to improve the way in which their business operates and sells online.
For those businesses that don’t yet have an online store or those looking to optimise their eCommerce channels to grow sales, it can be difficult to know exactly where to start with establishing an online store. eCommerce solutions, such as Spenda, helps businesses access the benefits of selling online, while setting them up with all the tools they need for long-term success. And while some businesses may feel like they’ve missed the eCommerce boat, it’s not too late to start selling online now. It’s the businesses that start sooner rather than later who will start reaping the benefits of smart business technology, grow their sales and leap ahead of their competitors.
Using flexible payment options across the retail supply chain to boost cash flow and drive better business growth
Supplier orders and big expenses such as rent and wages can put a big dent in your cash flow. With new B2B payment options, you can introduce the flexibility that many customers enjoy with options such as credit card payments and buy now, pay later (BNPL) services to your business customers and suppliers. Further, you’ll strengthen your cash flow and your supplier’s cash flow through introducing an integrated payments platform to your business.
Our payments platform enables businesses to choose when and how they pay. With an intuitive interface which allows businesses to pay one or all invoices, business customers can choose to make payments in installments and access the benefits of better payment flexibility. And with third-party finance to fund BNPL and installment options, the financial risk is removed from the supplier, which also works to resolve some of the large scale cash flow issues amongst Australian SMEs.
Leverage the power of integration and automation to improve sales
Beyond the need to consistently grow sales, retailers are probably all too familiar with the time that end-of-day and end-of-month reporting tasks consume – including reconciling sales and cash, and making sure that stocktake is accurate and without surprises. And managing point of sale, finance and accounting and stock across separate manual systems, results in errors and wasted time. Introducing a new point-of-sale system to your business is the first step in transforming how you manage your sales and finance and accounting reporting, which is especially important when your online sales are driving rapid business growth.
Our POS feature for example, integrates with a business’s finance and accounting systems so adjustments are automatically made to the relevant accounts as soon as a sale is made. Even better, the same happens when a customer returns an item for an exchange or refund. With an intuitive, iPad-based interface, everyone in the business will understand how to use the system, while reducing the risk of errors.
If you implement an inventory management system, it should integrate with your POS system and other business systems too. For example, our stock management feature empowers business owners to better manage their inventory and displays stock updates in real time. This is particularly helpful for busy periods so you don’t miss sales due to selling out of stock, or end up with working capital tied up in ageing stock because you ordered too many items that don’t sell.
Grow your online sales and go digital with Spenda
Spenda’s suite of products gives business owners the tools they need to reach more customers and grow their online sales. Whether you need to set up an online store, make sure our tools integrate with your accounting system, or you’re looking to update your point of sale and inventory management systems, we’re here to help you work smarter not harder, so you can strategically manage your business and grow.
Of course, we know that things change and your business’s needs may change over time too. As a result, we are continuously updating our tools and products to ensure our technology helps put your business a step ahead.
Click here to book a demo and learn how our products can help you prepare for a strong Christmas retail period.
Chasing up late payments is something business owners and their finance and accounting teams spend a lot of time doing.
Chasing late payments can cost your business a lot of money, and today, Australian small businesses spend an average of 12 days per year chasing late payments – many of which are still likely relying on out-dated and inefficient manual processes.
Late payments amongst Australia’s SMEs have been an ongoing issue for many years. To address the issue, various policy measures have been introduced, especially when it comes to larger businesses paying SMEs.
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