Thousands of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have been cornered by the pandemic to go digital, in order to keep their business afloat. Standard Bank, Mastercard and Google have come together to help SMEs move their businesses online, accept digital payments and attract more customers.
The SMEs will be able to get free access to Standard Bank’s SimplyBlu, an all-in-one e-commerce solution powered by Mastercard Payment Gateway Services, plus free Google Ads to the value of R500. Through Google Ads, SMEs can get access to a digital marketing channel that will further help them in driving increased website visits to grow online sales, bookings or mailing list signups; more phone calls and customer interest queries; as well as more in-store visits.
These capabilities have been packaged as a bundled solution to help support business owners to tackle the economic challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.“Small businesses have been hardest hit during this period. Many of them have had to figure out quickly how to pivot their operations to a ‘digital-first’ approach. Yet, there remains a gap between those who can access these online opportunities and those who can’t. That’s the gap we want to bridge with this collaboration,”said Alistair Mokoena, Google South Africa Country Director.
“We recognise the overwhelming pressure that small business owners are currently facing and are committed to supporting them through Covid-19 and beyond as they adapt to a new way of operating and evolved customer needs. Through this collaboration, our mission is to help as many SMEs with tools and support to expand their digital capabilities and take their operations to the next level,” said Suzanne Morel, country manager, Mastercard, South Africa.
SimplyBlu has been operating for over a year, enabling SMEs to create an online presence through the plug-and-play e-commerce store builder, which is interfaced with instant online checkout. This platform has been designed in a way that users can set it up and start accepting payments in a matter of minutes.
“As one of South Africa’s leading financial service providers, Standard Bank is acutely aware that small businesses play an important role in driving economic growth and generating employment opportunities. Our strategic relationships with leading brands such as Mastercard and Google ensure that we are able to support small businesses and offer our clients tangible benefits that add real value,” said Nelisa Zulu from Standard Bank.
E-Commerce has been helpful for small businesses ever since the beginning of the lockdown, given the consumer’s rapid adoption of online shopping and digital services as they opt to shop from the safety of their homes.“E-commerce is a powerful tool for small businesses – be it retail operators or merchants offering services ranging from home maintenance to professional services. Our SimplyBlu platform has seen over 100 percent growth during the Covid-19 period, with business owners increasingly realising the benefits of operating their businesses on online platforms,” added Zulu.