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By 2025, there will be more than 33-million e-commerce users in SA, according to global business data platform Statista. Picture: SUPPLIED/STANDARD BANK
By 2025, there will be more than 33-million e-commerce users in SA, according to global business data platform Statista. Picture: SUPPLIED/STANDARD BANK

Digital transformation has become a familiar term over the past few years as more businesses embrace technological advancements. With Black Friday and festive-season shopping upon us, Standard Bank has an innovative way of helping small businesses to make the most of their sales.

SimplyBlu, Standard Bank’s e-commerce-in-a-box product, offers everything that small businesses need to operate efficiently online. As businesses adjust to new customer demands after months of pandemic-related lockdowns, a sustainable, cost-friendly and future-forward business option has become critical. 

SimplyBlu includes no-code website building features, allowing business owners to customise their online stores with built-in themes and templates, as well as e-invoicing services and various online payment options powered by MasterCard Payment Gateway Services. 

As an added bonus, SimplyBlu is offering free Google Ads to the value of R500 for first-time sign-ups. This will help businesses establish a presence on Google to attract more customers, generate leads and drive traffic to their online stores. 

“Businesses are definitely realising the benefits of operating online,” says Nelisa Zulu, head of card and payments at Standard Bank South Africa. “During the Covid-19 period, our SimplyBlu platform has seen more than 100% growth, with one of our customers – fashion designer Candy Smith – making more than seven times her initial daily sales after just three months on the platform. 

“Even as lockdown restrictions ease, it’s crucial for companies to keep innovating and adapting to the new world of business. SimplyBlu allows them to do just that – all on one safe, secure platform.”    

SA’s e-commerce boom

In a recent report, global business data platform Statista projected that the SA e-commerce market will reach more than $5m (R79m) in revenue by the end of 2021. By 2025, there will be more than 33-million e-commerce users in the country. 

“It’s essential for businesses to tap into this growing market and reach online customers on their preferred shopping platforms,” says Zulu. “Brick-and-mortar stores still have their place, but by giving customers the option to do business with you online, you’re increasing your chances of thriving in today’s increasingly digital economy. 

“Standard Bank is committed to breaking down the barriers to online entry for small businesses so that every SME has the opportunity to grow and prosper after nearly two years of pandemic-related challenges.”

While consumers have also faced financial strain, this doesn’t seem to have diminished their appetite for e-commerce. Last year’s Black Friday sales brought a 60% increase in online transactions, with local payment processing service PayFast reporting a 283% increase in total payment volumes on the day, compared with normal peak shopping days such as payday at the end of the month. 

As lockdown restrictions ease and consumers start planning their festive-season gifts, business owners can expect increased economic activity. By signing up on the Standard Bank SimplyBlu platform, they will be prepared for the potential sales boost and make it a truly prosperous time.   

This article was paid for by Standard Bank.

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