// EXPERT PROFILE //
Becoming digital :
CONSTRUCTING A RESILIENT COMPANY
Sharing his thoughts on how small businesses can achieve everevolving resiliency , Sage ’ s VP Small Segment , Michael Office , outlines the importance of ultra-modern e-commerce for the sake of the UK ’ s economic stability .
MORE THAN EVER , A SMALL BUSINESS MUST
BE RESILIENT , WHICH MEANS GOING ONLINE
AND BEING DIGITAL-FIRST .
MALL BUSINESSES MAY
S provide the backbone to our economy , but many have suffered throughout the pandemic . In the UK , government statistics show that SMEs make up more than 99 % of registered businesses and provide 52 % of private sector turnover . As a result , when shops were forced to close and customers encouraged to stay at home , it was essential for small businesses to quickly evolve with changing customer expectations , while continuing to support employees and balance operating costs .
The return of busier high streets and growing customer footfall has meant the resurgence of something that looks like normality for small businesses . However , moving forward it will be critical to remember the lessons from such defining events – when disruption hits , it hits hard and fast . More than ever , a small business must be resilient , which means going online and being digital-first . It ’ s vital they don ’ t see this sort of change as a burden – for businesses , this is an excellent opportunity to grow .
Grow alongside your customers
This momentous shift of small businesses to online platforms is one of the most crucial pandemic-induced changes . While many shoppers are excited to return to their favourite restaurants and establishments after a long period indoors , digital will be difficult to beat in the long run . Briz Feel ’ s survey says that over half ( 57 %) of consumers now prefer shopping online compared to 31 % who still enjoy the experience of shopping in a physical store . Consumers who were not already a dab hand at online technology soon found its possibilities hugely convenient , with its wider choice and diverse delivery options .
The physical storefront will always have a role to play , but small businesses are moving into an economy that is digital-first and , when black swan events like COVID-19 hit , often digitalonly . It is safe to say that in the not too distant future , the bulk of their business will be carried out online . This is something to be embraced – an opportunity in the waiting . A business built to be digital-first is more resilient to unforeseen disruption and flexible to changing customer needs . Its digital ‘ door ’ is always open , allowing customers to place orders at any time of day – including when the physical shops are closed .
A digital storefront also opens many possibilities when it comes to customer care and the customer experience . Small businesses thrive on their customer
Intelligent SME . tech