In the post-pandemic economy, digital channels are playing a very crucial role in how businesses operate and reach their customers, and in this transition, small and medium enterprises will not be left behind, writes Bernard Khumalo, Senior Manager: National Sales and Operations at Yep!.

As businesses advance in their digital transformation journeys, SMEs need support systems that will help them to tap into markets beyond the traditional brick and mortar business. Small and medium businesses need the right tools that will aid their journey to becoming fully functional digitally led businesses.

One of the key areas that businesses have had to upscale the use of digital tools is customer engagement. Through digital solutions, SMEs can reach a wider spectrum of customers by enhancing engagement with existing and potential customers. Research by global software company Salesforce shows that 88% of customers expect businesses to accelerate their digital initiatives. Transforming an SME into a digitally led business improves engagement between the business and its customers and suppliers through solutions that help the business to improve communication, increase visibility, create multiple sales channels, and elevate the overall customer experience.

What do SMEs need to go digital?

Before embarking on the journey to transform a business, it is crucial for small and medium businesses to understand what channels they can use to grow their customer base.  In the last decade, consumers have become familiar with using online platforms for purchasing goods and services e.g., accessing banking services and purchasing from e-commerce platforms. On the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital has become the preferred channel for many consumers as it provides convenience.

Before introducing digital solutions into your business, it is important to identify the kind of tools that the business needs to actively participate in the digital economy. Pinpointing what the business needs to improve as it relates to customer engagement will help you to determine the kind of solutions the business requires.

One of the key elements to consider when digitally transforming a business is connectivity. Having the right connectivity is essential in terms of fully incorporating digital tools into the business and being able to optimise these tools to grow your business. SMEs also require a platform that will help them to gain market access, and this is where digital platforms such as Yep! come in to help businesses  establish online presence by providing SMEs with integrated solutions that enhance engagement, generate leads, and increase sales.

Challenges confronting the digital transformation of SMEs

Moving from traditional methods of marketing your business such as print to using digital solutions requires business owners to educate themselves about the adoption process.Before selecting the  solutions that a business needs, SMEs must conduct an in-depth analysis of the business to gain a better understanding of what it needs to become a digital-first enterprise.

These solutions include creating a domain for your business, website builders, CRM2, lead generation tools, webhosting, or enhancing the capabilities on the website to incorporate features that will help the business to easily engage with customers including conversation tools and online bookings.

By switching to digital solutions, SMEs also access tools that will help them to generate invoices and quotations as well as process payments. Yep! provides premium packages that allow businesses to include  e-commerce capabilities on their websites so that customers can easily purchase goods and services anytime and anywhere.

Helping SMEs to meet their objectives through value propositions

Assisting SMEs to fully thrive in the digital economy is at the core of Yep! as a business. Yep! has partnered with global companies such as Google and Facebook to help South Africa’s small and medium businesses to gain market access without breaking the bank.  Through these partnerships and its own capabilities, Yep! is able to address the specific needs of SMEs that do not have infinite resources to fully transform to digital. Through integrated solutions, Yep! is able to simplify the adoption process for businesses by providing them with relevant information and helping SMEs to select the suitable tools they need to grow and successfully compete in the digital economy.

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