Connect with us

How SMEs can make up for a tough year this festive season

Viresh Harduth, Vice President, Small Business, Sage Africa & Middle East shares seven tips on how SMEs can increase their sales during the festive season….

Published

on

COVID-19 has affected how people plan their holidays, and it has impacted wallets and budgets.

It’s been a tough year, but for the small business owner, the next few months are the ideal opportunity to polish up the virtual décor and entice customers online to get the most out of the festive sales.

Viresh Harduth, Vice President, Small Business, Sage Africa & Middle East shares seven tips on how SMEs can increase their sales during the festive season

This is the most competitive time of year, especially for retailers. Even though more South Africans will stay home for the holidays, that doesn’t mean they’ll be offline. You want to make sure your e-commerce platform is visible, enticing, optimised, and relevant so you can cut through the noise and secure sales.

Do you want to get those festive feet into your online store? Here are seven steps to help you outshine the competition.

Step 1: Easy pay, easy sell

If your site is unwieldy, complicated, or has a difficult payment process that asks people to log in, hand over all their details, and complete multiple forms, you might lose them. Look at sites that are designed to be fast and brilliant with their sales. They have one simple journey that takes the customer seamlessly from purchase, through point of sale, to delivery.

Takeaway tip: Make it easy for your customers to buy what they want, and it will pay off, literally.

Step 2: Optimise, optimise, optimise

Beautifully designed websites that are mobile-friendly and simple to navigate instantly attract attention. Optimise your payment process, but also make sure your site is a pleasure to navigate on a mobile device. Google notes that mobile accounts for more than half of searches on the platform, and that visitors are five times more likely to leave if your site isn’t mobile-friendly.

Takeaway tip: Make sure your site has simple navigation and is easy to use across all platforms and touchpoints.

Step 3: Embrace cloud-based systems

Cloud-based solutions give you and your employees more flexibility to serve customers from anywhere. Your finance and sales team can follow up on payments, order stock, create quotes and process orders, and access all sales information – on the go. What’s more, cloud-based accounting systems automate a lot of these processes, freeing up your team’s time to focus on more important customer-related tasks and services.

Takeaway tip: Invest in software that can track and control your inventory, to ensure you never have too much or too little stock.

Step 4: Be as social online as you would be in-store

Talk to your customers. Pay attention to their reviews. Have a solid and reliable presence on social media. When you listen to what your customers are saying, you’re more likely to catch problems before they flare-up. This is a critical step that can change how people respond to you and influence the reviews you receive. Remember, word-of-mouth is incredibly powerful, so make sure the word about your business is positive.

Takeaway tip: If you have social media, be on it. Talk to people, respond to queries, encourage feedback, and make sure you’re easy to find.

Step 5: Paid search can pay dividends

While budgets are tight, sometimes a savvy investment into paid search can give your business the right boost at the right time. Consider proven paid search tactics so you know your money is being spent on the right solution and you’re targeting the right audience. Also, invest in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for your site content. Include popular search terms in your content and ask your web designer to optimise the backend through metadata, image compression, and title tags. Both these strategies can move your page up in the search rankings.

Takeaway tip: Spend money to make money but ensure it’s on proven tools that will get you the right results.

Step 6: Turn on the lights

It’s the silly season! Embrace the opportunity to add festive décor to your site. It not only makes shopping fun, but it also makes your site appealing to shoppers. People want to see that twinkle of tinsel in the corner or a happy Santa marking a special offer. This is also a principle that can be applied to any festive occasion, such as Easter, Diwali, and the Chinese New Year, and it can make your customers feel special. Tools like Canva are simple to learn and use, and let you create clever and customised images for your site – for free.

Takeaway tip: Put on the virtual lights, haul out the cheerful elf, and create the spirit of the season with festive designs on your site, just like you would in your brick-and-mortar store.

Step 7: Pay attention to people

It’s been a tough year. People want to escape, and they want to forget the stress of the past few months. Engage with your customers by adding a personal touch to your interactions with them. Consider blending virtual and physical marketing efforts, like adding a little something extra into customer packages such as a cracker, card, or personal note – little things like this add a touch of warmth to the shopping experience and bring people back for more.

Takeaway tip: A personal touch makes all the difference to customer loyalty and engagement.

This article was written by Viresh Harduth, Vice President, Small Business, Sage Africa & Middle East.

Featured image: Supplied

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2020/12/how-smes-can-make-up-for-a-tough-year-this-festive-season/

how-smes-can-make-up-for-a-tough-year-this-festive-season

Crunchbase

Exclusive: Forager Chews On $4M To Digitize Local Food Access

Its platform digitizes and streamlines the discovery of new local food vendors, onboarding and management of those relationships.

Published

on

Forager, a startup connecting local farmers with grocery stores to source local food, raised $4 million in a funding round led by a group of backers, including Duncan Saville via ICM and Coastal Enterprises.

Subscribe to the Crunchbase Daily

The Portland, Maine-based company was founded in 2015 by David Douglas Stone to develop a platform that digitizes and streamlines the discovery of new vendors, onboarding and management of those relationships.

Joe Blunda took over as CEO in 2019, while Stone is still involved as executive chairman. Local food accounts for 3 to 5 percent of what people buy from stores, and while that number shifted during the global pandemic, it is still in the single digits, Blunda told Crunchbase News

“The original problem is building a supply chain and getting it organized, which is what we are doing,” he added. “Grocers bring the cultural perception of what will resonate with the consumer, and we bring the ability to execute that.”

Blunda intends to use the new funding to expand the company’s sales outreach and product development. Grocers want to invest time in building local supply chains, but have difficulty operating them afterward, he said.

One of the problems they face is that there are so many small vendors, and grocers are trying to layer them on top of their platforms that were made for a small number of large vendors, Blunda added.

“Local food access is such a critical problem and patience is waning,” he said. “Grocers are passionate about fixing the problem, and we have some product development to do.”

The company has 10 employees and Blunda expects to add another two to five people by the end of the year. Forager operates in more than 12 states and works with more than 40 grocers and institutions, as well as 500 local suppliers.

In addition, the company has seen 4x growth since 2018, with nearly 200,000 local products sourced through its platform to date. It has also doubled both its supplier and buyer bases. Blunda expects even faster growth in the second half of 2021.

Saville, ICM’s founder and chairman, said in a written statement that local food is a “market trend that cannot be ignored and is critical to the future health of our planet.”

“I invested in Forager for two reasons, first this is a $40 billion fast growing market that is largely analogue and in desperate need for technology so it can scale and be data driven,” Saville added. “Second, the majority of people I know are interested in buying more sustainably sourced products, especially at the local level. This is an important market trend that cannot be ignored and is critical to the future health of our planet.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

Joe Blunda took over as CEO in 2019, while Stone is still involved as executive chairman. Local food accounts for 3 to 5 percent of what people buy from stores, and while that number shifted during the global pandemic, it is still in the single digits, Blunda told Crunchbase News

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/exclusive-forager-chews-on-4m-to-digitize-local-food-access/

exclusive:-forager-chews-on-$4m-to-digitize-local-food-access

Continue Reading

Blockchain news

Internet Computer (ICP): Everything You Need to Know

After Internet Computer ICP tokens were listed on a number of leading cryptocurrency exchanges, its price even exceeded the maximum of $750, briefly surpassing Ripple, Dogecoin, and Cardano, and re

Published

on

The trading performance of Internet Computer (ICP) token skyrocketed after it was listed on a number of leading cryptocurrency exchanges.

ICP figures among the top ten cryptocurrencies by market capitalization currently in circulation. According to Coinmarketcap, ICP is ranked as the eighth-largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $40.8 billion. Currently, the token is trading at $339.63.

What is an Internet Computer (ICP)?

Internet Computer is the world’s first decentralized public network with an unlimited capacity established by the DFINITY Foundation. Its function is to provide public internet services and to allow back-end software to be hosted on the network. This decentralized cloud computing platform helps software developers freely share their open-source software frameworks on the Internet without relying on technology giants such as Amazon and Facebook, or servers and commercial cloud services.

What is an Internet Computer token?

Internet Computer (ICP) token runs on its own proprietary protocol called Internet Computer. It aims to establish protocol governance and facilitate network transactions. With the ICP token, ICP holders can vote for governance proposals. Another network transaction function is that ICP can convert to cycles that fuel the computation. Its holder can use the token to pay for transaction fees. Compared to the current Ethereum network, the ICP fee has a fixed price for transactions.

DFINITY Foundation

DFINITY Foundation, a non-profit organization, was founded in 2016 by Dominic Williams in Zurich, Switzerland. Its goal is to transform the Internet into a decentralized public computing platform.

DFINITY has currently set up three research centres globally, and the team has recruited more than 100 researchers, engineers, and teams for operations. Since 2015, this project has successively won the favour of well-known investors such as Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z), PolychainCapital, SVAngel, AspectVentures, VillageGlobal, MulticoinCapital, ScalarCapital, etc.

Image source: Shutterstock

Source: https://blockchain.news/analysis/internet-computer-everything-you-need-know

internet-computer-(icp):-everything-you-need-to-know

Continue Reading

Ventureburn

AlphaCode awards R2-million and support to fintech startups

The 10 startups, which have just completed a three-month programme, competed for one of four places in an extended 6-month programme.

Published

on

SA’s best up and coming fintech startups sweated it out at a virtual demo day yesterday where they had just five minutes each to convince a panel of judges that they should be part of the second phase of the AlphaCode Incubate programme.

AlphaCode awards R2-million and further support to fintech startups at latest demo day

The 10 startups, which have just completed a three-month programme, competed for one of four places in an extended 6-month programme valued at almost R1.5-million each. Their success, which was validated by their ability to get traction in a short time, unlocks further funding of R500 000 each and tailored business support.

Andile Maseko, head of ecosystem development at AlphaCode provides insight into the programme.

“Despite a tumultuous year, a number of entrepreneurs saw how they could fill a gap in the market for financial services and related industries. Those selected in the top four earned the opportunity for further funding and mentorship. The first part of the intensive programme focused on entrepreneurship and refining business models. The second phase will focus on revenue generation.”

In addition, these startups will be able to apply for seed capital from AlphaCode’s fund that invests in early-stage startups.

The four promising businesses selected

AgriCool is an e-marketplace that links smallholding farmers and buyers to a fair and reliable market. It offers farmers access to finance, reliable information on improving their production, and it works with both formal and informal markets.

Street vendors, retailers, the hospitality industry can get fresh produce delivered, saving them transportation costs. Founder: Zamokuhle Thwala.

Bento is an out-of-the-box employee perks and benefits platform. It gives employers a simple and cost-effective solution to offer employee benefits without the cost and administrative burden. Employees are empowered to self-manage their benefits and perks which gives them freedom of choice over their remuneration structure and take-home pay. Co-founders: Claudia Snyman, Dennis Williams, Bryn Divey, and Ross Horak.

Imfuyo Technologies is developing a smart farming solution that will give livestock farmers better oversight of their operations at viable cost points. The initial offering will consist of a smart tracker that will collect critical data about cattle location and behaviour.

The data is analysed to enable farmers to optimise farming activities. The platform will also serve as a de facto cattle deeds office, providing better traceability across the beef production value chain. Through Imfuyo Technologies, livestock farmers also have better access to financial markets. Founder: Allasandro Da Gama.

MatchKit.co helps athletes better commercialise their careers. The platform helps athletes make money, regardless of the status of sporting events. It integrates into existing social media channels and stats to showcase the value of an athlete’s digital audience to potential sponsors.

It also offers a plug-and-play e-commerce store where fans can purchase everything from bespoke, branded merchandise to personalised video and audio shout-outs. MatchKit.co plans to add insurtech and transactional / virtual card capabilities to their offering. Founders: Mike Sharman, Shaka Sisulu, Bryan Habana, and Ben Karpinski.

Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode and a Rand Merchant Investments Holdings (RMI) executive commented, “We have been very impressed with the level of the drive of these ten startups who applied what they have learned on the AlphaCode Incubate programme as they focused on increased traction. The standard of these ideas gets better every year. It’s been a very intense time for the participants and we look forward to growing the four businesses.”

Almost 200 fintech businesses initially applied for AlphaCode’s Incubate programme which aims to grow innovative financial services entrepreneurs and find the next OUTsurance or Discovery. Only ten were then selected to complete in the initial three-month programme that provided funding, guidance from performance coaches and a panel of advisory experts, access to AlphaCode’s co-working space, and opportunities to apply for further early-stage investment.

The panel of judges included Willem Roos, former CEO of Rain and former founder of OUTsurance; Raymond Ndlovu, CEO of Community Investment Ventures with a stake in Vumatel; Dominique Collett, a fintech specialist and senior investment executive at RMI; Danie Matthee, the CEO of OUTsurance; and Mcebo Ntombela, investment manager at Royal Bafokeng Holdings.

“The panel had a good mix of entrepreneurs and corporate execs who understand the digital landscape,” explained Maseko.

One of the judges, Raymond Ndlovu, added, “The mix of businesses presenting this year was fascinating – a bit of everything from crypto to sports to stokvels and car repairs. The presentations were of a high standard taking into account the fact that we were all online. Look forward to the growth of all these promising businesses – whether they were selected for further incubation or not.”

The AlphaCode Incubate programme has disbursed R32 million in funding to 31 black-owned financial services businesses over the past five years and is viewed as South Africa’s most prestigious fintech startup initiative.

Read more: Hack the Normal winning innovators announced
Read more: FNB and Sage partnership enables SMEs to securely automate business accounting

Featured image: Winners of Alphacode Incubate (Supplied)

In addition, these startups will be able to apply for seed capital from AlphaCode’s fund that invests in early-stage startups.

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/05/alphacode-awards-r2-million-and-support-to-fintech-startups/

alphacode-awards-r2-million-and-support-to-fintech-startups

Continue Reading

Title

Crunchbase7 mins ago

Exclusive: Forager Chews On $4M To Digitize Local Food Access

Its platform digitizes and streamlines the discovery of new local food vendors, onboarding and management of those relationships.

Blockchain news3 hours ago

Internet Computer (ICP): Everything You Need to Know

After Internet Computer ICP tokens were listed on a number of leading cryptocurrency exchanges, its price even exceeded the maximum...

Ventureburn5 hours ago

AlphaCode awards R2-million and support to fintech startups

The 10 startups, which have just completed a three-month programme, competed for one of four places in an extended 6-month...

Entrepreneur8 hours ago

7 Quick Ways to Make Money Investing $1,000

If you're shrewd, you can turn one thousand bucks into even more money. Here's how.

Bioengineer11 hours ago

NYU Abu Dhabi researchers design simulator to help stop the spread of ‘fake news’

The new game, Fakey, emulates a social media feed and teaches users to recognize credible contentCredit: Courtesy of NYU Abu

Techcrunch1 day ago

Maybe SPACs were a bad idea after all – TechCrunch

Welcome back to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter for your weekend enjoyment.

Techcrunch1 day ago

Leveling the playing field – TechCrunch

There is an atmosphere of collaboration, not competition, around the creation of hardware for gamers within the assistive technology community.

ZDNET1 day ago

A useful Android privacy feature that most people have never heard of

Android has a useful hidden feature that the iPhone doesn't.

Coinpedia1 day ago

Polygon (Matic) Price Continues to Rise Amidst Market Correction!

The MATIC price forecasts are positive as a token supporting such a critical feature right now. After the Ethereum scaling

Reuters1 day ago

Chip shortage to hit about 100,000 Mazda vehicles in 2021

Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T) said on Friday it expects a semiconductor crunch to affect around 100,000 of the Japanese automaker's...

Review

    Select language

    Trending