Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot more than just our general condition has changed. The way we look at money, from investing to saving to spending, and ultimately to running a business has undoubtedly changed too. Supporting small businesses continues to be at the forefront for VISA during these challenging times.
With the initial lockdown regulations, a lot of small businesses in SA suffered greatly as they were not considered as ‘essential’, requiring them to realign and strategically reposition themselves in their respective markets. As lockdown regulations continue to ease, small businesses have begun trading again but the devastating effects experienced as a result of the lockdown have been tough to bounce back from.
In June 2020, VISA launched the ‘Where You Shop Matters’ initiative in South Africa with the purpose to champion and enable entrepreneurs, while encouraging consumers to support small businesses. Alongside the initiative and a new SME resource hub, VISA also published the COVID-19 CEMEA Impact Tracker, highlighting the recent effect the novel coronavirus pandemic has had on commerce for consumers and small merchants in South Africa. Findings form the COVID-19 CEMEA Impact Tracker highlighted that at least a 55% of small businesses reporting a decrease in consumer expenditure as a result of the pandemic and consumers only spending on essential retail.
VISA continues to commit itself to assisting small businesses weather the storm. This effort has now been extended through the launch of the first ever VISA Podcast, a series that provides small businesses with the necessary information on how to start up, manage, and sustain a small business. This platform draws inspiration from merchants across the continent who have navigated the roads of being a small business with the passion and dedication to become true game changers and respectable leaders today. What truly separates this platform from all others is its transference to align itself with the digital space. Due to the pandemic, many consumers have begun to shop online, with 64% of South African stating their first online grocery purchases, whilst a further 53% making online pharmaceutical purchases. This has served as a catalyst for online commerce with 5% of merchants making the shift to eCommerce as a result of the pandemic. These numbers show a trend of consumers moving towards online commerce and cash transactions being replaced by contactless digital payments.
This podcast series will unpack and address various aspects of entrepreneurship, the value and importance of partnerships, the role of the government on eradicating poverty, and how government can create opportunities for small businesses to penetrate Africa. Starting from the first week of September, VISA will be sharing these informative podcasts, which are led by the VISA Country Manager of South Africa, Aldo Laubscher. Laubscher is accompanied by renowned small business owners, leaders in the finance and banking sector, as well as some of our respected government officials. These podcasts will not only shift mindsets but add value for many other entrepreneurs, equipping them to thrive in their respective businesses.
With our ever-changing world and the evolution of how business is conducted, staying one step ahead is key to success and VISA is giving small businesses the opportunity to thrive. Where you shop matters, so think big and shop small.
If you would like to learn more about VISA and their Where You Shop Matters initiative, be sure to catch the podcasts on https://talkingwithvisa.podbean.com/ and follow @Visa_SA on Twitter and the hashtag #WhereYouShopMatters.