Standard Bank, Mastercard and Google have created a way for small businesses to move online.

E-commerce is no longer a novelty or a business add-on – the coronavirus has fast-tracked the need for small enterprises to move towards digitalisation as customers make greater use of online shopping and digital services.

Standard Bank, Mastercard and Google have joined forces to help small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) with the shift, allowing them to move their services online and accept digital payments in order to attract and service more customers.

SMEs can get free access to Standard Bank’s SimplyBlu, an all-in-one e-commerce solution powered by Mastercard Payment Gateway Services, plus free Google Ads to the value of R500.

Nelisa Zulu from Standard Bank says the bank is aware of the role small businesses play in economic development and the creation of employment opportunities.

Tangible benefits

“Our strategic relationships with leading brands such as Mastercard and Google ensure that we are able to support small businesses and offer our clients tangible benefits that add real value,” says Zulu.

SimplyBlu, which was launched in 2019, enables SMEs to create an online presence through a plug-and-play e-commerce store builder, which is interfaced with instant online checkout.

The platform has been designed so users can set it up and start quickly, taking skills levels and resource constraints into account.

Mastercard Country Manager South Africa Suzanne Morel says the platform will alleviate the pressure caused by the pandemic on small businesses.

Easier way of adapting

“We recognise the overwhelming pressure that small business owners are currently facing and are committed to supporting them through Covid-19 and beyond as they adapt to a new way of operating and [evolving] customer needs,” she says.

Through this collaboration, our mission is to help as many SMEs [as possible] with tools and support to expand their digital capabilities and take their operations to the next level.”

Google SA country director Alistair Mokoena says small businesses will be able to get access to a digital marketing service.

“Small businesses have been hardest hit during this period,” says Morel. “Many have had to figure out quickly how to pivot their operations to a ‘digital first’ approach. Yet there remains a gap between those who can access these online opportunities and those who can’t. That’s the gap we want to bridge with this collaboration.”