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Small retailers can deliver big customer experiences

Best-of-breed applications are empowering small-to-medium business (SMB) retailers to elevate their customers' experience.

From more effective marketing to smoother checkout experiences, small and medium business (SMB) retailers can now punch above their weight thanks to cloud-based applications and data. The result is a more engaging customer experience which helps to keep shoppers coming back.

The COVID-19 pandemic was the catalyst for a step change in our shopping habits, with 97% of Australians aged 18 to 75 now shopping online, according to PayPal’s 2022 eCommerce Index Report1

Social media has been a key focus, with more than 10% of sales by online businesses now received through social channels, where shoppers are spending more than $100 per month on average, according to the PayPal study.

The social media giants have embraced this trend, with Facebook and Instagram allowing retailers to sell directly to consumers, while TikTok has partnered with Shopify.

To make the most of this shopping boom, Australian retailers will require more than just a strong online and social media presence. Regardless of their size, they’ll need to embrace technology that ensures they are optimising their operations and delivering an engaging customer experience at every stage. 

The new tech tools powering retail 

Some small online retailers might run their business using simple tools like spreadsheets, but as the business grows, the need for more robust business-grade technology becomes apparent. Many of these tools and systems can now easily be accessed via the cloud.  

Best-of-breed cloud retail applications include e-commerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce, along with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms like Salesforce and HubSpot. Beyond these, HR platforms like Employment Hero and Paycor help retailers manage their people, while cloud accounting platforms like Xero and MYOB assist to manage their financial records.

These cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings can provide a range of benefits for retailers compared to traditional on-premises software, which can require significant upfront investment.

SaaS subscription models put enterprise-grade tools within reach of the smallest businesses, helping them compete against the retail giants. Accessed via the cloud,  tools like these offer scalability and can easily grow with SMB retailers to meet their current and future needs. 

On the backend, the accessibility of the cloud helps to keep retail businesses up and running, with 24/7 support and automatic updates improving security.

Another benefit is that cloud-based solutions can be securely accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, which is especially important for remote teams or businesses with multiple locations. Remote working options also assist online retailers with providing a flexible workplace, which can help attract and retain staff.

Delivering better customer experiences 

For retailers, one of the cloud's key strengths is its ability to help improve their customers’ journey.

From the outset, more effective and targeted personalised marketing – with strong social media integration – can help retailers forge a stronger emotional bond with potential customers as they build awareness about their products and services.

Once shoppers land on the website, online retailers can take advantage of powerful e-commerce platforms to offer a personalised shopping experience. This includes everything from AI powered customer support systems such as chatbots, to improved pre- and post-sale support which can easily scale to handle business growth.

Tightly integrated online services can also deliver more flexible and reliable payment and checkout experiences, without an increased burden on the retailer. This includes integrating with their suppliers' systems and third-party fulfilment providers to extend ordering and delivery options, including drop-shipping.

The result is an enhanced retail customer experience which can improve conversion rates, increase basket sizes, drive loyalty and help spread that all-important word of mouth on social media.

A powerful customer experience 

Just as SMB retailers can leverage business-grade cloud-services to reach their full potential, they should also consider a fast and dependable business-grade fibre connection to get the most out of those cloud-based applications. 

Choosing a business nbn® Enterprise Ethernet doesn't just offer the option of symmetrical upload and download speeds^. It also means retailers can have access to services that are designed to help optimise performance and help minimise downtime.  

With Enterprise Ethernet, you have the ability to prioritise data for business-critical applications, to help ensure that cloud-based software and services are responsive. You’ll also have access to specialised priority customer service and support# via business nbn’s Service Centre. This includes 24/7# assurance support for service providers and fast restoration option, so you can continue delivering positive customer experiences, even if your connectivity goes down.

Find support for your business 

Talk to your service provider or business nbn accredited adviser to learn how business nbn can help transform your retail business.


#These wholesale service features are offered to service providers. The service options providers make available to their end customers depend on what they have productised and the retail solutions they offer. 

^business nbn Enterprise Ethernet is only available in the nbn Fixed Line network footprint and at limited premises served by the nbn Fixed Wireless and Satellite networks. Costs may apply; customers should contact their preferred service provider to ask about availability and any fees and charges that may be applicable. Your experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn network, depends on the nbn access network technology and configuration over which services are delivered to your premises, whether you are using the internet during the busy period, and some factors outside nbn’s control (like your equipment quality, software, broadband plan, signal reception and how your service provider designs its network). For business nbn Enterprise Ethernet, if your provider has not selected Class of Service – High, the speeds you experience may be affected by contention on the nbn network, particularly in busy periods.