Technology backed as way through coronavirus chaos
THE threat of long-lasting coronvirus restrictions forced small businesses across the Granite Belt to re-evalute the need for bricks and mortar stores.
Lifestyle Footwear launched its online store in April, following the pandemic outbreak.
Co-owner Alfina Gasbarin said the website had already been considered, however its launch was accelerated due to looming uncertainties.
“From our perspective, in case we were shut down completely, we just needed another avenue to sell the product,” she said.
“It wasn’t more for the sales, but just to get the exposure out there so we weren’t just focusing on a local market, because this is a tourist town.
“It gives our tourists another chance to look at our products.”
Now three months after launching the online store, Ms Gasbarin said it was too early to see the full results.
“It’s hard to tell at the moment, because we’re looking at it for a future thing because people need to discover the website,” she said.
“We’re promoting it, so people know that we have it now.
“It wouldn’t have been instant, and we understand that.”
Fellow business owner Lucille Jensen said traffic had been steady for her Pink Poppies online store.
“The majority of my business comes from locals, about 70 per cent of it,” she said.
“So not having visitors doesn’t affect my business as badly as things like drought have.”
Mrs Jensen launched the Pink Poppies website two years ago.
She said her business was “well placed” when the virus hit, with an already established online market.
“It takes a good year to get your teeth into the market because you’ve got the Google web presence,” she said.
“Our digital sales, at one point, were 40 per cent of our sales.
While Mrs Jensen said her online sales hav decreased as restrictions on shopping eased, the online store is one she will keep.
“The digital platform is important, but it does consume a lot of time, but it does give a wider market,” she said.
“It’s people searching for things that you can’t get easily or things that are a bit more unusual.
“The other beauty of buying from a country digital store, they generally have the stock at hand.”