Technology Can the web save small business?

Can the web save small business?

A customer withdraws a book ordered on the Internet from a bookseller in Saint-Mathurin-sur-Loire, November 4, 2020 (JOSSELIN CLAIR / MAXPPP)

Bruno Le Maire announced on November 9 that the government was going to pay, in January 2021, aid 500 euros to traders wishing to create a commercial site, while many shops are closed.under the re-containment decided to fight against the pandemic of Covid-19. Currently, only a third of small French businesses have a website, compared to two thirds in Germany.

However, this aid of 500 euros seems very meager compared to the costs to be incurred for a real “digital transformation. In fact, it is possible to create a site for zero euros. But for something serious, the addition will rather be of the order of several thousand euros. You need a study, the creation of the site itself, usually from ready-to-use tools, and above all to maintain it over time and plan for changes. This also implies an internal reorganization of the activity. The aid of 500 euros could act as a trigger.

But the question is above all whether the web can really save small businesses. The future will tell, when we take stock of the actions being taken today. Indeed, some took advantage of the confinement test to embark on the digital adventure, for example, by creating a click and collect. The difficulty for small businesses is above all to find who to contact, where to start and how to avoid the inevitable scammers, who can sell cobbled together sites at high prices and then disappear into the wild?

To help these companies, several initiatives have just emerged. For example, Google France has launched, with the French Federation of Merchant Associations (FFAC), a portal called My online showcase. The Ministry of the Economy and Finance has just opened a site called Click my business which identifies, region by region, all the serious resources to enable small traders to go digital. Finally, it should also be remembered that it is possible to sell its products without a website, through market places, such as the essential Amazon or even the Frenchman Mano Mano, specialized in DIY.

The main obstacle can be psychological or ideological, such as the fear of emptying downtowns of shops. But, in the current period, is it not especially by not trying to use digital technology that they risk disappearing?

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