A strong online presence is vital for a business to succeed in the current market. This requirement is transforming businesses more than many SME owners realise.
Speaking on the My Business Podcast, Mybottleshop founder Steve Rider says that even though his business is centred on retailing alcohol-related products online, he sees himself more as the founder of a technology-based business.
“When we've gone out there and looked at ways we can raise more capital ... one of the things we've been going down the road is an [initial public offering], and we've commenced that process [at] the beginning of this year,” he says.
To try and secure capital, Steve finds he has to travel to the US, as he can't raise enough capital here in Australia.
“In the US, they look and say, ‘Is this a tech business? That's what we're interested in’,” he explains.
“‘Hang on, they hold stock and they've got property. We don't know about that. We really want Airbnb or Airtasker’. Transactional businesses is what is traditionally thought of as a tech company.”
To secure capital, Steve needed to present his business as a technological one to be more attractive to foreign investors.
Focusing on becoming a more technological business does not just revolve around immediate growth opportunities; the digitisation of advertising is an aspect that SMEs may take for granted.
“When I … interact with our suppliers and they think of the old, stuffy bricks-and-mortar liquor stores, and they bring over more point-of-sales stands for us to put up in our ‘shop’, we have to digitise all that,” Steve says.
“It's no good them bringing home pop-up stands and all that sort of stuff, we have to digitise everything. Everything that we do is digitised as far as Facebook, our EDMs [electronic direct marketing]; it's all digitised.
“We have to take what traditionally a liquor store does as far as point of sale, [and] put that in a digital format.”
By appealing to foreign interests and digitising his advertising material, along with other techniques, Steve believes he can emulate the customer experience available in-store on Mybottleshop and take it further by offering customers suggestions based on the data they supply to Mybottleshop.
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