Embracing digital technology: 3 SMBs transform themselves

Sometimes it takes a pandemic

We’ve all known for ages that digital technology is a useful tool, but the truth is most of us (me included) only adapt as much as we have to. Because of COVID-19 — and the strict social distancing it requires — scores of Australian business owners have had to adopt touch-free ways of delivering their goods and services.

Here are three who use GoDaddy’s tools and services to make their businesses go — even from a distance.

The Cheeky Chocolate Queen

Sometimes you really get it right.

Just ask Rebecca Day, who launched an eCommerce website last year. Before that, she was selling her hand-poured chocolates through markets, at the Royal Adelaide Show and a pop-up collective in Marion, Adelaide. But since non-essential businesses were ordered closed, the only place to get the Cheeky Chocolate Queen’s 1,000 different novelty chocolates is on her website.

Digital Technology Cheeky Chocolate Queen Packing Boxes

Like most small business owners, Rebecca panicked when COVID-19 forced her to shut up shop. “I had a bit of an anxiety attack when all of this started happening, because this is my only income at the moment,” she recalls.

The benefits of a bigger audience

Fortunately, Rebecca’s online business has been steadily increasing since introducing online ordering in 2019 and now draws customers from all across Australia.

So when she was forced to switch to a touch-free eCommerce business model, the orders kept coming in. “I’ve gained all these new customers through coronavirus because everyone wants to support local businesses, which is absolutely fantastic.”

Rebecca’s also grateful that several of the collaborations she’d set up pre-pandemic are simply on hold, ready to go again when this all clears over. Whatever you call it — clairvoyance, vision — Rebecca’s timing for getting an eCommerce shop up couldn’t have been better.

So it should be no surprise that the first thing she’s going to do once the pandemic passes is update her website.

Ciao Bella language school

Digital Technology Ciao Bella

Lucia Osola has been teaching Italian through her language school Ciao Bella, in Brisbane for the past 10 years. But it wasn’t until the pandemic forced her to start using digital technology to teach that things really took off.

Now every single lesson and class is held online through Zoom.

 

Since going online exclusively, Lucia has seen her classes grow in size. Because she’s no longer limited to people in her geographic area, many more can take her classes. It could also be down to the fact that many Australians suddenly find themselves with more time on their hands. “It’s a good distraction from what’s happening,” Lucia says.

Although she’s no longer in the same room as her students, the experience is quite similar for her. “In the end, it’s basically exactly the same, face-to-face or online, it’s not a big difference at all.”

Lucia says the pandemic has taught her that the face-to-face approach isn’t always necessary. “You can do a lot of lessons and meetings online.” She predicts people will be more technological after COVID-19 disappears.

Lucia offers one-on-one lessons or small group classes for adults and children, teaching everything from beginner’s Italian to conversation.

Related: How to set up Zoom video conferencing

Dolly’s Disco Bingo

After 20 years of entertaining in bars, clubs and at private parties, Dolly Adamson has hit her stride.

The entertainer, who started off doing kids’ karaoke parties, hit on the idea for disco bingo during a stint working on the Spirit of Tasmania. They wanted normal bingo as she recalls, but she thought that was too boring. So she added music and disco bingo was born.

When the pandemic hit, Dolly lost $50k in revenue in two days.

 

The first few days were a blur of cancellations. Then her clients suggested she keep hosting parties, just in a different way. “Which was great,” she laughs, “because otherwise I think I’d just be lying on the couch watching Netflix and hoping for Centrelink payments.”

So Dolly got on the phone to GoDaddy and updated her website to let customers know she was still open to host music trivia and disco bingo nights.

Digital Technology Dolly’s Disco Bingo

It was really as easy as setting up Zoom, buying a webcam, and buying a little soundbar.

Now the weekly trivia night she used to host at the pub has been rebranded to “Tuesday night Zoom trivia” just for her current customers, who still want to have fun even if they can’t go to the pub.

Instead of handing out her music bongo tickets and answer sheets in person, now Dolly just sends them to people before the event. “So really nothing’s changed,” she says. “Except I’m not getting in my car and travelling miles all over Melbourne.”

Dolly’s also noticed how what she does is meeting an innate need to connect. She says one woman is getting her mates from all over the country together to play trivia bingo with Dolly. “We’ve got the time now, we’re not rushing everywhere. It’s like a reboot that we needed to appreciate everyone in our lives.”

She has seen a drop in income, as she’s reduced her prices because “everyone’s doing it tough.” But she says it’s enough to pay the bills for now. “As long as I’m getting regular work, I don’t care.”

And you know what? She doesn’t miss the driving one little bit.

Digital technology really is our friend

If your business has yet to embrace digital technology, now might be the perfect time. GoDaddy has all you need to jump online, from domains to hosting and easy website builders. Check it out!