It is generally accepted by businesses of all sizes that going digital is key to future success. However, especially for small businesses, getting the right staff and technology in place can be a real challenge.
There is a digital skills gap in the UK, and it is often small businesses that suffer the most with many ending up having to train existing staff. Initially, at least, this can seem like an insurmountable task – how do you go from small kitchen table startup to selling your wares online and around the world?
For this reason, the Amazon Academy event programme in partnership with Enterprise Nation, to help educate SMEs in the UK on the digital opportunities that are just a click away. The free event, which has already been held in London and Manchester, will next take place at the EICC in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Tuesday 23 May.
Prepare for Brexit at Amazon Academy event
With times being what they are, there has never been a better time for small businesses to go global.
“We do think the domestic economy is going to shake and shrink a little over the next couple of years,” said Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation.
“It’s really important now that small companies not only keep UK business going, but keep an eye on which other markets to be going into.”
You might even be surprised by just how easy it is to reach global customers – 60 per cent of small businesses selling through Amazon are already exporting.
The Amazon Academy will explain how SMEs can utilise the company’s tools and services, including Amazon Marketplace, Amazon Web Services and Alexa, to increase sales both at home and abroad. In addition, Enterprise Nation will be on hand to answer any other business-related questions.
“Anyone who comes will definitely pick up practical advice on how to use Amazon to grow their business, and we will deliver all the other business support. If a business needs help on social media, or advice on how to comply with digital tax accounting that’s about to come in, that’s where Enterprise Nation can step in,” explained Jones.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
The vast majority of businesses, from startups to multinationals, will recognise the importance of analytics, business intelligence and making the most of digital opportunities. Many of these types of tools have traditionally been designed with big corporates in mind, and often the payment plans and contract structures can be a barrier to entry for smaller businesses.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has created a level playing field for startups and small businesses, and offers technology such as compute power, storage, databases and a range of other computing services to businesses of all sizes, all offered on a pay-as-you-use basis.
“Amazon Web Services is a brilliant way for small businesses to have access to the tech power that large corporations have access to. It enables them to innovate, scale and go global. So, at the event, there will be a talk on how to build your business through cloud computing,” said Jones.
Amazon Marketplace supports tens of thousands of UK businesses of all shapes and sizes to sell to customers around the world. This in turn increases selection for customers, with more than 250 million different items now available, with Marketplace sellers now account for half of all global unit sales on Amazon.
For a small business looking to tackle new operations overseas, the prospect can seem a little daunting. There’s marketing, customs and documentation to cover with no guarantee you’ll see a return on your time and investment.
“You can leverage Amazon to sell in the UK, but of course it attracts customers from all over the world so it can help you move beyond UK borders,” said Jones.
“Amazon Marketplace’s job is to attract customers, and even to go so far as helping with the management of currency exchange, local translations and providing global delivery and distribution.”
Exploring digital opportunities
In addition to these key services, the Amazon Academy event will feature help and advice segments on its other services, including Alexa and Amazon Launchpad, as well as insight from Enterprise Nation and its other partners, Scottish Enterprise and Entrepreneurial Spark.
Now, more than ever, is the time for small businesses to be making the most of digital opportunities. Wherever you are based, whether you’ve got a shop on a busy high street or a small workshop in rural Scotland, there’s something for everyone – take the stepping stones towards ecommerce.