Standard Bank, Mastercard and Google collaborate to help SMEs open their digital doors and reach more customers

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EASY DEAL: SMEs benefit from a new collaboration between Standard Bank, Google and Mastercard to make eCommerce simple for businesses and their clients. Picture: Supplied
EASY DEAL: SMEs benefit from a new collaboration between Standard Bank, Google and Mastercard to make eCommerce simple for businesses and their clients. Picture: Supplied


The partnership sees SMEs get free access to Standard Bank’s SimplyBlu powered by Mastercard plus free Google Ads to the value of R500.

As Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) accelerate digital transformation efforts in response to the pandemic, this week Standard Bank, Mastercard and Google announced a collaboration to help them move their businesses online, accept digital payments and attract more customers.

Through the collaboration, SMEs can get free access to Standard Bank’s SimplyBlu, an all-in-one e-commerce solution powered by Mastercard Payment Gateway Services, plus free Google Ads to the value of R500. These capabilities have been packaged as a bundled solution to help support business owners to tackle the economic challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As one of South Africa’s leading financial service providers, Standard Bank is acutely aware that small businesses play an important role in driving economic growth and generating employment opportunities. Our strategic relationships with leading brands such as Mastercard and Google ensure that we are able to support small businesses and offer our clients tangible benefits that add real value,” says Nelisa Zulu from Standard Bank.

Launched in 2019, SimplyBlu enables SMEs to create an online presence through the plug-and-play e-commerce store builder, which is interfaced with an instant online checkout. Taking skill levels and resource constraints into account, the platform has been designed in such a way that users can set it up and start accepting payments in a matter of minutes.

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“We recognise the overwhelming pressure that small business owners are currently facing and are committed to supporting them through Covid-19 and beyond as they adapt to a new way of operating and evolved customer needs. Through this collaboration, our mission is to help as many SMEs with tools and support to expand their digital capabilities and take their operations to the next level,” says Suzanne Morel, country manager, Mastercard, South Africa. 

With Google Ads, SMEs can get access to a digital marketing channel that will help them in driving increased website visits to grow online sales, bookings or mailing list sign-ups; more phone calls and customer interest queries; as well as more in-store visits.

“Small businesses have been hardest hit during this period. Many of them have had to figure out quickly how to pivot their operations to a ‘digital-first’ approach. Yet, there remains a gap between those who can access these online opportunities and those who can’t. That’s the gap we want to bridge with this collaboration,” says Google South Africa country director Alistair Mokoena.

Rise of eCommerce

eCommerce has been a boon for small businesses over the last few months, largely due to consumer’s rapid adoption of online shopping and digital services as they opt to shop from the safety of their homes.

“eCommerce is a powerful tool for small businesses – be it retail operators or merchants offering services ranging from home maintenance to professional services. Our SimplyBlu platform has seen a more than 100% growth during the Covid-19 period, with business owners increasingly realising the benefits of operating their businesses on online platforms,” says Zulu.

Candy Smith, a fashion designer using SimplyBlu, where she built a face-mask making business. In early March, she was selling more than 200 masks a day. By the end of May, she reached over 1 500 masks a day for individual sales and secured corporate orders of 10 000 masks at a time.

SMEs can sign up for the offer here.


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