Google Partners With The British Retail Consortium, Steps Up Support For SME Retailers

have created their “Open For Business” initiative this year to support small businesses improve their digital presence and respond to the challenges posed by Covid-19.

Last week they announced specific and targeted support for SME retailers through a partnership with the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Becky Power, the new UK Director of Consumer Retail at Google spoke about their partnership with the BRC , saying:

“We’ve seen retailers take huge steps to adapt to restrictions and shifts in consumer behaviour brought about by COVID-19… as we approach an incredibly important three months for retail, Google has launched a range of initiatives designed to put businesses back on the front foot.”

The partnership is part of Google’s global mission to support one million businesses to remain open by the end of 2021.

It focuses on two key elements – providing retailers with access to the digital skills that they need to navigate their new reality, and providing businesses with support and visibility across Google’s platforms.

Digitally upskilling retailers

With the growth in online selling, having the skills to build and use an effective online presence is crucial for retailers.

“In the space of just a few months, shoppers’ use of technology has leapt forward years – we’ve seen a 60% increase in internet usage, while search interest in online shopping and how to buy online has doubled globally.” stated Power.

However, not all businesses are equally equipped to make the most of this shift, and according to Power, “30% of UK businesses don’t have a website”.

In an attempt to level this playing field, Google has created a one-stop shop for small businesses to access training and support, called Google for Small Business.

The website gives a host of toolkits for business owners to sharpen up their digital skills and ready their business to tap in to the ecommerce boom.

Supporting businesses on Google’s platforms

The other key component of the partnership with the BRC centers around giving small businesses access to free listings on the Google Shopping tab from mid October.

The Google Shopping tab is a high profile way for products to feature prominently in search results. It is estimated that over half of all online sales start with someone searching for an item online, so gaining access to the Google Shopping tab for free is a major boost for small businesses.

The reasoning behind this offer was explained by Power – “This follows a successful launch in the US where retailers running free listings and ads together saw on average twice as many views and 50% more visits on the Shopping tab. And small to medium sized businesses saw the largest share of increases.”

With the 4th quarter this year set to be the biggest one yet in terms of online shopping, the support from Google and the collaboration with the BRC have come at the perfect time for small businesses.

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