How virtual marketplaces make SMEs more resilient

Submitted by Imogen Allan on 29 June 2021

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, the health crisis has had a huge impact on SMEs globally. Since then, they face a challenging economic climate while having to deliver competitive and high-quality services.

Many SMEs found it difficult to stay connected to their customers during the pandemic, however digital technology offered a way to keep businesses going. As well as reaching loyal customers, SMEs can now reach millions of new customers online.

Today, SMEs make up 56% of Europe’s economic value. Virtual marketplaces helped maintain international trade for businesses, limited economic loss, protected jobs and aided recovery.

Dario Cenli, Owner of Italian outdoor equipment business Explora, knew “it was crucial to reach an audience online” when the pandemic hit.

He chose to use eBay’s online marketplace to sustain his business. Here, he was able to reach customers and stay connected. eBay’s Cities Initiative, which helps cities and communities transfer their services online, also helps shoppers to find local retailers online when they can’t physically visit their stores.

Online marketplaces don’t sell their own products and are therefore not a threat to SMEs. Instead, SMEs can collaborate with them to fuel the economy, and create jobs and trade. 

Despite the opportunities they offer, many SMEs find it difficult to compete with larger corporations that are well equipped to handle complex rules and regulations.

To tackle this problem, initiatives like the eBay EU Policy network keep SMEs up-to-date on policy developments and ensure their voices are heard.

As the health situation improves, governments must continue to offer support for SMEs to digitalise long-term. Digitalisation will play a key role in their recovery, ensuring SMEs can weather future crises and thrive.

Read the full article on the role of virtual marketplaces in SMEs’ success here.

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