With an aim to boost sales among micro, small and medium business enterprises (SMEs) and encourage Barbadians to buy more local items, the Small Business Association (SBA) has reintroduced a SMART Card.
Chief executive officer of the SBA Lynette Holder said the discount card formed part of phase two of the association’s Be SME SMART campaign that began in 2012/2013 to focus on the promotion of the SME sector.
The Smart Card will allow customers to get a range of discounts and special offers from small businesses on the spot once they present it.
Besides getting the opportunity to sign up with the help of SBA SMART ambassadors, residents are able to sign up for the card at the SBA office or on their website.
Holder said the association has also introduced a value-added component to its SME promotion, which includes a marketplace on the SBA’s website. This will feature the range of goods and services on offer from companies as well as the discounts they offer to holders of the SMART card.
She said the SBA would also be embarking on a major eight-week advertising campaign to promote the businesses.
In addition, Holder said the SBA was hoping to transform the SMART card by the end of this year so it could be used like a bank card so customers could use it to swipe and shop online.
In that regard, she said the SBA was currently in discussions with some commercial banks in an effort to establish e-commerce platforms for all SMEs to sell their goods and services online. This would also allow customers to gain points and other special offers.
“So phase one will be the discount card and phase two will be the card with the magnetic strip that will allow for the points to be accrued as people make their purchases,” she said.
Holder said it was the aim of the SBA to get more companies doing business online.
Stressing that small businesses were critical to the local economy, Holder said that by supporting them “it allows us to save jobs, allows small businesses to earn revenues, it enhances their commitment to providing quality goods and services and helps Barbados to save foreign exchange”.
The campaign, which will run until the end of this year, will be reviewed periodically and the necessary adjustments made.
As part of its quest to drive more business among the SME sector, Holder said the SBA was also in discussions with the Barbados Postal Service to develop a courier service across the island once the online platform was developed to facilitate e-trade.