This article is provided by Google, whom The British Retail Consortium is proud to be partnering with on their ​Open for Business​ initiative.

To help SME retailers on their road to recovery, Becky Power, the new UK Director of Consumer Retail at Google shares critical insights with the British Retail Consortium.


We've seen retailers take huge steps to adapt to restrictions and shifts in consumer behaviour brought about by COVID-19. While we are at the start of this journey, these shifts from both the store and the shopper will have lasting effects on the industry of tomorrow. This is why, 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. 

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. It’s clear that online tools and kills will be a major driver for a more digitally enabled, sustainable, and equitable future. 

These developments highlight the critical importance for businesses to have a strong online and digital offer. But according to YouGov research in 2019, 30% of UK businesses don’t have a website. If we can help close this gap by making digital tools available and easy-to-use, we can turbo-charge the economy. 

Part of our sustained effort to help SME retailers in the UK
Globally, Google helps drive 100 billion monthly visits to business websites and creates more than 3 billion monthly direct connections between businesses and their customers. But we want to do more, especially to support SME retailers in the UK. That is why Google has partnered with the British Retail Consortium to help ensure those retailers can access more free digital skills and training. Partnerships of this kind are a key driver of Google’s commitment to help 1M businesses remain open by the end of 2021. 

Google for Small Business​ is a one-stop shop designed to help SME companies get started on the web and grow their digital presence.  At the heart of this solution is our goal of making digital easy - SME retailers can gain advice on which tools and products can help small businesses stand out online to build web presence to reach more customers. In short, we want to give the power back to businesses to succeed. 

Google opens up free listings on its Shopping tab to UK retailers
While we recognise that E-commerce can provide a lifeline for many businesses, finding the money for ads is not always easy – especially in the current climate. This is why we’re ​making it free​ for retailers to list their products on the Shopping tab globally from mid-October, in time for peak shopping season. 

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.