Blessing Karubwa, Business Reporter
ART and craft producers have been urged to embrace digital marketing tools to enhance their visibility to export markets at a time when Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have frustrated normal business operations.
The respiratory pandemic has limited physical movements across the globe, with dampening impact on demand and supply chains.
Small scale businesses that relied on physical contact to engage their clients have suffered the hardest as a result.
The matter was a subject for intense discussion last Friday in Bulawayo where ZimTrade, the country’s trade development and promotion agency, equipped producers from the southern region with digital marketing skills.
The participants were mainly drawn from Bulawayo, Lupane and Binga, which have very active art and craft entrepreneurs.
During the seminar, one of the players who spoke on condition of anonymity said he has been in the art and craft sector for 30 years and has suffered a huge business loss since last year due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
“I have been in this field for 30 years as an artist doing craft work. I have been surviving from this trade but nowadays because of Covid-19, which has brought about movement restrictions, I am struggling even to send my children to school,” said the participant.
Others also concurred and expressed willingness to adopt digital tools to reboot their operations. In her presentation ZimTrade marketing specialist, Nozipho Maphala, said Covid-19 has brought about a lot of changes that require producers to be adaptive in order to survive.
“We’ve noted that our art and crafts players are not visible online. Nowadays, we are living in a world of technology and most of the business people are making money through online advertising,” she said.
“Covid-19 brought about a lot of restrictions in movements and people can’t move about and sell their products. So, to address that we held this seminar so as to educate our players on how to shop and get their products online.”
Maphala said the sector members should aggressively position themselves on social media through utilising the diversity of social media platforms.
During the meeting participants were taught how to create their web-pages on the digital platforms and how to use them for maximum benefit.
Maphala said those who embrace the technology were set to improve their visibility and indicated that ZimTrade would continue to make periodic follow ups for further assistance.