@buyfromthebush reignites rural businesses during COVID-19 pandemic

With many Australians currently confined to their homes and retail stores closed due to social distancing requirements, businesses have been relying on online sales to keep them going during this uncertain time. 

After enjoying an incredibly successful 2019 with the @buyfromthebush Instagram page setting social media alight, the initiative continues to show support for rural and regional businesses doing it tough.  

The @buyfromthebush page was initially created to promote businesses affected by drought and is now supporting those impacted by COVID-19 who have been forced to focus their efforts to online sales as more people move to working or learning from home arrangements.  

@buyfromthebush founder Grace Brennan said it remained focussed on building a following for the page and highlighting more rural and regional businesses.  

Despite a shift in consumer habits following the disastrous start to 2020 with bushfires and now COVID-19 making consumers more conscious about where they spend their money, Grace said customers still wanted to keep supporting businesses in the bush.   

“The engagement has been strong despite the tumultuous start to 2020,” Mrs Brennan said. 

“Our challenge is to keep it engaging for people and to amplify our message even more. 

“At this strange time of social isolation people are using social media and browsing online more than ever. Anecdotally there seems to be a heightened awareness of the importance of supporting small business at this time. 

“We need to invest in increasing the capacity of bush businesses to sell their story as much as their product and connecting them directly with the consumer.” 

Grace said that many businesses that @buyfromthebush features had been able to grow their online presence over the past few months with more focus put towards e-commerce platforms and social media.  

“It’s an important time to use the BFTB platform to support bush business while being aware of the challenges felt elsewhere,” Mrs Brennan said.  

“Within the context of coronavirus, a collective voice and a visible platform may be critical for small business in the bush. 

“Visibility is critical as bricks and mortar stores close.” 

Tegan Scott

Is the Community & Engagement Officer at the National Farmers' Federation.

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