Many businesses aren't providing what consumers are looking for: report

 

According to a recent report, there’s a large gap between what small to medium businesses (SMB) in Canada are offering, and what consumers’ needs are.

The report, conducted by Visa in conjunction with key industry organizations, found that more and more consumers are looking for online shopping options—something not many Canadian SMBs are offering.

“As consumer expectations are evolving, it is critical that small and medium-size businesses evolve with them,” Brian Weiner, vice president and head of product for Visa Canada, said in a news release.

“At Visa, our goal is to help businesses understand and navigate the complexities of today’s consumer, and adopt digital processes to stay competitive,” he continued.

According to the report, 90 per cent of consumers said they were motivated to shop at a business if it has an easy-to-use website.

Additionally, 87 per cent said they believed it was important to support local businesses—meaning many SMBs would have an opportunity to reach more customers if they enhanced their online presence.

Additionally, nearly half of consumers—47 per cent—check out a business’ website before visiting the store in person.
However, the report found only 32 per cent of SMBs sold their products online, and online sales made up only 12 per cent of their total sales.

As well, payment options are furthering the gap between what consumers want and what SMBs are offering—according to the findings, 85 per cent of consumers prefer to pay with digital payment methods such as credit card or wire transfer; however, only 52 per cent of SMBs provide digital payment options.

Of the SMBs that have recently made an effort to offer more digital sales options, 40 per cent saw an increase in sales by an average of 7.1 per cent.

“While more than 80% of consumers surveyed say digital benefits motivate them to shop at a business, businesses are still underutilizing these preferred digital channels,” Weiner said.

“With this report, Visa is sharing actionable ways SMBs can bridge the gap between consumer expectations and their current offerings, resulting in untapped profit and growth in this digital revolution,” he continued.

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