SMEs missing out on mobile shopping boom
The majority of the UK’s small businesses are failing to take advantage of a boom in mobile shopping as they have not optimised their websites for smartphones.
New research from PayPal claims this lack of digital skills is costing businesses, especially as the mobile shopping market is expected to double this year to £27 billion.
That figure is predicted to hit £43 billion in 2020 yet the PayPal study suggests as few as 18% of the UK’s small businesses have mobile-friendly websites.
There are concerns that SMEs will be left behind by larger competitors if they are unable to provide a service that consumers want.
A third of respondents to the study failed to recognise the potential importance of mobile sales, suggesting that they ‘do well enough as it is’.
However, customers view a non-mobile-friendly website as the most frustrating aspect of their online experience when purchasing with their smartphone.
The situation could worsen too, as a third of Brits expect to use their smartphones more for purchasing goods in the next year.
Small businesses that fail to adapt could risk a loss of custom from the younger generation, as 44% of those aged 16-25 said they purchase more via mobile, while six in ten millennials say they consider purchases on their smartphone on a daily basis.
Ultimately the potential lost sales could put pressure on the finances of smaller firms and limit their growth potential, even causing business to stagnate.
A number of alternative finance options do exist to assist with raising finance for those facing difficulties, with long and short-term solutions available.
The key is for businesses to undertake options reviews and to take the necessary steps to ensure they have adequate cash flow to cover any period of low sales.
Altering their website could have a positive impact in terms of boosting conversion rates and improving the consumer experience – the latter is important as it drives repeat custom and can help to build a firm’s reputation.
Having secure payment options also boosts security and often means consumers are willing to pay higher amounts for goods when purchasing via mobile.
By Phil Smith