Digital: The best time is now
If you feel like you’ve missed the digital revolution, it’s still not too late. But the longer you wait, the more business you could be missing.
A recent survey[i] of 160 retailers in the UK, classed as small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs), showed four out of five (82%) believe retailers without an online presence are unlikely to survive in the future.
Given that stark projection from the retailer perspective, it’s perhaps no surprise that the majority of UK SMEs surveyed, 90% or nine out of 10, adapted during the pandemic to offer new digital services to their customers.
Establishing an online shop was the leading change for more than two thirds (67%) of respondents, offering home delivery was a new adaptation for a little under two thirds (62%) while just over a third (35%) started offering click and collect, or similar, services.
In addition, the survey revealed more than three quarters (77%) of SMEs are now using social media channels like Facebook, Instagram or TikTok, to sell directly to their customers. That compares to just over two fifths (41%) of SME businesses which were leveraging social media this way before the pandemic.
What your customers are thinking
Knowing what your fellow business owners are thinking is useful, but it’s even more important to know what your customers are thinking.
To help, Elavon surveyed[i] more than 1100 consumers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland about their needs and expectations for both eCommerce and face to face retail.
Overall it becomes apparent that being clear and accurate about what you’re selling is key. 96% of respondents had that as their number one priority when it comes to choosing which companies they buy with online. Followed, at 95%, by the ability to find what they’re after, clear and accurate product imagery, and a competitive price.
Next in importance, at 94%, was the ability to pay without completing forms, fast and convenient delivery, and good customer service.
Security was at 93% with offering free returns at 92% - seemingly trailing in the priorities, but still significantly high priorities among respondents.
However, and importantly, the consumer shift to eCommerce doesn’t mean the end of the High Street. Nine out of 10 (90%) of UK consumers indicate they want to support their local businesses. So it’s about using your physical shop as cleverly as you use your online one.
Take insight from what consumers value most when shopping in store:
The top priorities for consumers in our survey were speed and related to their time in store. They want stores they visit to provide what they need, when they want it.
Being well-stocked was the number one priority (97%) followed closely by providing quick and convenient payment (96%), and allowing customers to quickly find what they need.
The ability to assess the quality of a product in-person was also a significant priority, at 94%, as is visibly reassuring hygiene, health and safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 (93%), which speaks very clearly to the times we find ourselves in.
To find out how Elavon can help you with all your payments needs, whether online or face to face, talk to us
 Ipsos MORI online survey conducted in UK May 28-June 1, 2021 of 1129 respondents aged 16-75.