A recent survey1 of 160 retailers in the UK, classed as small to medium sized enterprises (SME) showed four out of five (82%) believe retailers without an online presence are unlikely to survive in the future.
Given that projection from the retailer perspective, it’s perhaps no surprise that the majority of UK SMEs surveyed nine out of ten adapted during the pandemic to offer new digital services for their customers. Establishing an online shop was the leading change for more than two thirds (67%) of respondents. Offering home delivery was a little under two thirds (62%) and just over a third (35%) started offering Click and collect 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 that were doing it before the pandemic.
Knowing what your fellow business-owners is useful, but it’s just one perspective. It’s even more important to know what your customers are thinking.
To help, Elavon surveyed2 more than 1100 consumers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland about their needs and expectations for both eCommerce and face to face retail.
The priorities of customers are clear from our study.
Be clear and accurate about what you’re selling. 96% had that as their number one priority when it comes to choosing who 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 93% with offering free returns at 92%.
However, and importantly, the consumer shift to eCommerce doesn’t mean the end of the High Street. Nine out of 10, 74% 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 was speed related. They want stores they visit to provide what they need, when they want it. Being well-stocked was 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%) and, in the times we find ourselves in, visibly reassuring hygiene, health and safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 (93%).
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 Savanta survey conducted in UK April 15-April 30, 2021 of 160 SME retailers.
 Ipsos MORI online survey conducted in UK May 28-June 1, 2021 of 1129 respondents aged 16-75.