SMB Retail: What’s Next?

The pandemic ushered in major changes, including higher CX expectations among shoppers. Are your SMB retail customers prepared to meet these demands?

online shopping

The pandemic accelerated progress toward a digital world, but there’s still work to do for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). SMB retailers have spent the past few years trying to stay viable and are now challenged to meet new consumer expectations. Making the right moves now are critical to the future of these businesses.

One way you can help your clients is to share insights from research, such as SOTI’s From Bricks to Clicks: State of Mobility in Retail 2021 Report, to help them make informed decisions about their businesses.

The survey, commissioned by SOTI and performed by Arlington Research, asked 6,000 consumers in eight markets worldwide about a variety of retail engagements and the experiences they expect as customers.

These three findings are particularly valuable to SMB retailers and the value-added reseller (VAR) that provide solutions and services to them:

1Delivery is the New Black

Consumers embraced online ordering through social distancing and stay-at-home orders, but the survey found that 57 percent are frustrated by the shipping and delivery experiences retailers offer.

Furthermore, 29.5 percent of North American consumers say they buy from brands that can deliver the quickest – and if delivery takes more than two days, they’ll shop elsewhere. Also, about half of North American consumers expect to be able to pick up an item at a store or curbside the same day they place an online order.

Consumers also expect visibility after they place an online order. The SOTI report states that about one-third want to know where the order is from when they place it until it arrives on their doorstep.

SMB retailers may find that in addition to offering the right merchandise at the right prices, the key to success is delivering or arranging for pickup as quickly as possible.

2Solving the Return Dilemma

The survey found that consumers placing online orders, whether to stay socially distanced or for convenience, want the return process to be as easy as the ordering process. The survey found:

  • 63 percent of consumers want easier returns, preferably automated processes.
  • 61 percent of U.S. consumers say they’d buy more from a store if making a return is easy.

Overcoming this challenge can help win customers and build loyalty, and it may even give SMB retailers an edge over some of their larger competitors with clunky return processes.

3No Security, No Sale

As consumer behaviors shifted to making more purchases online, they’ve also become more protective of their payment information. The survey found that 47 percent of North American consumers have abandoned an online purchase because they didn’t trust the retailer’s site with their payment data. That same number, 47 percent, say they have concerns about SMB retailers’ ability to keep their data secure, but 57 percent trust larger, well-known brands to protect their payment data.

Deploying effective security solutions and raising awareness with customers can help put their minds at ease.

The Opportunity for VARs

As a point of sale (POS) VAR or solutions or service provider working in the retail vertical, you are well-positioned to help your SMB retail clients address these expectations and provide the experiences their customers demand.

Evaluate your portfolio to see if the solutions you provide have features that can manage delivery, in-store pickups, and returns and give consumers visibility into their shipments. If you don’t currently offer solutions that deliver these capabilities, it’s time to form new partnerships to provide complementary solutions that integrate with your client’s systems.

Also, talk with your payments partners about online payment security and how your SMB retailers can indicate to their customers that security is a high priority. For example, CVV or ZIP code verification, encryption, tokenization that eliminates the need to store payment data in the POS system, and even security-related marketing and messaging on the payments page can raise consumers’ comfort level when making a purchase.

Additionally, with SMB retailers’ recent changes to their operations, your clients may need more robust solutions for inventory management, mobility, labeling, supply chain and vendor management solutions to enhance their efficiency.

A Lot is Riding on SMB Retail Decisions

One additional finding from the SOTI report is imperative for your SMB retailer clients to understand: More than 50 percent of consumers say that one negative online shopping experience is enough to destroy their trust in a brand. So step up and use your tech and industry expertise to ensure your clients have the tools and help they need to ensure that never happens.