It’s a question small business owners wonder daily: How can I make my business stand out from the competition?
Bank of America Merchant Services surveyed more than 500 U.S. small business owners and over 500 consumers to figure out exactly that. What are the best-performing small businesses doing well? What type of shopping experience do consumers expect?
Based on survey results, we recommend owners consider the following three tactics to help increase sales and expand their customer base.
Forty-six percent of small businesses accepted digital payment methods in 2018 – a ten percentage point increase from the year before. And they expect that number to keep rising. More than half predict a growing number of their competitors will accept a mix of credit and debit cards, digital and mobile payments.
In their survey responses, small businesses owners said Near Field Communication, or NFC payments such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay allow them to process more transactions per hour and give customers a better overall experience. They also noted digital payments are easily accessible for most consumers, because nearly everyone carries a mobile device. Approximately a quarter of consumers agree, saying they want to be able to pay with a mobile device or digital wallet.
More than half of the consumers surveyed said they shop online more today than five years ago – and small business owners are following suit. Fifty-one perfect ran an eCommerce site in 2018, up from forty-four percent in 2017.
This means that businesses who already have a site, or plan to launch one soon, have a chance to gain market share from those only selling items in-store. And we’ll let you in on a little secret – the owners we surveyed said the most important eCommerce site feature they look for is the ability for customers to use mobile devices to make purchases.
Nearly two-thirds of consumers reported signing up for loyalty programs at businesses they frequent. They prefer programs that offer instant discounts, as well as rewards points for purchases or visits.
Customers are also willing to share a wide range of personal information in exchange for such perks including their email address, name, gender and mailing address. Small business owners can use this information to offer a more personalized experience, which in turn can help deepen relationships with customers and strengthen loyalty.
Speaking to a trusted payments provider can help small business owners understand emerging payment trends and select technologies that best fit their business’ size, industry and customer base. If you’d like to see if these tactics can help your small business, contact a Bank of America Merchant Services business consultant today.