Small Merchants Don’t Think Digital Is Important Because Consumers Shop In Store. They’re Wrong. – PYMNTS.com

Today’s ever-more digital world has rapidly evolved consumer expectations around the shopper journey.
Modern shoppers increasingly want a digital-first experience, and they want it from every merchant they shop with no matter their size.
That’s according to data in the latest PYMNTS report, “2023 Global Digital Shopping Index: SMB Edition – How Digital Can Help SMBs Punch Above Their Weight,” a collaboration with Cybersource, which finds that consumers are less likely to buy from small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) than they are larger merchants because SMBs often lack the digital conveniences shoppers value, including mobile apps, mobile-optimized sites and free shipping.
The data show that shoppers around the world report experiencing more frustrations and complications shopping with SMBs than with larger merchants — even if they’re shopping for the same products at the same price. Those frustrations and complications stem mainly from a lack of digital features and conveniences on offer.
merchant innovation
The gap between smaller merchants and their larger competitors is set to only increase as PYMNTS data finds that, generally speaking, larger merchants are planning on investing in more innovations over the next three years.
Still, there exist a few key areas where SMBs are more likely to innovate than their larger competitors, including mobile apps and buy online for delivery options.
These innovations are mission critical for those SMBs looking to compete and establish a competitive moat around their business, as PYMNTS finds that the chance of a SMB converting a shopper in-store is significantly lower than their chances of converting customers online, via mobile or across any other digital-first channel.
That’s because shoppers have come to expect consistent, convenient access to a wide range of digital tools to simplify and streamline their shopping journeys.
They are not getting this from SMBs, which on average offer more than half a dozen (seven) fewer digital shopping features to their customers than larger competitors do.
PYMNTS research finds that SMBs that offer more amenities considerably outperform their peers that do not, underscoring the importance of meeting the evolving expectations of modern consumers to succeed in today’s landscape.
In fact, 9 in 10 SMB shoppers (90%) are either digital enthusiasts or digital mainstream shoppers and actively search for merchants that offer digital shopping and payment features.

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