SMEs cite barriers to adopting technology
Purchase, NY – Adoption of technology can present significant challenges for small businesses looking to level the playing field with their larger counterparts, says ‘ Merchant Scope: Small to Mid-Sized Merchants Seek Competitive Technology in Omni-Channel World,’ a study by MasterCard. The merchant scope study that included small-to-mid-sized businesses in Canada, Brazil, Germany, and South Africa found that, while nearly 90 per cent have an online presence, only one in five actually offers consumers the option to buy their products and services on an eCommerce site. The two most cited barriers to adopting new technology were cost (46 per cent) and a lack of know-how (31 per cent).
“Advances in technology – including payments – have often presented an opportunity for small businesses to level the playing field,” says Theodore Iacobuzio, vice-president, global insights for MasterCard. “But, as consumers take advantage of emerging technologies like mobile to access deals and rewards, businesses of all sizes find themselves needing to create an ‘always on,’ omni-channel presence or mobile app to attract new and repeat customers. Many small businesses, in particular, find this to be challenging.”
Hospitality and restaurants were found to invest larger portions of revenue on consumer-facing technology (8.1 per cent) and back-office systems (11.8 per cent) than other industries. Hospitality businesses are the most likely to have an eCommerce website to attract travelers and to utilize e-mail marketing. More than half (51 per cent) of restaurants are using software for inventory management. However, regardless of the industry and location, the most cited marketing challenges revolve around identifying and reaching new customers. More than 32 per cent of businesses surveyed said Internet marketing and promotion was most challenging, while 28 per cent cited offering loyalty benefits and targeted deals to customers as particularly daunting.
“The barriers of cost and a lack of expertise are holding back small businesses from unlocking their true potential. This is important, not only for merchants, but also for the technology providers, banks and governments who support them,” says Iacobuzio. “Now that we better understand the obstacles small businesses are facing, we can work with all of the players in this ecosystem to tailor solutions and technologies to help them be more successful and better engines of economic growth.”