UK SMEs need to embrace mobile shopping

British small businesses need to stop ignoring the success of the smartphone, according to new research from PayPal, which reveals that only 18 percent of the UK’s SMEs have mobile-friendly websites.

With mobile shopping estimated to hit 27 billion pounds in 2017, according to the Centre for Retail Research, PayPal is stressing that small businesses could be failing to cash in on the boom in mobile shopping by not having websites that automatically adapt for the different screen sizes of smartphones and tablets.

The UK-wide survey spoke to more than 2,000 small businesses and 2,000 consumers to reveal a growing gap between online shoppers’ mobile preferences and what small businesses are offering, which could be costing them potential sales.

The research reveals that mobile shopping growth is outstripping overall online spending by four to one in the UK, and this trend is set to continue, with 30 percent of Brits expecting to use their smartphones to shop more often in the next 12 months, rising to 44 percent for 16 to 25-year olds.

Nicola Longfield, director of small business at PayPal UK, said: “With mobile web browsing overtaking desktop for the first-time last year, it is more important than ever that businesses adapt. Bridging the gap between customer expectation and what businesses are offering need not be daunting.

UK SMEs need to embrace mobile shopping

“There are small changes businesses can make to give themselves a boost, and the top item should be making websites more mobile friendly for smartphone or tablet. Shoppers are increasingly frustrated by websites which require them to pinch the screen to zoom in and scroll endlessly to find miniature checkout buttons.”

PayPal research suggests small businesses not doing enough to target mobile-friendly consumers

Mobile devices are already central to today’s shopping experience with 6 in 10 (59 percent) 16-25 year-olds browsing for new purchases on their smartphone every day.

However, Paypal’s research reveals that only 18 percent of UK small businesses have a website that is friendly for mobile devices, an increase of just 1 percent on 2016.

The divide between what shoppers prefer and what small businesses offer also extends to the most popular ways to pay and be paid, with research finding that while shoppers of all ages are embracing new mobile-friendly payment methods such as digital wallets, preferred by one in three online shoppers, 40 percent of small businesses have never reviewed how they take payments. Instead, businesses continue to rely on traditional methods including bank transfer (70 percent), cash (54 percent) and cheque (45 percent) to take payments.

With research revealing that the average value of an individual sale is between 10 pounds and 30 pounds, small businesses adopting popular modern payment methods such as PayPal could see a boost in sales, especially as research notes that consumers are willing to pay up to three times the average value on digital devices, 84 pounds on a smartphone, 103 pounds on a tablet and 147 pounds on a laptop.

Longfield added: “Knowing your customer is all-important. The profile of a UK mobile shopper is very similar to an online shopper, so it really is a case of fine-tuning business practices to make the most of customers’ habits. This could be sharing promotions on customers’ favourite social channels, scheduling marketing emails to coincide with peak mobile shopping times, or simply offering recognisable payment options to give shoppers that extra confidence in their purchases.”

Images: via Pexels

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