Forbes highlighted a recent study conducted by MasterCard’s Global Insight’s group that reinforced an unsurprising fact: small businesses are lagging behind when it comes to ecommerce.
The article correctly identifies this as a major competitive issue, pointing out that — for instance — young consumers are more likely to purchase a pizza from Domino’s over a small local chain, not because of the quality but because they can enter and track the order online.
From the Forbes writeup:
Without better technology, smaller business risk falling further behind because they can’t develop the targeted loyalty offers that large, vertically integrated retailers and restaurants can develop through the information they collect.
“Where they are missing the bus is marketing and targeting — the loyalty end of things,” Iacobuzio said. Technology vendors are also missing an opportunity because small and medium size businesses rule the world, or at last rule the numbers of businesses, if not the numbers in revenue.
The barrier to adoption is resources, or lack of them. A small family-run business probably can’t spare a person to find, install and run technology to capture customer information and develop targeted marketing. To be useful, any technology solution would have to be inexpensive and very easy to install and understand. That combination doesn’t necessarily suggest a lucrative market for technology vendors.
The key, of course, is to find affordable and effective ecommerce services that pay for themselves. Those certainly exist, and small to medium sized businesses that aren’t actively seeking and utilizing those platforms are putting themselves at a potentially crippling disadvantage.