To Sell More, Make It Easier and Safer for People to Purchase From You

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In 2017, Bank of America Merchant Services surveyed consumers and small-business owners, and discovered that businesses that are slow to catch up on purchasing trends risk losing business in the coming years. The survey also found that for small businesses to succeed, they must offer the purchasing options that their customers expect and want.

More than half of small businesses believe customers are more likely to have researched a product or service before buying than they were five years ago. Evolving with customers as their payment preferences change will prove key as small businesses try to attract and create loyal shoppers.

Further, they expect the same simple, seamless and easy shopping experience at whatever size business they frequent. Many small businesses haven’t kept pace, and in today’s hypercompetitive market, failure to adapt risks losing customers.

This research suggests that for small businesses to remain competitive and relevant, consumers must be able to find them and buy from them online. A user-friendly website with a professional look and a simple, safe way to make purchases is imperative, yet only 44 percent of small businesses operate an ecommerce website. Among those that do, few offer the features shoppers have come to expect, such as a streamlined interface and free shipping.

Keep information safe.
Whether customers are paying online or in a store, they expect the companies they do business with to keep their personal data secure.

Adopt new payment types.
Small businesses also need to keep up with changes in the ways consumers pay for purchases, online as well as in brick-and-mortar shops. Cards and cash remain the most familiar and common payment options, but that may not be the case for long.

Many small businesses haven’t kept pace, and in today’s hypercompetitive market, failure to adapt risks losing customers.

Many small businesses overlook the potential for ecommerce to increase their exposure and sales beyond local shoppers.Our research found that the lack of a confidence-inspiring online presence is hurting many small businesses’ ability to keep existing customers and win new ones– suggesting that they should consider embracing ecommerce solutions.

Consumers’ shopping habits and preferences are rapidly changing. Those changes represent a risk to businesses that don’t keep up, but also an opportunity for those that do. Is your small business doing enough?

According to the survey, many small-business owners understand what their customers expect. More than half of small businesses believe customers are more likely to have researched a product or service before buying than they were five years ago. More than a quarter of small businesses say customers have compared prices on an item or service on their device before making a purchase.

Consumers are likely to be wary of businesses that have experienced a security slip. It can be difficult for small businesses to bounce back from the damage a breach can do to their reputation and to customer loyalty, not to mention the costs of trying to remedy the situation. For these reasons, safeguarding customer information should be a top priority for small business owners.

Our research indicates that consumers are growing more comfortable with new technologies that let them make quick, secure and convenient transactions with businesses, both online and in-store. Cash in particular may be on the wane: Nearly half of consumers carry less cash now than they did five years ago, and most small businesses expect cash to become less relevant over the next five years.

Some small businesses are keeping pace. Evolving with customers as their payment preferences change will prove key as small businesses try to attract and create loyal shoppers.

Embrace online sales.
More than half of consumers say they’re shopping online more than ever before, enabling them to compare products and providers in seconds and buy what they’re looking for almost immediately. When they are ready to make a purchase, consumers expect the online transaction to be fast, secure and easy.

In 2017, Bank of America Merchant Services surveyed consumers and small-business owners, and discovered that businesses that are slow to catch up on purchasing trends risk losing business in the coming years. The survey also found that for small businesses to succeed, they must offer the purchasing options that their customers expect and want.

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