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South West SMEs losing out on sales by ignoring mobile

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Written by: Hannah Baker | Posted 08 November 2017 9:43

South West SMEs losing out on sales by ignoring mobile

Small businesses in the South West could be failing to cash in on the boom in mobile shopping by not having mobile-friendly websites, according to new research from PayPal.

The survey revealed a growing gap between online shoppers’ mobile preferences and what small businesses are offering – and it could be costing them potential sales.

PayPal research shows that mobile shopping growth is outstripping overall online spending by four to one in the UK.

This trend looks set to continue, with 29 per cent of shoppers in the South West expecting to use their smartphones for buying in the next 12 months, rising to 41 per cent for 16 to 24-year olds.

Despite mobile shopping estimated to hit £27bn in 2017 – up from £13.5bn in 2016 –  only 17 per cent of the South West’s small businesses have mobile-friendly websites.

Thirty per cent of South West companies claim they don’t need a business site because they “do well enough as it is”.

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But this could deter consumers who say their number one frustration, according to the research, is websites that are not mobile friendly.

While shoppers of all ages in the South West are embracing new mobile-friendly payment methods such as digital wallets, 37 per cent of small businesses in the region have never reviewed how they take payments.

Instead, they continue to rely on traditional methods including bank transfer (69 per cent), cash (57 per cent) and cheque (51 per cent) to take payments.

For over a third of businesses in the South West, the average value of an individual sale is between £10 and £30, but PayPal’s research shows that consumers are willing to pay up to three times that on digital devices: £73 on a smartphone, £106 on a tablet and £158 on a laptop.

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.

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“There are small changes businesses in the South West 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.

“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.”

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