Many businesses are failing to recognise the importance their customers place on various new technologies, meaning they risk falling behind to larger or more advanced competitors.
The 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report profiled the importance SMEs are placing on an array of new technologies, and then compared those sentiments with those of consumers.
Most troublesome for the SME community is its relative ambivalence about the importance of on-demand delivery.
Just 22 per cent of the surveyed businesses said it would have some or a huge impact in future, while more than a third (38 per cent) suggested it will have no impact.
However, the majority of consumers (54 per cent) felt that on-demand deliveries will have a noticeable impact on their future spending habits. A tiny 7 per cent said it will have no impact on them.
Similarly, almost half (45 per cent) of consumers wanted to see voice commerce integrated into their shopping capabilities.
“But 77 per cent of SMBs said they had no intention of looking at it,” said Vicki Brady, Telstra’s group executive for consumer and small business.
The findings were consistent across the board, with customers placing a much higher emphasis on new technologies than the businesses serving them.
Internet of things was important to 49 per cent of consumers, but just 25 per cent of SMEs agreed; similarly it was 45 per cent of consumers who saw impacts from instant message purchasing compared to only 22 per cent of businesses.
While these technologies will be more beneficial to some businesses and industries, it highlights a significant disconnect between businesses and consumers which, if not addressed, could easily lead to problems.
Ms Brady added that the most startling fact about the report was also one of the most basic points.
“The thing that most shocked me,” Ms Brady explained, “is that only 50 per cent of businesses have a website. However, 62 per cent of consumers say they won’t deal with a business without a website.”
As previously shown, the Telstra report also found many SMEs were wasting resources chasing new customers instead of learning how they could convert would-be customers already known to them.
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