Is it a match? Where small businesses and consumers meet
What types of small businesses do consumers frequent and why? How are small businesses meeting consumer demand? Vantiv set out to find out by surveying 199 consumers and 38 small business owners about their experiences.
The resulting data paints an interesting picture of what today’s consumers expect from the businesses they frequent, and how small and medium size businesses meet these expectations. Just for fun, we’ve framed the survey results as personal ads from both audiences. Let’s take a look!
Smart consumer with money to spend seeks small business for LTR
70% of consumers use small businesses for consumer services, home repair and construction services, while slightly fewer (61%) visit locally owned restaurants. Only 41% use small businesses for professional and medical/healthcare services.
Prefer friendly, local service providers
85% of consumers choose a small service provider because of the customer service, and 74% because they want to support local businesses. 66% choose small service providers because they “know me,” and 57% think small businesses offer higher quality services.
Product providers must be convenient and flexible
Consumers look for many of the same qualities in small product providers including customer service (75%), desire to support local business (66%), and because they “know me” (55%). Having a convenient location is also important (60%) as well as being easy to work with (48%).
Appreciate gifts but nothing too practical
Nearly half of consumers shop small businesses in-store for flowers/gifts, and over one-third for food/beverage items. Consumers prefer to shop at national chains in-store for home appliances (67%) and electronics (58%), and online for books/music (46%) and toys/games (32%).
Following are the main reasons consumers shop at small businesses:
- Superior customer service
- Customized recommendations on products/services
- Quick, timely and personal response or remedy to issues
- Friendly, knowledgeable, well trained staff and interactions with owners
- Unique product selections that meet personal or local needs
Small business with quality offerings in search of steady customer
Offering more products than services
Twice as many small businesses sell products as services (66% and 34% respectively). For small businesses that sell products, the majority offer food/beverage items (32%), followed by apparel/accessories (12%). For small businesses that sell services, the majority provide consumer services (62%), followed by medical/healthcare services (15%).
Prefer face-to-face meeting
Most small businesses (82%) sell via a physical store, while only 39% sell online. Less than 20% also sell remotely at fairs, craft shows, etc.
Small but mighty
The primary competition for small businesses comes from other small businesses (34%) and national chains/big-box stores/franchises (32%).
Age makes a difference, but no discrimination here
The majority of small business’ customers are Gen-Xers (92%) and Baby Boomers (74%). Millennials come in last at 63%.
Best qualities shine through
Small businesses differentiate themselves by offering:
- Superior customer service
- Personalized relationship with customers
- Passionate and knowledgeable employees
- Friendly and neighborly atmosphere
- Unique selection of quality products
Is it a match?
In summary, if you compare the smart consumer’s list of “Bonus points” and the small business’s list of “Best qualities,” it looks like a pretty good match to us!