1 in 5 SMEs has been a victim of cyber security attacks in the past three months

cyber security attacks in British SME

With the country back into full lockdown since the 5th November and remote work becoming the norm again, concerns about cyber security attacks are back in the main discussions of business owners and CEOs.

cyber security attack in British SME

Many businesses suffered from cyber attacks during the first wave of COVID-19. 30% of businesses have fallen victims to phishing attacks since the beginning of the pandemic, and with the number of attacks rising, companies need to have solid measures in place to prevent attackers from entering their systems.

We asked over 500 CEOs and business owners of British SMEs what measures they have in place to prevent these attacks. Also, if they have required new software and how they are ensuring the staff is aware of the risks when working remotely. (full methodology at the bottom of the article)

Highlights of the study:

  • 12% of companies needed new security software since the beginning of COVID-19.
  • 40% of businesses didn’t have a contingency plan after the first wave that took place in March-April this year.
  • 22% of business owners are concerned about security threats when employees work remotely.

40% of SMEs didn’t have a contingency plan in place in case of a second wave

The results of the survey show that 40% of SMEs in the UK didn’t have a contingency plan prepared in case of a second wave. 

number of businesses that had a contingency plan after first wave

Business continuity software or backup software can help you prepare for unexpected events that may put at risk the running of your SME and secure the continuity of business.

In addition, 12% of companies needed new security software to support their business since the beginning of COVID-19. Anti-virus (27%), Firewall (27%), and VPN (24%) software are the three most popular ones.

However, 21% of businesses have been victims of a cyber attack in the past three months.

Malware infection (41%) and data breach (37%) are the two forms of attacks suffered by businesses in the past three months. In addition, 80% of business owners state being concerned or very concerned about the risk of malware attack.

 Investing in antivirus and network security software can help your business prepare for those threats and mitigate the effects of a possible attack. Check out some different software to see which one offers the features that are most suited to your needs. Visit the cyber security listing on GetApp UK for more information on vendors and features.

Remote work and security are still a concern for business owners

22% of business owners are concerned about security threats when employees work remotely.

However, they have issued a series of guidelines to make sure that employees are aware of the risks. 33%  say advising employees not to use public wifi when working from a cafe or places with a shared connection.

A third of them also recommend staff use a VPN when connecting to the company network. 28% also recommends changing both system and router passwords regularly. 

Brian Reed, senior director analyst at Gartner, recommends that owners reassess the security measures that were put in place during the first wave to see if they are still relevant:

“Now that a few months have passed since the initial remote push, it’s time for a needs assessment and review of what has changed to determine if access levels are correct and whether any security measures are actually impeding work.”

 

Password management software and authentication software can help with managing and organising passwords as well as providing a centralised, secure location for them.

22% of business owners will require cyber security skills from new employees

Cybersecurity skills are amongst the ones most demanded by businesses looking at 2021. 22% of business owners say they will require some cyber security skills from new employees that are hired. 

Companies are investing in training employees on the skills that are currently needed. A third of companies are using interactive web-based training such as webinars and 32% are using computer-based online training. 

In addition, SMEs are making changes to their employee training budget during this second lockdown. 20% are planning on making minor increases in the training budget while 13% will significantly increase the training budget.

Using Webinar software to train employees is a great way to make it visual and engaging for them to learn new skills. If you don’t have the resources to provide a course to your staff, the National Cyber Security Centre has launched a new free training tool for SMEs. 

The short course takes less than 30 min to complete and trains staff on four key areas of cyber security: 

  1. Identifying phishing
  2. The importance of having strong passwords
  3. Securing the devices 
  4. Reporting incidents

Security alerts and access controls are the two most asked questions to vendors

Security alerts (33%) and access controls (27%) are the two most popular topics raised when looking to purchase new software.

However, the results of the survey show that 18% of business owners also ask vendors about regulatory aspects such as GDPR compliance.

most common topics asked to vendors

A resilient business model will help your SME to be better prepared for unexpected events. Furthermore, this will support the digital transformation of your business without disruption.

Looking for Cyber Security software? Check out our catalogue

*Data for the GetApp New Business Model Survey has been collected in November 2020. The sample comes from an online survey of 1,851 respondents that live in the UK.

The survey data used for this article comes from 539 participants who have qualified to answer.  The information in this article corresponds to the average of all surveyed participants.

The criteria for participants is:

  • Owner, founder, or another head role
  • C-suite executive (e.g., CEO, CIO)
  • President or vice president

eCommerce trends: 59% of consumers shift to online shopping

ecommerce trends

It is no secret that the UK retail industry is struggling. Just last month, the British Retail Consortium warned that the latest COVID-19 lockdown will have “a significant economic impact on the viability of thousands of shops and hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country”.  To help brands understand the eCommerce trends at play, we asked 1,005 consumers in the UK how the pandemic is changing the way they shop (full methodology is available at the bottom of the article).

ecommerce trends

 

The findings show that 59% of British shoppers are now spending more online and less in brick and mortar stores. As a result, business success depends on retailers placing greater emphasis on their eCommerce offering.

In this article, we will look at the online shopper preferences that can help brands convert their online traffic into sales.

Fashion and grocery driving online sales

One of the first steps to becoming a successful retailer is knowing what your customers want to buy. To find out what products are currently driving eCommerce sales, we asked respondents what they have been using eCommerce to shop for since the pandemic began. The top 5 responses are as follows:

ecommerce trends

However, in the world of online retail, it is not as simple as knowing what products to stock. You also need to understand how customers prefer to interact with eCommerce platforms.

When asked what devices they use when shopping online, the responses suggest it is critical merchants have multi-channel functionality. This shows a diverse range of preferences across both desktop and mobile.

ecommerce trends

Shoppers move online to avoid in-store crowds

Fulfilment options are another important factor when it comes to attracting, converting and retaining customers.

63% stated using online delivery one to two times a week before COVID-19. The pandemic appears to be a significant factor. 58% state that avoiding contact with crowds in-store is one of the main reasons for doing so. But receiving items at home and convenience also ranks high (55%).

Almost a quarter of people (24%) did not use online delivery at all before COVID-19, dropping to 19% today.

Respondents were asked a similar set of questions about their use of in-store and pick-up point delivery since the start of the pandemic. While the majority do not use it at all (48%), 42% do so around one to two times a week. More frequent users were in the minority. 8% use these services three to five times a week, and 3% in excess of five times per week.

The most popular reason for using in-store or pick-up point delivery was to avoid crowds in-store (45%). Respondents also stated to receive items at the shopper’s time and convenience (45%) and to reduce the time, stress and friction in-store (41%).

Other motivations included saving on delivery fees (38%) and the ability to check for missing, incorrect or damaged items (19%).

COVID-19  has been a factor in motivating some people to use in-store or pick-up point delivery. However, the data suggests most will continue to do so after the pandemic is over. When asked about the likelihood of this occurring, 20% responded “highly likely” and 42% “likely.”

Out of stock items the biggest pain point for online shoppers

Beyond general preferences relating to device and fulfilment options, there is a range of issues that are highly likely to turn consumers off a brand. Effective inventory management should be a priority for businesses.  Respondents rank “out of stock products” as their top pain point (68%).

Of course, some issues are outside of the merchant’s control. Over six in 10 shoppers (61%) report that the inability to touch, feel or test products is a major issue for them when using eCommerce services. Implementing effective returns and refunds processes, however, should go some way to addressing this.

The results suggest that the accuracy and volume of the product information on-site are especially important. Over half of the respondents complained about the quality of products not being as described. Another 47% had encountered what they felt was misleading product photography and descriptions.

Optimising your business for the consumer shift online

 The one thing most shoppers want to see is a greater focus on the basics. For example webpage loading speeds, real-time stock checking or a smoother checkout experience. 60% said this would have a positive effect, 36% neutral and only 4% negative.

A significant number of consumers also want to see online brands employ innovation to better replicate in-store experiences. 23% stated that the introduction of functionality like Augmented Reality (AR) enabled virtual changing rooms would improve the eCommerce experience.

In a previous GetApp study of 1,000 UK consumers, of the 85% of consumers yet to use AR to buy online, 53% were interested in trying it. Similarly, another GetApp study focused on Virtual Reality (VR) revealed that while 87% had yet to use the technology to shop, 49% were keen to try.

 54% of people identify delayed or slow delivery as a particular challenge relating to eCommerce. However, the research found some circumstances in which respondents were prepared to wait. Almost half (45%) confirmed they would be happy to wait longer for their orders if it was guaranteed products were both sourced and delivered sustainably.

In the short-term, online merchants should refocus their attention on improving the core features and functionality that users expect as standard. But as the eCommerce space becomes increasingly crowded, investment in innovation may be an effective strategy for differentiating them from the competition.

Looking for eCommerce software? Check out our catalogue

*Data for the GetApp UK Customer Experience Survey was collected in October 2020 from an online survey of 1,491 respondents that live in the UK.

The survey data used for this article comes from 1,005 participants who qualified to answer.  The information in this article corresponds to the average of all surveyed participants.

The criteria for participants is consumers who have made an online purchase in the last 6 – 12 months.

 

COVID-19 drives eCommerce in South Africa ahead of festive season

ecommerce trends in Singapore

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a serious toll on shopper behaviour not only from a decline in spending but also in how they shop. With social distancing restrictions, a possible second wave of infections, and adaptations to new lifestyles, the crisis is driving more traffic to South African eCommerce merchants than before.

To help brands better understand this dramatic shift in behaviour, over 1,000 South African consumers participated in our customer experience survey where consumers shared how the pandemic is changing the way they shop. They also shared some insights into whether they believe these changes will last in the long term (*see below for the full survey methodology). 

ecommerce in south africa

How has shopper behaviour changed during lockdown?

During the various levels of lockdown, there have been varying degrees of social and merchandise restrictions as well as depreciating disposable income. Many people can’t shop as they did before and this has led to 42% of people saying that they have spent less as a result of COVID-19. 

ecommerce in south africa

However, looking at where customers spend, the shift is more significant. Almost six in 10 people (59%) report spending more online and less in-store. This trend is likely to continue: In the next six months, 44% will continue spending more online and less in-store, while 27% expect their spending to remain the same for both in-store and online.

ecommerce in south africa

An online eCommerce Christmas

The December shopping period is the most important season of the year for many retailers. This year it will see a dramatic difference in consumer spending, with  52% indicating that they will spend more online and less in-store, while only 21%, will spend the same in-store and online. 

COVID-19 is a clear factor—whilst responders generally prefer this wasn’t the case, as they feel shopping in-store is an important part of getting into the holiday season spirit. 46% consider this shift to be a good thing due to the added convenience it provides.

It’s not just more of our money we’re spending online—we’re spending more of our time too:

The graph below shows how much time people spent prior to and since COVID-19, shopping online each week.

online shopping for the Christmas period

The survey reveals a significant number of people who pre-pandemic did not use online delivery on a regular basis. 55%, use in-store/pick-up point delivery 1 -2 times a week followed by 22% who use it 3-5 times a week. 

Avoiding contact with crowds (77%) and convenience (49%), are the top reasons for respondents to choose online delivery since the beginning of the pandemic.

However, online shopping has its challenges. 61% of respondents say that their biggest deterrents when shopping online were out of stock products. This was followed by 58% stated that they had to pay high delivery fees and 57 % reported that they experienced delayed/slow delivery.

Preferred eCommerce brands for South African consumers

The results showed that there was an almost even split amongst popular eCommerce brands available in the market.

Depending on their shopping needs 26% of respondents said, they would shop directly from retailer/brand websites.  20% shop from independent online stores and 22% shop from established online marketplaces (e.g. eBay and WISH). 17% of shoppers use Social media tools such as Instagram and Facebook to buy and 14% buy using Amazon.

There is a significant opportunity for eCommerce vendors to grow their business in the current economic environment. However, with relatively few established brands dominating the space, it is vital they understand the trends driving consumer behaviour and adopt a strategy that reflects this.

Social media is the top way for discovering brands in South Africa

The research had some interesting insights. For example, how respondents discover new online shopping sites, suggesting there are four approaches that are particularly influential.

Social media ranks by far the most impactful with 51%.  Website ads are the second most impactful (49%). And search engines came third (42%) followed by word of mouth referrals (36%).

Bad experiences while browsing, selecting items, or making payments can rapidly result in abandoned baskets—a longstanding issue for the industry. According to Statista, the worldwide rate for online shopping cart abandonment sat at 69.57% in 2019. Finding effective ways to address it promises to have a significant impact on a merchant’s bottom line.

Looking for eCommerce software? Check out our catalogue

*Data for the GetApp SA Customer Experience Survey was collected in October 2020 from an online survey of 1,000 respondents that live in South Africa.

The survey data used for this article comes from 1,006 participants who qualified to answer.  The information in this article corresponds to the average of all surveyed participants.

The criteria for participants is consumers who have made an online purchase in the last 6 – 12 months. 

4 Christmas eCommerce campaign tips for new online retailers

christmas shopping with ecommerce

The pandemic is redefining the way consumers shop and retailers sell. Social distancing has become one of the industry’s greatest boundaries, so retailers are moving to eCommerce in droves. Shoppers are doing their best to avoid in-store experiences, so alternative delivery options are booming. This year’s Christmas and the holiday season will be different than any that have come before, and only those who adapt fast will collect the season’s heaving revenues. In this article, we will provide tips on how to run an eCommerce Christmas campaign that sustains profits and engages customers.

christmas shopping with ecommerce

Nurturing the double-sided relationship

eCommerce is a two-way relationship that’s built on a foundation of mutual curiosity. The eCommerce Christmas campaign must improve buyers’ perception of how they are treated. Relationship and Email marketing rise to the challenge by, for example:

  • Running loyalty programs.
  • Allowing real-time buyer feedback through reviews, email monitoring and website moderation.
  • Sustaining an active level of social media engagement via pages and social listening tools that discover brand mentions across all networks.
  • Offering instant responses to complaints.
  • Acknowledging birthdays and other significant days.

Today’s buyers want to feel valued. The days when customers were happy to engage with an impersonal support team are over. Eighty-two per cent of consumers expect an instantaneous reply on sales and marketing queries, but automation has made that pace possible.

#1: Social Media marketing

If your business doesn’t have a social media presence, establishing one should be at the top of your eCommerce Christmas campaign priorities. You can’t take care of your online buyers through smiling sales staff, so your online tools just became a thousand times more important. Seventy-three per cent of buyers intend to increase their online shopping after the COVID-19 crisis is over, so your online presence is an investment that can attract new potential customers.

#2: Loyalty and your business

You can’t win your buyers’ hearts through real-world conversation during a pandemic, so loyalty has become a scarce asset. Seventy-nine per cent of shoppers are more likely to keep supporting businesses that have loyalty programs, so they’re the perfect way to turbo-charge your eCommerce Christmas campaign. Not all programs are successful, though. Fifty-seven per cent of Americans have abandoned a loyalty program because their rewards took too long to earn. You’ll need to create a product with frequent paybacks.

No reward program can function without customer data, but today’s buyers are reluctant to give their email addresses away. The old-fashioned opt-in newsletter is perhaps the simplest way to sign your buyers on. Offering an exchange of rewards for contact information should be a microcosm of your greater loyalty program.

#3: Choosing the right rewards

Your choice of rewards can kill your eCommerce Christmas campaign before it gets out the gates. A Gartner survey found that 53% of buyers are willing to exchange their data for cash rewards. Forty-two per cent are satisfied with free products, and 34% will sign on for discounts or coupons. A meagre 27% were willing to do so in exchange for loyalty points, which are too slow to deliver. Effective rewards are accessible, tangible and significant, so choose wisely.

Making loyalty the core of your Christmas eCommerce campaign

Your loyalty program is useless without visibility, so it will need its own optimised digital campaign. You should market it through all channels, from your business website to your social media, but how do you reach those who aren’t in your purview yet? Cross-promotion is up to the task. One of the most iconic examples of this structure is the Android and Kit-Kat campaign, which gave away 50 million opportunities to win a tablet or gift card. Neither brand paid a penny beyond their rewards, and therein lies the beauty of this strategy. With imagination on your side, you’ll soon be migrating all that heaving data to the cloud.

#4: Software and loyalty

A successful loyalty program is demanding on your time, but loyalty program software is up to the task. It will manage your point redemptions and form a membership portal so that your buyers can track their rewards. More importantly, it will help you to track your customers, and that digs up more data to fuel your future marketing campaigns.

COVID-19 has changed buyers. They have new values, different fears and fresh shopping habits. It’s time to get to know them, find out what they care about, where they live and how they shop. Your loyalty software will help you to do exactly that, but if you want a more powerful option, customer management software will handle your CX from the first point of contact to the final loyalty point. If you’re just getting started with eCommerce, you need an entry-level tool that will help you to set up your online store. A retail management system with point of sale functionality will make your migration to digital trade much easier.

The new target market

Buyers have undergone drastic changes to their shopping habits and lifestyles since the pandemic struck. Their priorities have changed, and with them, the stores they prefer. They use different social media and have new delivery preferences. In other words, they’ve evolved into an entirely new target market. You’ll need to return to your marketing with fresh eyes and new data. This will only be the most wonderful time of the year if you adjust. If you can bring human values and feelings to the impersonal and inhuman online ecosystem, you’ll enjoy a bumper Christmas.

Looking for eCommerce software? Check out our catalogue

 

Online reviews used for marketing by 89% of British SME owners

online reviews help businesses with marketing

Customer reviews can be the best marketing tool for a company. It is essentially the modern word of mouth. 53% of British consumers always read online reviews about a product/service before buying a product, and 40% often before making a decision. 

online reviews help businesses with marketing

Having a good reviews management strategy is vital for companies to build trust and increase conversations with customers. Using specific review management software, reputation management software, or manual methods to track and assess these can have a significant impact on a company.

We asked 1,004 SME owners, managers and mid-managers in British SMEs to understand how companies use reviews and what impact the number of reviews makes on their business(scroll to the bottom of the article for a full methodology).

Companies with more reviews focus on marketing and customer service 

The survey shows that British SME owners see customer reviews as a positive asset for their company, and are dedicating time and resources to reviews. 89% of respondents use reviews on their site for marketing and promotion, using these on their homepage and website. 46% of business owners share reviews on social media and 22% use them in their email signature and email marketing campaigns.

Companies of all sizes dedicate resources to track and maintain reviews.  81% of companies with 11-50 employees and 87% of those with over 51 employees have a dedicated person or a team taking care or reviews. 

SMEs use reviews to help with marketing and promotion, but this can change depending on the size of the company. For example, 39% of companies with over 51 employees state using reviews for marketing and promotion, and 26% of them also state that reviews help improve the product and business offering, as well as interaction with customers.

Improving customer service (29%) is the main value of reviews for the majority of businesses business. In addition, 29% of companies said that customer reviews also help them increase revenue and profit. Smaller businesses benefit more from this, with 16% of sole traders and 14% of businesses with 2-10 employees stating that reviews lead to more sales.

Google, TrustPilot and Social Media are the most popular platforms for users to leave reviews

46% of companies surveyed ask customers to leave a review after a call or a chat conversation, while another 46% asks for feedback after they have purchased a product or service. 27% of them insert a link on their website that directs customers to an external reviews page (such as Google or TrustPilot).  When asked what platforms companies provide users to leave feedback, Google (50%), independent review platforms such as TrustPilot (50%), and social media (49%) are the three most popular ones.

most popular platforms to leave reviews

Personalised replies and prompt response: key traits to British SME reviews process

Companies are using different techniques to track and respond to customer reviews. Below is a snapshot  of how are British SME owners responding to customer reviews:

  • Sooner rather than later: When looking at how often companies reply to customer reviews, 35% reply often and 27% state that they always reply. Speed of response is very important, as a negative review can be detrimental for the business. 
  • Personalised responses: 61% of decision/makers in British SMEs use personalised answers to reviews
  • Better with a policy in place: Almost half of the respondents (47%) have a policy on how to answer (referring to the content, tone and style of the answer)
  • Apologising and acting on it: The majority of owners in the British SMEs surveyed (65%) apologise and act on the complaint, forwarding it to the relevant team to be acted upon as soon as possible.

Larger businesses have more reviews and see a return on investment in reviews

The survey also shows that companies that have more employees also have a larger number of reviews. Dedicating resources to manage reviews is also seen as important for SMEs that have more employees. 

87% of these companies have a dedicated person or team to deal with reviews. The survey shows how these companies also use reviews for marketing, with 39% stating they use reviews for business promotion. 

The use of specific software becomes more widespread as the size of the company increases. For example, a third of companies (32%) with over 50 employees use review management software or reputation management software to help them manage reviews. 

Tip: Customer Satisfaction, Customer Experience, and Brand Management Software can also help businesses with collecting and managing customer feedback in an organised and effective way.

39% of sole traders use spreadsheets to keep track of reviews 

The results of our survey showed that sole traders (a company with one employee) are the ones struggling the most to collect reviews. 23% of respondents who are sole traders or self-employed have 1-5 reviews.

When asked how they collect reviews, 26% ask a customer to leave a review after a call and  23% send a review request after purchase. The platforms most used by them to ask customers to leave reviews are social media sites (32%) and search platforms like Google (23%).

73% of decision/makers in a sole trader company consider reviews worth the investment in time and money. They see the value in reviews: 26% say that reviews help improve their business and 24% say that it improves the relationship with customers. 

Tip: Finding the right tool for your business is important but if you’d try a tool before buying, there are a number of vendors that offer free tools and free trials to interested customers so you can try the tool or use it for free on a basic plan and move up as your business grows.
online reviews used by users for marketing
Looking for Review Management Software? Check our catalogue

* Survey methodology

Data for the “Capterra Business Reviews Survey” study was collected in October 2020 from an online survey of 2,062 respondents that live in the UK.

The survey data used for this article comes from 1,004 participants who qualified to answer.  The information in this article corresponds to the average of all surveyed participants.

Note: There were several answer options available for the graphics so that the total of the percentages exceeds 100%.

The criteria for participants to be selected are:

  • Owner/CEO
  • High management/working across-departments
  • Middle management

And with the following number of employees:

  • 1 employee
  • 2-10 employees
  • 11-50 employees
  • 51-250 employees

All participants come from different industry sectors.

eCommerce set to dominate the Christmas shopping period

shopping and consumer habits after COVID/19

COVID-19 continues to take a serious toll on the UK’s High Streets, with the British Retail Consortium reporting a 36.9% decline in footfall last month. Meanwhile, with social distancing restrictions in place for the foreseeable future, the crisis is driving more traffic to eCommerce merchants and changing consumer habits.

shopping and consumer habits after COVID/19

 

To help brands better understand this dramatic shift in behaviour, we asked 1,005 UK consumers to share how the pandemic is changing the way they shop, as well as if they think these changes will last in the long-term (*see below for the full survey methodology). 

How are shoppers responding to social restrictions?

Referred to as “a nation of shopkeepers” by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, today it is probably more accurate to describe the UK as a nation of shoppers. Indeed, UK consumers are some of the biggest retail spenders in the world. But the coronavirus has meant the vast majority have had their consumer habits disrupted in recent months.

When it comes to overall expenditure across in-store and online, half of us are spending about the same as before the pandemic in retail sales, with 23% spending more and 27% less. Further, 63% expect their spending to remain the same over the next six months.

shopping behavious and consumer habits impacted by CVID-19

However, looking at where we spend, the shift is more significant. Almost six in 10 people (59%) report spending more online and less in bricks and mortar stores. And it appears this trend is only going to become more pronounced. In the next six months, 48% will continue spending more on online retailers and less in physical stores, while 39% state they will continue to spend the same amount via both channels. 

shopping mix impacted by coronavirus

An eCommerce Christmas

The Christmas shopping period, the most important of the year for many retailers, will be particularly impactful, with 52% stating they will spend more online and less in-store. 

COVID-19 is a clear factor — 41% said they would prefer this wasn’t the case, as they feel shopping in-store is an important part of getting into the Christmas spirit. Only 28% consider this shift to be a good thing due to the added convenience it provides.

It’s not just our money we’re spending more online—we’re spending more of our time too.

The research reveals that COVID-19 is also converting a significant number of people who pre-pandemic did not use online delivery on a regular basis. Asked how often they used online delivery each week since the outbreak, almost a quarter (24%) reported not using it at all before the pandemic. Since COVID-19, this has been reduced by 5%.

reasons for using online delivery since COVID-19

 

The UK’s preferred eCommerce brands

We wanted to learn which eCommerce brands British shoppers use the most. Respondents were asked where they typically shop online, and almost two thirds (65%) selected Amazon, with other online marketplaces (e.g., eBay, Etsy) trailing in second place with 16%. Only 7% selected “direct from retailer/brand websites” and 6% “independent online stores.”  

Moreover, most people are sticking to the brands they are familiar with: 48% have not discovered or purchased from any new online stores since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Of those that had, most (36%) had purchased from one or two new outlets.

new shops discovered since COVID-19

There is a significant opportunity for eCommerce vendors to grow their business in the current economic environment. However, with relatively few established brands dominating the space, it is vital they understand the trends driving consumer behaviour and consumer habits and adopt a strategy that reflects this.

Driving brand discoverability

Regarding how consumers discover new online shopping sites, search engine optimisation (SEO) ranks by far the most impactful with 32%. Word of mouth referrals come next with 16%, closely followed by website advertisements and social media ads (both on 15%). 

Bad experiences while browsing, selecting items or making payments can rapidly result in abandoned baskets which is a longstanding issue for the industry. According to Statista, the worldwide rate for online shopping cart abandonment sat at 69.57% in 2019. Finding effective ways to address it promises to have a significant impact on a merchant’s bottom line.

Looking for eCommerce software? Check out our catalogue

*Data for the GetApp UK Customer Experience Survey was collected in October 2020 from an online survey of 1,491 respondents that live in the UK.

The survey data used for this article comes from 1,005 participants who qualified to answer.  The information in this article corresponds to the average of all surveyed participants.

The criteria for participants is consumers who have made an online purchase in the last 6 – 12 months.

 

What are the benefits of market segmentation for companies?

benefits of market segmentation

Trying to succeed in an unsegmented market is like trying to hit a target with your eyes closed. You’ll certainly hit something, but you’re unlikely to hit the right thing. In a globalised world, every business must become a big fish in a massive pond. What are the benefits of market segmentation for businesses?

benefits of market segmentation

Gartner defines market segmentation as a way “to divide large groups of people into smaller groups that improve relevance, and as a result, the effectiveness of marketing”. Market segmentation combined with email marketing software splits your demographic into bite-sized chunks, allowing you to redefine your brand for several demographics.

Understanding the purpose of market segmentation

Market segmentation can help understand which figurative habitats and ecosystems you need to create for each demographic you serve. Every segment you define feeds the buyer personas that are so important to your online trade. Segmentation is usually achieved in clusters or needs. Once you’ve partitioned your market by needs and behaviours, you can create the perfect conditions for it. Those conditions determine everything from your marketing strategy to your logistics and lead generation policies. That improves the customer experience which, in turn, raises your profits.  

Market segmentation in times of crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the business world into a new habitat. Businesses have had to adapt to quarantined buyers, new needs and stunted logistics. Location independence and remote work have changed the way brands trade, so software spend has grown exponentially with 51% of businesses forced to implement new digital tools. 

According to a recent survey, 76% of businesses have adjusted their products to fit the virtual world, but many are still hunting for a way to survive in the new landscape. Happily, segmentation is the perfect tool for the lost. Like a tuning fork, the benefits of segmentation can define the perfect wavelengths for every buyer persona. It can also:

  • Position your business in areas with fewer direct competitors, allowing you to dominate and gain brand strength.
  • Eliminate rivals by offering the most inside knowledge.
  • Transform you from a follower in a large market to a leader in a small one.
  • Teach you how to appeal to unique needs.

As the business world turns to continuity plans that refocus their companies beyond the health crisis, segmentation becomes a core focus. Companies have started developing procedures that will help them to survive the next crisis. You can’t develop an idea of your core business functions until you know exactly who you’re serving. Segmentation should thus be at the heart of every continuity plan. Below are the three main benefits of market segmentation.

#1: Product development

Entire industries have crossed the digital divide to survive the pandemic. The tourism industry is selling holidays via virtual tours; supermarkets are pushing more eCommerce than ever before. Even healthcare has gone digital, with telehealth and teletherapy bringing patients more convenience than they’ve ever enjoyed. The post-pandemic world will take those digital adjustments along for the ride.

Those products might have been built for quarantine, but their relevance is unlikely to fade, so businesses need to ensure that their digital products are correctly targeted. Segmentation needs to be at the core of all product development. Without it, your efforts will fail in response to every tiny jump in market volatility. 

Segmentation assures your long-range prospects. Think of it as the foundation that determines your long-term constancy: it hedges your bets and warns you when a product can’t attract the profits it needs to sustain itself.

#2: Role automation

Audience segmentation has been a marketing practice for over a century, but today’s brands are taking it to new extremes. Deep segmentation goes beyond mere personas, segmenting individual buyers so that you can offer personalised care. This depth is a necessity in industries like healthcare and insurance, but more traditional sellers have started to use it because automation has made it possible. eBay was one of the first companies to offer this much depth. 

The eCommerce titan relies on automation to personalise its communications to every shopper at every stage of their buying journey. It even markets by previous purchases in the same way that Amazon’s web pages adjust to every shopper. With machine learning and automation at your side, you can market to individuals within every segment without obliterating your expense account.

#3: Attention economy

In an attention economy, every brand needs to achieve a new level of relevance. That’s no easy task in a digital landscape where relevance redefines itself every day. Personalisation is up for the challenge, but you can’t provide individualised care without a segmented market. Most automated tools rely on a rules-based structure fed by defined personas. It’s a golden infinity circle: the more accurate your segmentation, the better your personalisation. 

The better your personalisation, the more relevant your segmentation. There’s no better way to succeed in an attention economy than to make every buyer feel seen, and custom messages and products achieve exactly that.

The post-marketing benefits of market segmentation

The subject of segmentation tends to arise during the most volatile times in human history. There’s a reason for that: segmentation might be a marketing practice, but its benefits spread far beyond mere PR. It can fuel your product R&D, define your logistics, refine your pricing strategy and even play a role in the selection of your staff.

It’s a discipline that your entire business can benefit from, so it can refocus your company during times of change by reminding all who work for you who they’re ultimately trying to benefit. 

Looking for Email Marketing Software? Check out our catalogue. 

 

29% of companies say reviews can lead to an increase in sales

reviews software for sme owners

We all know how important reviews are when looking to purchase a new device. However, reviews can be crucial for small businesses, since positive reviews can increase the success of a business but a negative review can have a devastating effect on their long term strategy. How do companies deal with reviews from customers? Do they use reviews software to track them and respond? How do they manage reviews?

reviews software for sme owners

We asked 1,004 SME owners, managers and mid-managers in British SMEs to understand how companies use reviews and most importantly if they use a specific review management software or reputation management software to track and assess these (scroll to the bottom of the article for a full methodology).

British business owners manage their reviews

Today, reputation management is almost as important as the quality of the product a company sells.

Ryan Kent, Director of Reviews Operations for Gartner Digital Markets, states the importance of reviews for businesses-authenticity:

“Customer reviews offer a brief, peer-provided summary of a product and help buyers narrow their options. […] Aside from creating a helpful experience for buyers, you can use reviews to learn more about your customers, identify product gaps, build promotional and social media campaigns, and run competitor analysis.”

 

The majority of the surveyed decision-makers in British SMEs (93%) are happy with the way their companies are currently managing reviews.

Reviews are a way for consumers to find more information, based on user experience, about a product before making a purchasing decision. For businesses, however, reviews are a way of tracking down how customers feel about their products and/or services.

The average number of reviews that a small business has in the UK is between 20 and  500. When we asked respondents how many reviews their business has, 15% stated between 21-50, 19% 51-100 and 16% 101-500.

For consumers, the minimum number of reviews is between 5-20 to have some credibility. In addition, and according to our research, businesses should check to see their reviews platforms also have: 

  • A higher number of positive reviews than negative, since positive reviews are more trusted by UK consumers.
  • Fresh reviews, not older than 3 months.
  • Written reviews over rating are preferred.

1 in 3 SMEs use reviews software to track customer opinions

Our study also showed that 62% of consumers trust online reviews more than expert’s opinions when looking for trusted opinions on the web. This is crucial for business in understanding the value of reviews, and the impact that these can have on the consumers’ decision of choosing their brand over a competitor. 

When asked what is the value of reviews to respondents, the top response was to improve customer service 59%, stating that reviews allow them to improve the service they give customers. 

Almost half (54%) of business owners and decision-makers also stated that reviews allow them to improve the product and business offering, thanks to the feedback by consumers. 29% believe that reviews can lead to an increase in sales.

Approximately a third of respondents (30%) stated that reviews are a way to interact with customers and engage with them. In addition, 44% of them stated that reviews help increase brand image.

A large number of SMEs still use manual methods to track reviews

Over a third of SMEs surveyed use a specific review software (like review management or reputation management software) to manage and collect reviews.

7% of decision-makers surveyed stated not being happy with the way reviews are being handled by their company. Almost half of them (45%) would like to be able to react to more reviews and to read and follow them better (40%). Having organised them in a dashboard (31%) and being able to promote them more (28%) are other reasons that these business owners find frustrating.

Despite the number of decision-makers aware of the importance of keeping reviews in a good place, 44% of the companies that don’t use an external tool or software to collect reviews use a manual method like a spreadsheet. 

Using specialised tools like reviews management software can help companies with collecting testimonials and reviews, managing negative feedback and help improve the perception customers have of the product or service the company offers. 

Tip: There are a number of free tools available that will help your customers to share their opinions. SMEs that want to make the best use of this technology should start with a free trial with two or three vendors offering this software and assess which tool is better suited for their needs. 
Looking for Review Management Software? Check our catalogue

* Survey methodology

Data for the “Capterra Business Reviews Survey” study was collected in October 2020 from an online survey of 2,062 respondents that live in the UK.

The survey data used for this article comes from 1,004 participants who qualified to answer.  The information in this article corresponds to the average of all surveyed participants.

Note: There were several answer options available for the graphics so that the total of the percentages exceeds 100%.

The criteria for participants to be selected are:

  • Owner/CEO
  • High management/working across-departments
  • Middle management

And with the following number of employees:

  • 1 employee
  • 2-10 employees
  • 11-50 employees
  • 51-250 employees

All participants come from different industry sectors.

Managing Gen Z in the workplace: 5 tips to communicate effectively

tips to communicate with gen z in the workplace

Gen Z (also known as Generation Z or Centennials) was born after 1997 when technological innovation was at its peak, so they are digital natives who have never existed without smartphones. They shop using AR and VR, and social networks are their backyards—and that means they tend to seek out information on every decision they make. They have plenty of strength and social awareness to offer their employers, but what can you, as a business leader, do to earn that?  In this article, we provide 5 tips to effectively communicate with Gen Z in the workplace. 

tips to communicate with gen z in the workplace

Two-way communication in a digital world

This generation has an innate talent for digital communication. They can absorb information through several platforms at once, and that affects every industry and business department they engage with. They’re content-driven, so they expect to be informed by the people who employ them. Gone are the days when team-building exercises and monetary commissions were enough. The digital generation needs more substance than that.

They want to be educated, not just motivated. Gen Z in the workplace want their employers to invest in their improvement, so one-way discussions won’t cut it. Collaborative tools must encourage two-way connections across several mediums between team leaders and followers alike. Digital transformation has never been this profitable or important. With that in mind, what communication strategies should you be leveraging?

1. Accommodate shortened attention spans

Research shows that Gen Z has a  short attention span at eight seconds to Millennials’ twelve. That doesn’t necessarily mean business leaders need to say less in a shorter time frame. If you can control engagement, you can control attention. Immersive video conferencing technology is undergoing a resurgence as second-generation tools enter the workplace. The TikTok generation uses video the way Gen X once used Filofaxes, so communications leaders must maximise engagement through collaborative video-based tools like live chat software or video conferencing software.

2. Harness the new influencer model

Gen Z has grown up in the shadow of social media influencers. Businesses are starting to capture Gen Z’s attention through performative professionals. Experienced, prominent leaders can mentor hundreds of new employees at once through video-first integration. Your best in-house leaders can become your brand’s own influencers if you have video conferencing software at your side.

3. Focus on feedback and mentorship 

Gen Z’s business values revolve around a genuine interest in achieving their best work. Half say they need constructive criticism in order to succeed, but one in three claims they are more likely to continue working for a supportive manager. 

Fulfilling both of those needs simultaneously demands a delicate balance, and a mentorship model achieves it perfectly. Employee recognition software, 360 degree feedback software and feedback and reviews software are a good way for staff and leaders to provide feedback. It can communicate baseline expectations and raise feedback frequency in a supportive ecosystem. 

4. Utilise communication media

According to a survey, 65% of Gen Z prefers text-based communication over real-world conversation, but other surveys paint a different picture. A Yello study found that half of the digital generation prefers face-to-face connections. Gen Z needs to build relationships with its leaders, and face-to-face communication is as valuable as it’s always been. With Gen Z in the workplace, real-world channels need an open-door policy that encourages feedback, particularly about distressing situations like workplace harassment.

A Workforce Institute survey found that almost half of Gen Z employees want their leaders to hear their ideas and value their views. They are, in other words, not shy to share — a tendency that business leaders need to harness. Your communications technology should open up your channels of communication to ensure that the new generation has plenty of opportunities to share its skills.

5. Recognise the importance of social values

Gen Z’s values have been shaped by the Millennials who came before them, so they are socially aware and have strong principles so, in a sense, the easiest way to inspire Gen Z in the workplace is to give them the power to do their jobs well. 

They need authentic connections with brands and managers. Their loyalty is at a premium, as is work-life balance. It’s no wonder, then, that remote work schedules are becoming increasingly common. As the pandemic marches on, that trend is racing forward even faster. Businesses with remote workers have a 25% lower staff turnover rate. 

75% of employees would be more likely to stay with their current employer if they were allowed to work flexible hours. Collaboration tools are rising to that challenge, with performance monitoring tools following closely behind. That comes with new security demands. 

The youngest generation is looking for work that contributes to its desire to excel so discipline-focused boomer tactics just won’t do. Today’s employers must provide an opportunity for self-actualisation. Give them the power to raise your profits, and you give them work satisfaction. Your business is Gen Z’s opportunity to excel, and that can have a profound effect on your bottom line.

Looking for online collaboration software? Check out our catalogue.

Firma digitale: cos’è e come crearne una

Firma Digitale cos'è

Firma Digitale cos'è

Le firme digitali esistono già da un po’ di tempo, tuttavia, è solo recentemente che hanno iniziato a prendere piede. Numerose aziende, sia di piccole che di grandi dimensioni, hanno infatti scoperto l’utilità dell’impiego dei software per firma digitale negli ambiti più disparati, dalla firma di report o l’assegnazione di nomi digitali a contratti fino agli approvvigionamenti aziendali più importanti. 

Nel presente articolo scoprirai quali sono i vantaggi offerti da una firma digitale, otterrai informazioni su come crearne una per la tua azienda ed infine troverai esempi di programmi per firma digitale disponibili sul mercato.

L’impiego delle firme digitali in un mondo socialmente distanziato

La pandemia globale ha modificato per sempre il modo in cui alcune aziende conducono i propri affari: anche in seguito all’allentamento delle restrizioni previste dal lockdown, per molte imprese le nuove modalità imposte dal Covid-19 continuano a rappresentare una realtà.

Ovviamente le interazioni faccia a faccia dovranno essere inevitabilmente mantenute per alcuni aspetti commerciali. Tuttavia, a causa del cambiamento della vita lavorativa di moltissime persone a livello mondiale, le firme autografe verranno sempre più frequentemente sostituite dalle firme digitali, dalle firme elettroniche e dagli ID digitali.

Ad esempio, in Canada è stata recentemente approvata una legge per autorizzare l’impiego della firma elettronica in numerosi contesti in sostituzione di quella autografa.

In gran parte del Regno Unito, solo alcuni tipi di documenti, come ad esempio quelli legati al catasto, devono essere firmati di persona. Per quanto riguarda il commercio e le transazioni quotidiane, invece, le firme digitali sono considerate valide quanto quelle di persona.

Nella realtà italiana, il sistema SPID (Sistema Pubblico di Identità Digitale), introdotto dal Governo nel 2016 e attivabile tramite firma elettronica per consentire ai cittadini di accedere ai servizi online della Pubblica Amministrazione, ha registrato un aumento esponenziale del numero di registrazioni in seguito al lockdown.

Il distanziamento sociale ha sicuramente fomentato l’adozione delle firme digitali. E poiché la comunicazione elettronica è virtualmente istantanea, sia le PMI che le aziende di grandi dimensioni hanno compreso l’importanza delle firme digitali in sostituzione di quelle autografe di documenti fisici, ottenendone pertanto notevoli risparmi sia in termini di costo che di tempo.

In altre parole, le firme digitali hanno permesso un notevole potenziamento dell’efficienza di numerose aziende. Sarà quindi improbabile un ritorno alle modalità in uso prima del distanziamento sociale.

Come funziona una firma digitale?

Come indicato in precedenza, le firme digitali rappresentano la versione elettronica delle firme autografe. Analogamente a quanto avverrebbe in un contesto reale, nell’ambito digitale consentono l’autenticazione di un firmatario autorizzato o di un’autorità di certificazione, garantendo pertanto l’autenticità della firma anche quando non si tratta di file PDF o di documenti Word.

Di fatti, le firme digitali garantiscono flussi di lavoro più efficienti nel caso, ad esempio, dei processi di registrazione dei clienti in quanto non richiedono la stampa o la pubblicazione di documenti cartacei.

Possono essere aggiunte a moduli o contratti come sezioni singole (con una riga o un campo appositi per la firma) e possono essere addirittura automatizzate per semplificarne l’utilizzo nel caso in cui siano richieste firme multiple.

Inoltre, alcuni sistemi software per la firma digitale sono in grado di generare log indicanti la data e i firmatari di un documento.

Garantiscono infine la corretta certificazione dei contratti mediante il posizionamento della firma negli appositi spazi all’interno dei documenti.

I metodi di verifica digitale consentono inoltre di analizzare l’autenticità del firmatario, rappresentando pertanto un efficace strumento di protezione dalle frodi.

Alcuni sistemi di autenticazione si avvalgono di tecnologie estremamente moderne di firma digitale, come ad esempio la verifica via e-mail, l’autenticazione a due fattori mediante codice PIN inviato a un telefono cellulare o i dati di geolocalizzazione.

Alcune app mobili per firma digitale si servono di documenti PDF generati automaticamente a partire da documenti cartacei, a cui il firmatario può aggiungere la propria firma in formato digitale. Si tratta di un metodo eccellente nel caso di forza lavoro dispersa o quando gli accordi contrattuali devono essere presi di persona.

Sul mercato sono presenti metodi di crittografia estremamente avanzati in grado di garantire la privacy delle firme digitali, mantenendole lontane da occhi indiscreti. Alcuni di questi metodi si avvalgono di dispositivi Bluetooth per verificare l’effettiva autenticità del firmatario, consentendone l’autenticazione anche nel caso in cui non siano presenti altre persone. 

Un altro metodo ampiamente adottato per verificare la data e la modalità di firma di un documento consiste nell’utilizzo di blockchain, le quali garantiscono, ad esempio, che i documenti non vengano fraudolentemente retrodatati.

Come fare quindi per creare una firma digitale?

Sia per le aziende di grandi dimensioni che per le PMI, il processo di creazione di un proprio software per firma digitale può risultare estremamente dispendioso sia in termini di costo che di tempo, soprattutto per quanto riguarda le misure di sicurezza da adottare.

Fortunatamente, sul mercato sono presenti numerosi pacchetti software per firma digitale di alta qualità sviluppati appositamente come soluzioni complete per le imprese che desiderano trarne vantaggio.

La scelta dell’app di firma digitale adatta alle esigenze specifiche della tua azienda non rappresenta di certo un compito facile. Per questo motivo, la pagina di Capterra sui programmi per firma digitale ti fornisce un elenco dei principali pacchetti software presenti sul mercato e le relative valutazioni.

La pagina contiene informazioni sui diversi pacchetti software per firma digitale, tra cui DocuSignPandaDoc ed eFileCabinet (*vedi nota al termine dell’articolo). Si tratta di pacchetti software con funzionalità diverse, da quelli indicati per la documentazione legale all’interno di una determinata giurisdizione alle app basate su cloud o contenenti opzioni per la personalizzazione.

Tieni presente che non tutte le aziende avranno gli stessi requisiti per quanto riguarda l’adozione di un software per firma digitale. Alcune di esse necessiteranno soltanto di un paio di firmatari elettronici, mentre altre, soprattutto quelle dedicate al settore Business to Consumer, potrebbero aver bisogno di gestire un numero nettamente superiore di firme elettroniche. Capterra propone un elenco di programmi in grado di soddisfare ogni tipo di esigenza aziendale e i prezzi variano in base alle funzionalità offerte.

Se ancora non hai le idee chiare su quale sia il pacchetto software che meglio si adatta alle tue esigenze aziendali, ti consigliamo di sceglierne uno con periodo di prova gratuito, in modo da poterne valutare le funzionalità ed effettuare la tua scelta d’acquisto in un secondo momento.

Vuoi saperne di più? Consulta il nostro catalogo di software per firma digitale per scoprire altri prodotti.

*Nota: i software citati in questo articolo sono stati scelti a titolo di esempio in base ai seguenti criteri:

  • Il maggior numero di recensioni su Capterra.it
  • Voto 4+ su Capterra.it