Technology can boost SME revenues and improve customer relations

According to a recent survey, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) no longer view technology as a threat. Rather, they see it is a tool to win over new customers and increase their revenues.

The Worldwide SMB Survey by IDC states that 80 per cent of SME retailers believe that change in the competitive environment is a good thing. The study, which was sponsored by SAP, also found that almost 33 per cent of SME retailers see the latest technology as a strategic and competitive tool.

Raymond Boggs and Greg Girard, analysts at IDC, are of the opinion that small and medium businesses are used to seeing successful innovation from startups and are ready to embrace it.

The report states that small and medium sized retail businesses that have been trading for a long time, started out when the technology available was unsophisticated. As a result, some have not been able to adapt to or cope with the technology that has since become available. However, there are others that are being innovative by introducing new products, services and even categories to increase revenues and attract new clients.

The IDC report states that merchandising in a new and innovative manner can benefit the small retailer tremendously, but many face challenges in leveraging the technology to boost the relationship with their customers and supply chain partners.

IDC analysts feel that while SME retailers can easily source products, just like large retailers, they face tough competition from omni-channel e-commerce stores who have lower overheads compared to traditional retailers. As a result, this is forcing some SMEs involved in retail to file for bankruptcy or shut up shop. Nonetheless, many SME retailers are looking to technology to boost cash flow and revenues while lowering their operating costs.

The IDC study found that nearly 80 per cent of SME retailers are ready to take the plunge and invest in new technology if they believe the investment will reap positive results.


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