Technology has enabled a seismic shift in consumer behaviour since March 2020 and driven lasting changes across all industries. As a result, digitalization is no longer a nice-to-have option for businesses. The pandemic has made it a matter of survival, and local businesses are no exception.
The pandemic played a historical role in advancing technology adoption by small and medium businesses (SMBs). A policy guide from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that more than 70 percent of SMBs intensified their digital technology use due to COVID-19.
There is a close link between local businesses and sustainable development. Because SMBs are by far the largest job creators and lifeline in any economy. The more vibrant the local business ecosystem in a country, the healthier is its economy.
However, SMBs are under increasing stress in unpredictable market conditions as many of the changes on digital front likely to be permanent even in a post-pandemic world. Further, as technologies are evolve rapidly, a CISCO survey finds 86 percent of small businesses strongly agree that “technology is changing the industry.”
At Vendasta, our core purpose has always been to drive local economies. Vendasta serves more than 60,000 channel partners, who in turn have more than 5.5 million SMB users. As an all-in-one platform for companies that provide digital solutions to SMBs, we have observed small businesses struggle with similar challenges, especially financial and skill related.
What are these challenges? And how critical they are for small and medium businesses? At Vendasta, we are always trying to understand the local businesses so that we can help our channel partners serve them better.
For instance, did you know that giving SMBs access to free tools results in increased engagement that grows over time, ultimately leads to greater paid product and service adoption? Or that it takes an average of 91 days for SMBs to upgrade, though for some solutions, the average is 31-38 days?
Get access to such exclusive analysis and data backed tips at Vendasta’s Conquer Local Connect event on December 9, as our COO Jacqueline Cook explains what’s preventing small businesses from adopting digital tools so we can help them overcome these barriers.
The Conquer Local Connect is our second virtual event in 2021 which is aimed to deliver value to our partners, prospects, and participants to make them gear up for the next year.
If you haven’t registered for Conquer Local Connect event yet, click here NOW!
Data backed tips
Despite the technological advancements, there remain several challenges for SMBs who need to adopt digital tools. The OECD finds that the digital chasm between smaller local businesses (with 10-49 employees) and larger ones has grown over the past decade. That chasm is affecting our local economies.
The OECD report notes that digitization “is an important driver of productivity growth, and in turn wage growth, [contributing] to increased inequalities among people, places and firms.”
The OECD report identifies three challenges for SMBs looking to adopt digital technology:
- Financial: SMBs can’t often get the funding they need to adopt digital tools.
- Infrastructure: They lack the physical infrastructure to support the tools.
- Internal skills: They don’t have the internal skills and expertise to use these tools effectively.
At Vendasta, we wanted to understand how much of a difference our initiatives made. And how removing some of those critical challenges underlined by OECD helped small businesses take to digital in the long run. We dove into the Vendasta Platform to understand SMB activity patterns, preferences, and needs.
We have captured the analysis in our report Lessons from the Digital Chasm. We hope the report will serve as a data-based, tactical guide for helping marketing agencies and other Vendasta partners understand SMB prospects, and enable their clients to adopt digital tools and succeed. With it, we aim to help our partners win new business so that we can keep our local economies vibrant.
Conquer Local Connect event on December 9 will see Cook launching the report, and give exclusive data-backed tips on the kind of challenges faced by SMBs in adopting digital tools, and how to overcome some of those barriers.
Though COVID-19 accelerated technology adoption, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have gradually evolved for many years. A 2019 survey by Deloitte found that SMBs embracing digital technology were three times more likely to experience revenue growth and were two times more profitable. In addition to streamlining processes and providing better communication between employees, customers, partners and suppliers, digital tools can help SMBs foster innovation, particularly in entering new markets and geographies. SMBs with a more advanced suite of digital tools reported using more innovative practices.
Digital transformation is critical for SMBs. Small businesses contribute to more than half the global GDP and employ two-thirds of the global workforce.
The pandemic has underlined the digital transformation mandate and small businesses need our help like never before in bridging this gap.
As Vendasta CEO Brendan King explained in our earlier blog on why Fostering Local and Building Ecosystems are Critical for Growth: “Local businesses are the backbone to the economy. As we become more of an information and technology society, there’s more opportunity for local businesses to be part of the larger growth story. Therefore, it’s more important than ever that we help local businesses to survive.”
So, stay tuned and Connect on December 9!