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Consumer Poll Indicates Negative Sentiment Toward Retail Giants, Customer Experience Key for SMBs to Gain Loyalty

According to new data released from ActiveCampaign, the leader in Customer Experience Automation (CXA), 60% of consumers indicate negative sentiment toward retail giants, jumping to 69% of Gen Z and 51% of Boomers—a huge opportunity for SMBs to gain market share. However, the data revealed that SMBs struggle to stay top of mind for consumers, especially when many sell across multiple marketplaces and need to make sure their operations are connected. In fact, 30% of consumers said one of their biggest deterrents from shopping at small businesses over Amazon is that those businesses are not top of mind for them. Additionally, only 20% of people shopping on Amazon shop from the ‘small business’ storefront, proving that marketplaces aren’t always the place for SMBs to thrive. Instead, the small business customer experience needs to capitalize on touchpoints and interactions across channels to reach more people, engage new leads and retain existing customers. For both B2C and B2B businesses, 1:1 experiences at scale are the differentiator for SMBs and the key to getting ahead this holiday season.

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“Amazon doesn’t cater to the creator market. For small businesses that are product-based and creator-made, I don’t know any personally that sell on Amazon”

Because of this negative sentiment toward the largest retail players in the game, it makes sense that 84% of consumers plan to shop small during the holidays. However, improving the small business customer experience should be the focus, not just a temporary boost in sales due to the holidays. While consumers noted they plan to support SMBs, they also noted that inflation impacts their ability to do so. In fact, 88% said higher prices are one of their top three barriers to doing so, with 69% selecting it as their number one barrier. To end this year strong and continue to grow, entrepreneurs report CX is their focus to gaining long-term loyalty.

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Additional findings from ActiveCampaign’s retail sentiment report

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  • SMBs should be targeting Gen Z and millennials for holiday shopping: 40% of Gen Z and 32% of millennials said they prioritize shopping from small businesses for their holiday purchases and other special occasions, such as birthdays. However, instead of sending customers generic happy birthday emails and 10% off coupons, SMBs should try adding another layer of personalization, such as incorporating care recommendations to previously purchased items or those in their cart. This shows the business actually knows who that customer is.
  • Price isn’t always queen, 1:1 relationships still win: Nearly 60% of consumers said they’d be willing to pay more for a small business product as opposed to the lowest price. SMBs should keep in mind that consumers have an appetite for bespoke products, but only if the experience overrides the convenience of retail giants.
  • Consumers are on the hunt for small businesses to engage with: 87% of consumers have shopped with at least one new small business in the past 2 years, confirming those emerging from the pandemic have a strong chance of gaining new loyalty. To ensure businesses stay top of mind for consumers, they need to connect with new and existing customers across all channels, no matter where they engage with them first.

Expert supporting quotes on how SMBs can grow through CXA

“ActiveCampaign was founded to help businesses of all sizes grow, and that same mission holds true today,” said Jason VandeBoom, founder and CEO of ActiveCampaign. “We’ve democratized access to technology that was once reserved for the largest of companies. Now, the playing field is leveled for solopreneurs and medium-size businesses alike. We will continue to listen to our customers’ needs and improve our technology to help even more businesses grow in the future.”

“Amazon doesn’t cater to the creator market. For small businesses that are product-based and creator-made, I don’t know any personally that sell on Amazon,” said Justine BaMaung, co-founder of etchible, an ActiveCampaign customer. “Along with our direct website, we’ve found selling in person is really successful. When you’re first starting out, local markets are a great way to get instant feedback on your product, determine your product fit, and learn more about your buyers. With ActiveCampaign, I’m able to take the information I receive across all channels and create 1:1 experiences for our customers at scale. This saves time and money and helps us continue to grow.”

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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