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Are SMEs losing the battle for mobile customers?

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Some 37 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses do not have a website and 80 per cent of businesses who have one did not optimise it for viewing on mobiles. These numbers come from digital services providers hibu plc, formerly Yell Group plc, who have warned that smaller businesses are letting large enterprises win the battle for mobile customers.

The research shows that 37 per cent of small and medium businesses do not have a website, while satisfaction levels with current websites are low: only 35 per cent of SMEs with a website reported they are satisfied with it. By contrast, according to the Office for National Statistics, 67 per cent of adults in Great Britain research products and services online, and the same proportion had bought goods and services via the internet in the last year.

The picture is similar when it comes to mobile. 88 per cent of SMEs with a website say it is not optimised for viewing on mobiles or tablets. This is despite the fact that 51 per cent of adults in Great Britain access the internet via mobile, 85 per cent of UK smartphone users have searched for local information and 81 per cent of these took action as a result. Last year, mobile accounted for 12 per cent of total e-tail sales (£7.5bn) – and sales via mobile doubled between Q1 and Q4.

Looking forward, it is predicted that the UK online retail market will grow by 110 per cent in the next decade, reaching £123bn by 2020.

Hopefully, SMEs are beginning to focus sharply on m-commerce – because they certainly are not working on their online presence. Among those planning on getting a website in the near future, 15 per cent say they don’t have one already because they don’t believe a website is a priority in the current economic climate. Over a quarter of SMEs with a website think it doesn’t generate enough traffic or valuable leads, while over a fifth of SMEs with a website think it is too basic.

Richard Hanscott, CEO of hibu in the UK, said: “In business, you need to be where your customers are. Increasingly, customers are online and using smartphones and tablets to find and purchase products locally. Historically, SMEs have not had access to the necessary tools to target those customers.

“They are also time-poor, lacking in IT resource and some are even a little scared of the online and mobile worlds – that’s a huge wasted opportunity.”

hibu announced the launch of a new online store to help SMEs fight back against large enterprises in the battle for mobile customers, the hibu business store. The platform allows businesses to create mobile optimised online shops.

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