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Customer service proves key to small business success

Two thirds of small retail and e-commerce businesses predict they will be in a strong trading position by spring 2018.

The latest survey by Censuswide has found that small businesses and start-ups in the retail sector are feeling positive about future trading conditions. 500 retail businesses were surveyed and two thirds expressed the opinion that their company will have grown to be in “a stronger position” by spring 2018.

The research, commissioned by Shutl, a London based technology start-up that connects online retailers with local same-day couriers, found that a third of business credited the development of smarter ways to deliver their products to clients as a key factor in increasing business success.

Jason Tavaria, Head of Shutl, said: “The results of this survey point to buoyant small and medium-sized retailers, who are increasingly using technology and smarter selling options to compete against the bigger retailers with larger budgets.”

Despite the overarching positive findings, 73% of companies highlighted competition from larger online retailers as the biggest threat to the future success of their business. 59% reported that the wider delivery and distribution networks used by larger retailers gives them an unfair advantage.

Personalised customer service is something that 70% of the small business owners surveyed believe gives them a competitive edge over larger companies. A further 62% stated that a unique brand experience would win out against larger retailers that have had a poor track record in this area in the past.

Continuing to deliver better value through customer service was a key aspect for many of the businesses and 34% of UK small retailers felt that an improvement in e-commerce technology and delivery options would boost their chances of competing effectively with the larger retailers.

Tavaria explained: “Today delivery is no longer such a big USP. Carriers have become increasingly savvy about the small and medium enterprise group as a compelling audience, and in turn costs have reduced and technology is supporting an infrastructure that is dynamic and cost effective. Thus, the continuing technological innovation to support small and medium enterprises is making it easier, and more cost effective for this group to compete.”

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