SalesTech Star

Consumer Expectations vs Retailers’ Reality: GoDaddy Surveys of Small Businesses and Consumers Show Disparity

91% of small business owners think they offer a convenient online experience, just 21% of consumers agree

Small businesses are losing potential customers because they lack the convenience Gen Z and Millennials expect, according to two surveys conducted by GoDaddy.

91% of 1,000 U.S. small business survey respondents feel they offer customers a convenient online experience. However, only 21% of consumers—and just 19% of Gen Z—feel that’s the case.

“Consumers are looking for convenience–small businesses not meeting these expectations are likely losing business.”

Overall, while small businesses identified Gen Z and Millennials as top target audiences, their current practices tend to cater more to older generations. But there’s still an opportunity for entrepreneurs to earn younger consumers’ business. 73% of Gen Z and 75% of Millennials say they would shop more at small businesses if they offered the same convenience as larger chain stores.

Here are the areas of convenience 1,000 consumers across the U.S. rated as top priorities and how small businesses are stacking up:

Ways to Pay

  • 73% of Gen Z and 83% of Millennials said “Buy Online, Pickup In-Store” is important to them, but only 1 in 3 (34%) small businesses offer it
  • 85% of Gen Z and 82% of Millennials said it is important for small businesses to accept contactless digital payments, yet 27% of small businesses do not accept digital wallet payments

Read More: Xero unveils ‘auto sales tax’ powered by Avalara making complicated tax calculations and reporting more seamless

Online Shopping

  • Unsurprisingly, 90% of consumers said it’s important small businesses offer free shipping, yet 2 in 5 small businesses (38%) do not offer free shipping
  • 89% of consumers said that it is important for small businesses to have a website, but 24% of businesses surveyed do not have one
  • 55% of Gen Z and 61% of Millennials said it’s very important they can make purchases directly from a business’s website, but nearly 3 in 10 (28%) small businesses do not have an online store
  • The majority of consumers (65%) said they’re more likely to purchase if they knew the personal story of the business, however 1 in 5 small businesses do not share their story

Social Media

  • The overwhelming majority of young consumers (80% of Gen Z and 75% of Millennials) said its important small businesses have storefronts linked to their social pages for easy shopping, but small businesses are primarily using their social accounts for brand awareness over sales—only 25% use social to sell physical products and 19% to sell digital products
  • 41% of Gen Z and 43% of Millennials have followed a brand on social media for a discount, but 47% of small businesses do not offer a discount code when someone follows their brand on social media

“Consumers are ultimately looking for convenience, and if small businesses aren’t meeting these expectations, they’re likely losing business,” said GoDaddy Trends Expert Amy Jennette. “GoDaddy offers cost-effective tools small businesses can use to create more modern and convenient experiences for their customers, like ‘buy online, pickup in-store,’ for instance. The most important thing is that small businesses are adapting as Gen Z and Millennial preferences evolve beyond what’s been the status quo.”

Read More: SalesTechStar Interview with Bob Moore, Co-Founder and CEO at Crossbeam

Although nearly all small businesses (91%) agreed it’s important to make sure their business is keeping up with tech innovations, they are not quite meeting the high expectations of an increasingly tech-savvy consumer base. And there are some stark differences across generational preferences that may be contributing to small businesses’ confusion around the convenient experiences their customers want.

When using a debit or credit card, a greater percentage of younger consumers said they preferred paying via Tap to Pay compared to older generations:

  • Gen Z – 50%
  • Millennials – 31%
  • Gen X – 23%
  • Boomers – 18%

When asked if it’s important that small businesses accept contactless digital payments:

  • Gen Z – 85% said it’s important
  • Millennial – 82% said it’s important
  • Gen X – 67% important / 33% not important
  • Boomers – 40% important / 60% said not important

When asked about the importance of being able to make purchases directly from a business’s website:

  • Gen Z – 55% said it’s very important
  • Millennials – 61% said it’s very important
  • Gen X – 50% said it’s very important
  • Boomers – 41% said it’s very important

When asked how important it is for small businesses to have storefronts linked to their social pages:

  • Gen Z – 80% said social storefronts are important
  • Millennial –75% said social storefronts are important
  • Gen X – 50% important / 50% not important
  • Boomer – 29% important / 71% not important

Moving into 2024, small businesses should aim to work smarter and lean on technology designed to make meeting these consumer preferences easier. GoDaddy helps entrepreneurs build their business online with domains and websites, AI-infused marketing tools and convenient ways to accept secure payments online and in-person.

Write in to psen@itechseries.com to learn more about our exclusive editorial packages and programs.