Key Themes
To define the attitudes of small and mid-sized merchants regarding new technology solutions and how they incorporate those solutions into their businesses, Global Insights has designed Merchant Scope: a global study of small and mid-sized merchants leveraging both qualitative and quantitative research across four markets: Brazil, Canada, Germany and South Africa.

• The research uncovered a dramatic difference between smaller and larger merchants in their abilities to manage an online presence and an online business. It also demonstrated regional differences in technology inclusion, as well as an inhibiting factor based on employee size.

• The survey identified the two biggest barriers to adopting new technology were cost (46 percent) and a lack of know-how (31 percent). While other barriers such as data security and privacy worries are also concerns (27 percent), the issues of cost and lack of understanding loom largest.

• The gap between smaller-scale merchants and the domination of mega-retailers presents challenges for technology providers, banks and governments working with smaller merchants. But in identifying common goals and cooperation, these partners can develop solutions for smaller merchants to help them close that gap.

Fundamental marketing hurdles continue to be an issue
for small and mid-sized merchants.

Finding new customers is a major obstacle to success for small and mid-sized merchants. The data show that they not using a broad array of state-of-the art digital marketing tools, but continue to rely on traditional methods such as newspapers, and direct mail, giving a pass to the Internet or location-based marketing.

E-commerce remains minimal

Nearly 90% of small and mid-sized merchants have some type of online presence, yet only 20% use it to sell their products and services. Despite this, only 25% of small and mid-sized merchants see the lack of an online selling presence as a hurdle for their businesses. A better understanding of the value of eCommerce and the ease of integrating payments into it are major opportunities for the entire small and mid-sized merchant ecosystem.

Gaps exist between front office and back office
technologies among smaller businesses.

Half of small and mid-sized merchants have not integrated front and back-office technology and 40% are not satisfied with the integration they do have. Reasons range from the limited knowledge to achieve integration to a lack of finances to support systems integration. While having adopted many different applications (e.g. CRM, Inventory Control, Accounting, etc.), these applications are not communicating with each other, meaning existing technology is not fulfilling its potential to improve business.

POS systems are not being used to their data potential

Half of small and mid-sized merchants suggest that their POS system is not an issue for them, and don’t see accepting electronic payments as a challenge. However, they are not using the POS system as a source of consumer data. Small and mid-sized merchants should explore how they can access sales data they get from an electronic POS system. They can then discover the value of eCommerce, unlock the power of systems integration, and develop data-based targeted marketing for consumers.