Festive wish list when buying gifts from SMEs this Christmas

CUSTOMERS across Britain have revealed an invaluable list of key qualities they look for in a small business before they decide whether to shop with them or not at Christmas. Most important to more than half of all potential buyers are positive online reviews (51%), followed by an easy-to-use online payment process (48%), good online customer service such as via email and instant messaging (32%), and a professional website (31%).

A social media presence with regular content mattered to only 10% of people who took part in the piece of research for Vodafone. More than half of those questioned said they would buy from a small business because supporting one makes them feel good (55%), while 48% thought the festive season was the perfect time to do so and 38% felt they would get a better service from a small business if they had to return a gift.

To address such issues, last year Vodafone Business extended business.connected, its partnership with leading small business community platform Enterprise Nation. Aimed at start-ups and small firms, the programme offers a variety of free online training courses, mentoring and workshops to help SMEs maximise business opportunities online, adopt new technology, mitigate cyber-attacks and meet with other like-minded individuals.

With recent research showing that almost two thirds of UK adults plan on cutting back on spending this Christmas, it is even more essential that small businesses are doing all they can to convert shoppers this festive season.

The research is revealed as Vodafone announces it has helped two million digitally excluded people and businesses cross the digital divide as part of its everyone.connected initiative. Working with partners including The Trussell Trust and Good Things Foundation, Vodafone has pledged to help four million people and businesses cross the digital divide by the end of 2025.

The poll of 2,000 adults also found the biggest turn-offs to buying from a small business for customers were bad online reviews (41%), a difficult payment process (32%), lack of customer support (27%) and not having a website (26%).

Through Vodafone’s everyone.connected campaign, the business is committed to tackling digital exclusion by helping four million people and businesses cross the digital divide by 2025. This includes a range of partnerships and initiatives to help give more people the connectivity and skills they need to stay connected and participate fully in an increasingly digital society.

As part of the proposed merger with Three UK, Vodafone has committed to retaining all current measures to support vulnerable customers, including social tariffs and digital inclusion campaigns.