BIA/Kelsey Report: SMBs in Retail Loving SEO, Email, and Mobile as Means to Engage Consumers

BIA Kelsey Report SMBs in Retail Loving SEO, Email, and Mobile as Means to Engage ConsumersSmall- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in retail now say SEM/SEO and email marketing are top priorities for advertising and marketing.

In addition, interest in mobile marketing is growing among SMBs. The numbers are modest to date (about 11.4 percent), but it’s destined to increase as these businesses report being very content with the performance of their mobile outreach.

Those observations and more are contained in a new report by BIA/Kelsey. “Retail SMBs – Advertising & Marketing Trends” also examines retailer use of digital customer lists, CRM, loyalty programs, social media, and mobile platforms for customer engagement and retention.

In any event, digital is where it’s at for SMBs working the retail sector.

“Retail SMBs surveyed reported they planned to spend 43 percent of their total ad budget on digital media in the 12 months following the survey,” noted BIA/Kelsey in a recent release. “This puts retail SMBs at the same high level of digital allocation as franchise SMBs, which reported plans to spend 42.9 percent of total ad budgets on digital.”

The report is extrapolated from data in BIA/Kelsey’s “Local Commerce Monitor” survey of retail shops, stores, and hair salons.

“Going forward, retail SMBs register an interest in many advertising and marketing services, particularly ecommerce services, online satisfaction surveys, email marketing, online leads management and business software in general,” said Steve Marshall, director of research at BIA/Kelsey. “We believe this is consistent with their solid base in email marketing – they’ve got the foundation in place, and now they’re ready to add more sophisticated and powerful services.”

Customer lists are valuable to SMBs. According to the report, retail SMBs are dedicated to maintaining them, with 71.1 percent reporting they have maintained a customer list for over a year and 61.1 percent indicating they maintain their lists in electronic form.

Another takeaway from the report is the importance of customer loyalty programs to SMB marketing plans.

“Retail SMBs expect 34.7 percent of their total business will be transacted via sales or other promotions in the 12 months following the survey, many of which are tied to loyalty programs,” notes the report. “Among those surveyed, 43.4 percent of retail SMBs currently have a loyalty program and another 22 percent said they are likely to add one in the 12 months following the survey.”

These and other trends will form the focus of BIA/Kelsey’s SMB conference set for September 29-30 in Denver. Conference info is available here.