Australian shoppers would shop more often with small businesses if they had better marketing, better quality offerings and a unique point of difference, new research from Couriers Please indicates. 

Despite small to medium (SME) businesses making up approximately 98% of all Australian businesses, the research, which consulted a representative panel of 1021 Australians, found that consumers are inadequately supporting SMEs in the retail space. 

The research found that 54% of respondents spend less than 20% of their total shopping funds at small or independent retailers. 

Only 11% spend 60% or more at small retailers. 

When it comes to what would encourage Aussies to shop with small retailers, 31% said that they need to be made more aware of small retailers and what they offer, 21% indicated that they would shop with a small retailer if they had a unique offering and 19% said that SMEs would need to offer better quality than the major retailers. 

Couriers Please spokesperson Jessica Ip said that small retailers can encourage consumers to shop with them by introducing or highlighting sustainable, ethical or environmentally-friendly initiatives. 

"One of the downfalls of a small business is their inability to absorb the cost of free shipping and free returns, which larger retailers can offer – often making it more attractive for consumers to shop with them.

"Free shipping is an expectation many shoppers have and it’s here to stay, however retailers who don’t offer free shipping will need to draw on other attributes of their business to entice customers for the sale.

"For instance, we’re seeing more consumers shop ethically sourced goods or purchase from retailers who are environmentally conscious. Retailers that cater to this may have the chance against the larger enterprises, who might struggle to establish such programs quickly," she said. 

Ip added that the proposed Business Growth Fund will help small, start-up retailers gain an edge over their large competitors. 

"The Government’s plans for the Business Growth Fund, bears good news for start-up retailers if it goes ahead, as it will help provide the capital injection needed to fund their growth – a major challenge for most SMEs," she said. 

Source: Couriers Please 

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