Do you prefer spending your hard-earned cash with big or small businesses?

7 August 2013

shopping-trolleysNew research has been carried out to see why customers choose to shop with big or small businesses, and which they prefer.

The study, carried out by AXA business insurance, found that longer opening hours and price are the biggest factors why people shopped with bigger businesses. However, price is not necessarily the dealbreaker, as consumers are, on average, happy to pay between five and six per cent more when shopping from a smaller store.

So why pay more? Well, the customer service of smaller businesses is perceived to be better than big business, with 75% of respondents saying small businesses do customer service better than big business. Small businesses are also more likely to have a “real person” to deal with, a bugbear with bigger providers. Smaller businesses are also considered three times more likely to provide higher quality goods or services than larger competitors and four times more likely to treat their staff well.

However, despite all the above positives, the same research showed that more than half of consumers currently purchase either 'none' or a 'very small amount' of their shopping from small businesses. Over a five year period, the number of people shopping with small businesses has actually decreased, with only 15& saying the internet has positively influenced how much they buy from small businesses compared with five years ago.

Darrell Sansom, managing director at AXA said, “While much of this may come as no surprise to SMEs, we do think that there are some real positives for small business that come out of this research and also some areas where many small businesses could make themselves more competitive.”

Apart from opening hours, smaller businesses win on every other criterion other than price, and consumers even say they are prepared to pay more to shop with smaller businesses. Is there anything smaller business can do to increase their share of the market?

So we thought we’d ask you. Why not. So do you shop with smaller businesses in preference to big ones or is price/opening hours of paramount importance to you?


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