Strategic social media marketing, strong holiday season and sales growth key drivers for 2015 confidence
NEW YORK (January 28, 2015) – ShopKeep, the cloud-based technology provider with more than 16,000 registers in use by retail shops, restaurants, and other organizations, today announced the release of the Q4 2014 ShopKeep Small Business Index. The Q4 Index draws on insights gathered from a survey of 984 ShopKeep customers as well as fourth quarter same-store sales data to offer an analysis of the health of small businesses and an early outlook on the year to come for independent businesses in the United States, Canada and Guam.
Most notably, the survey results and same-store sales data reflect a period of growth and strong holiday sales. Eighty-three percent of respondents reported sales volume greater than or equal to third quarter sales, supporting the National Retail Federation’s findings that holiday retail sales hit their highest level since 2011. Strong third quarter sales fueled optimism for ShopKeep customers. Ninety-three percent of respondents expressed general optimism about their businesses going into Q1 and within that group, 64% expressed that they were very optimistic.
Other notable economic findings include:
- ShopKeep’s same-store sales data reflects a 12% year-over-year increase in the number of speciality food store transactions and a 19% year-over-year increase in transactions from specialty services such as non-profits, health care providers and auto shops
- Q4 2014 same-store sales figures reflect a 10% increase in the number of clothing store transactions compared to Q4 2013
- Looking at same-store sales figures from December 2013 compared to December 2014, ShopKeep measured an increase not only in the average transaction size per retailer, but also a 10% increase in total number of transactions across ShopKeep retailers.
Despite increased sales and continued optimism, a majority of respondents (63%) are concerned about the security of their customers’ credit and debit card data — a problem alleviated by ShopKeep’s card swiper with point-to-point encryption and its new NFC and chip card enabled card reader. Interestingly, when asked how their businesses will be affected by the switch to EMV in October 2015, 60% answered that they don’t believe it will impact their business.
“While increased holiday sales and optimism for the year to come speak volumes about the health of these growing businesses, significant payment technology changes are coming and those who fail to adapt could be negatively impacted,” commented ShopKeep president and co-CEO Norm Merritt. “While contactless payment abilities and chip cards will play a leading role in safeguarding customer credit and debit card information, continued education on the future of payments technology will be paramount in protecting consumers and merchants alike.”
In addition to economic outlook and security, this quarter’s survey also inquired about the most effective marketing strategies used by independent businesses. ShopKeep found that 90% of respondents manage their marketing in-house and consider social media to be the top driver of traffic to their businesses followed by their own websites.
Although business owners use a combination of social platforms, Facebook led as the platform of choice for social media marketing. Sixty-three percent of small business owners surveyed noted that they use Facebook, followed by just 13% who use Instagram. ShopKeep found that 83% of respondents use social media channels to share business news such as sales and promotion details. Small business owners also use social media to connect directly with the community and gather valuable customer feedback.
Everything ShopKeep does is about supporting growing and independent businesses. Founded by a successful business owner who had a point of sale system that was not meeting his needs, ShopKeep provides an intuitive, secure, iPad-based point-of-sale system. ShopKeep empowers growing business owners to run smarter businesses by optimizing staffing, regulating inventory and accessing sales reports and customer information on one seamless, cloud-based platform. ShopKeep already has more than 16,000 registers in use at businesses in the United States and Canada. Business owners can set-up their registers in minutes, accept cash and credit cards with their choice of processor, view real-time sales on their smartphone and easily track inventory and staff. Most importantly, ShopKeep’s award-winning customer care team is available to help 24/7 and provide a robust support network for growing business owners. ShopKeep was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in New York. Follow @ShopKeep on Twitter, join the discussion on the ShopKeep blog or visit www.shopkeep.com to learn more.