The UK’s small retailers plan to focus their spending on new technology in 2024, as they aim to double down on improving customer experience, according to research from American Express.
The survey of 253 UK small business owners found that 30% of retail and hospitality businesses will be investing in new technology, compared to 26% who plan to ramp up their sales and marketing activity. Part of this technology investment will see 24% looking to bolster their online sales capabilities.
The spending will be behind the plan for 34% of businesses to focus more on their customer experience in the coming year. Interestingly, 43% of those surveyed already bolstered their technology ahead of the ‘golden quarter’ to provide customers with a better experience.
“Investing in new technology unlocks operational efficiencies, frees up valuable resource and ultimately improves the customer experience. With more small merchants on our network than ever before, our focus at American Express is backing these businesses to help drive sales now and in the future,” said Dan Edelman, General Manager, UK Merchant Services at American Express.
Whether investing in technology or not, the vast majority of small business owners are upbeat about their 2024 growth prospects, with 89% expecting to see growth in the coming year and 93% confident about the future of their business.
However, many business owners also acknowledged that collaboration will be a key factor in achieving that growth. Three-quarters of those surveyed agreed that it’s important for small businesses to partner in order to navigate the economic climate, and this has seen collaboration increase in the past year according to 79%.