Small to medium enterprises in the retail industry regard social media as an important tool for their future growth, according to a new report.
The report – released today after SAP surveyed retailers and SMEs between April and May 2016 – indicated that all SME retailers use at least one social media channel, and three quarters (79 per cent) said digital technology as a whole helped them overcome ongoing business challenges.
Almost a third (29 per cent) of respondents used more than three social media channels – with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn being the most popular. Pinterest and YouTube rounded out the top five.
Meanwhile, 40 per cent of respondents utlised technology to reach new customers, 30 per cent said investing in digital technology was crucial for growth, while 13 per cent said it was used to improve customer experience.
“Every customer we engage with has an interest in social media,” SAP Anywhere general manager EJ Jackson said.
“The number using social media will grow exponentially as social selling becomes a critical business opportunity for retailers."
Jackson added that new technology could enabling retailers to get a complete picture of not only their business, but "every interaction with their customers".
"This means, at a touch of a button, then can understand and tailor their service to customer needs, which is critical in the global retail world we operate in," he said.
However, the report highlighted potential barriers to implementing digital technology, among them being cost of digital investment, concerns it would take up time and resources, and security.