online sales

Over the past year, retailers across all categories have had to adjust how everyday business operations are run. To better understand how small businesses are adapting, Chase Ink conducted a survey asking small business owners what changes they have made to overcome the new challenges presented by the pandemic.

Notably, 64 percent of small business owners said that the changes they have made this year will continue into 2021.

“We wanted to truly understand what business owners’ needs are right now given the unique and challenging environment they are facing,” said Megan Chandler, executive director at Chase Ink. “In knowing that business owners, and particularly women business owners, are now more focused on e-commerce, we’ve just expanded our Pay Yourself Back offer so that Chase Ink cardmembers can redeem points to get 25 percent more value across shipping and select advertising expenses. We know our customers are using these categories more frequently to support e-commerce activities for their businesses and are committed to supporting them in achieving their business goals.”

Chase Ink

Chase Ink.  Courtesy Image.

The changes were largely a movement toward becoming more digital. While 35 percent of small business owners said that the pandemic would have forced their business to close without e-commerce, 19 percent said they began selling products online or shipping to customers for the first time in 2020.

Overall, 44 percent of small business owners who sell products or services online has seen an increase in e-commerce sales with an average of 37 percent since 2019.

At the same time, 48 percent of small business owners said social media has become more important than ever. Almost a quarter of small business owners began promoting their company through digital advertising for the first time this year and reported that after shipping related costs, the majority of this year’s spending expense increase has come from increased spend on social media advertising, e-commerce platforms, and search engine advertising.

Of small business owners who use paid search advertising, 52 percent said they have seen new customers, 39 percent have had new leads or inquiries, and 36 percent said they have experienced recognition of their business. Moreover, 62 percent said they anticipate advertising on social media to drive sales in 2021 and 52 percent anticipate paid search engine advertising in 2021 to drive sales.

Chase Ink.

Chase Ink.  Courtesy Image.

The report also looked at Women small business owners specifically.

“Based on conversations with our customers, we’ve seen remarkable growth among women business owners operating e-commerce companies or leveraging e-commerce as part of their overall strategy,” said Chandler. “The fact that women who have seen a boost in e-commerce sales are seeing a 36 percent average overall increase is truly remarkable and really speaks to this group’s business savvy and ability to succeed under challenging circumstances.”

To help businesses, Chase has expanded its Pay Yourself Back program to Ink Business Preferred and Ink Business Plus cardmembers to allow members to redeem points and receive more value across shipping and select advertising expenses.

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