An SMB is a small or medium-sized business, which has from 10 to 500 employees, depending on who you ask. While SMBs may be small, their impact is huge.
- There are 27.6 million small businesses in the US
- They account for 54% of all US sales
- 35.9% are owned by women
They're the businesses in your neighborhood or town. Like that mom-and-pop stationery store where you buy birthday cards, the fast-food franchise where you pick up dinner on your way home, your local pizza joint, or your dentist. You'll find Clover merchants in every US state and across the UK.
The best way to identify what merchants need is to talk to real merchants. Don’t be shy about stopping by to chat with the owner or employees at your favorite cafe or retail store, or at your dry cleaner or the salon where you get your hair cut.
Find out what it takes to run their business, and what they want to make it better. Here are some questions to get started:
- What’s your biggest headache?
- What takes up too much of your time?
- What do you wish you could do more easily?
- What would help you serve your customers better?
- What do you wish you could fix about your current system, whether it is a computerized POS system or a paper notebook?
These conversations may spark some ideas about what merchants need. And, here are some needs we have heard from the field. These needs were reported by all types of merchants:
- In-house accounts: for frequent individual and business customers; merchant keeps a tally and charges or bills at the end of a time period
- Customer app: prompts customers to provide contact info, fields for notes and other important info for customer engagement and marketing, combine multiple entries
- Visual charts for reporting
- Reporting by device
Build an app that is fast, easy to use, and reliable
Imagine a variety of situations where businesses need to serve many customers in a short time.
- Restaurants have intense periods of service: breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner
- Seasonal rushes affect restaurants and retail: holiday shopping, Black Friday, Halloween (costume shops), Valentine’s day (flower shops)
- Game or event-related crunch periods at a stadium or concert hall: intermission or pre-/post-game
The key is to complete these transactions smoothly and correctly. In other words, to maximize throughput, (more transactions = more money,) without increasing the risk of errors, because they can be very expensive.
- Errors can cause a bad customer experience, and the impact of negative word-of-mouth and social media can be high.
- It can take time to correct an error — for example, if a customer requires a refund.
- When it comes time to reporting, it can take business owners and their accountants a lot of effort to identify the cause of errors and correct them.
Build an app that better manages their backend
Merchants want to trust that the data that shows up in reporting is correct, and easy to understand.
Build an app that increases customer engagement
Merchants want to spend less time taking care of back-office administrative tasks–like payroll, inventory-ordering and taxes–and more time connecting with their customers. This could include being able to recognize and reward loyal customers, reaching out to the regulars with special offers, or having an easy way to make a recommendation (like a great 2-for-1 discount.)