Benchmark Bytes: What Online Meeting Tools Do SMBs Use?

As part of the ritual of examining local commerce and SMB Saas strategies, Localogy goes right to the source: SMBs themselves. How do they feel about marketing and operational software? What features do they want? And how has their hunger changed during a global pandemic that has hit local businesses hardest?

Localogy’s upcoming Modern Commerce Monitor (MCM) wave 6.1 answers these and other questions across the SMB SaaS product set, which we preview in this Benchmark Bytes series. After the last installment examined SMBs’ Google My Business (GMB) adoption, we now switch gears to look at their use of online meeting tools.

Specifically, 64 percent use third-party scheduling and reservation tools such as Booksy and WellnessLiving. 46 percent use videoconferencing software such as Zoom or Skype. 15 percent use scheduling functionality in Google calendar and 8 percent use Google Meet (formerly Hangouts). These answers were given in Q4 2020.

Source: Localogy Modern Commerce Monitor, Wave 6.1. Full data set available to Localogy members.
What Does it All Mean?

Going a bit deeper, a few things jump out at us:

— Online scheduling and reservations software gets the highest response above, not surprisingly. Scheduling software continues to penetrate the SMB market as affordable SaaS pricing and strong ROI are clear.

— This trend was evident pre-pandemic but has since grown as some SMBs must fulfill services virtually (think: classes or consultations), which goes hand-in-hand with online scheduling.

— Beyond scheduling, the actual meeting software is something that is more correlated to Covid-era dynamics. There’s clear growth in SMBs who use Zoom and Skype to fulfill services virtually (when applicable).

— The use of Google products is surprisingly low in these results. Google’s play with all of its products (not just online scheduling & meetings) is an ecosystem approach to lock in SMBs through bundling.

— In that sense, any Google Workspace (formerly GSuite) subscribers are likely to use Google Meet, given that it’s bundled in. The same goes for advanced calendar functionality.

— This is what competing SMB SaaS players should look out for.

— But despite this concern, standalone meeting software providers such as Skype and Zoom are actually outperforming Google Meet according to these results.

— This is likely due to the marketing and product focus these players have achieved (especially Zoom), in creating a tool that is simpler (a big SMB SaaS success factor) and higher quality than Google Meet.

— The latter’s ongoing development isn’t as much of a priority for Google as much as Zoom’s focus on product evolution, which is one explanation for these survey results.

Time to Shine

Stepping back, online meetings, eCommerce and several areas of SMB adoption tracked by MCM continue to grow rapidly among SMBs.  SMB SaaS startups are correspondingly thriving with exit velocity, funding, and public-market performance. SMB SaaS is becoming a leading subsector of the broader SaaS universe.

Meanwhile, new SMB SaaS users shown in these survey results could represent permanent adopters — a concept that’s accelerated in the Covid era as SMBs are forced to accelerate their digital transformation. This sends them into the arms of SaaS providers to accomplish a range of operational and marketing functions.

We’ll return in the next installment to go deeper on other pandemic-driven areas of SMB technology adoption. That will include top goals and what types of SMBs are adopting. Let us know what additional insights jump out at you from the above data, and stay tuned for more breakdowns in our Benchmark Bytes series.

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