Mary Meeker recently released her annual PowerPoint magnum opus on Internet Trends so we thought we’d pore over it to see which nuggets were most relevant to our coverage area — the small business cloud and the emerging SMB technology stack.
We found a few relevant items among the report’s 294 slides. There weren’t many stones left unturned in this report.
Digital Payments (Slide 18)
Citing data from a Visa report, Meeker makes the point that six of the last 10 consumer transactions survey respondents reported are now occurring digitally.
This is a very telling statistic that underscores a few themes central to the Tech Adoption Index. One is the notion that SMBs lag national brands in terms of delivering a modern, quality customer experience, at least as it related to technology adoption. And the closely related point that SMBs routinely lag consumers in terms of providing them with an experience in keeping with their use of technology.
Failing to keep pace with payments technology is one area where SMBs can lose business to big brands as well as newer small businesses that are born as cloud natives.
Messaging (Slide 22)
Meeker aggregated usage data reported by the leading messaging apps (Facebook, WeChat, What’s App and others) to make the point that use of messaging apps is exploding and has become the primary means of communicating for (and with) many consumers.
The message for SMBs is the same as it is with payments. Give consumers the experience they want, or they will choose to work with a business that will.
As with everything else related to technology and customers experience, small business are lagging in terms of the mode of communications that consumers prefer. Consumers want fewer phone calls and emails, more SMS and IM. The younger the consumer, the more this is the case. SMBs must keep pace with changes in messaging technology.
The SMB Tech Stack (Slides 51-56)
Meeker illustrates how companies are beginning to build stacks from the starting point of a single point solution. She cites Square, a company we often hold up as an example, noting its expansion from point of sale into payroll, lending, invoicing and analytics. Her perspective was around e-commerce, but the same logic applies to any number of stacks, from marketing to payments and finance to supply chain, IT and any other mission critical SMB application.
The underlying driver of this is the desire to drive higher customer yield and lower churn. And as Vendasta demonstrates in its new churn report, offering the full stack is clearly a churn buster, with clear lift on retention for each additional product sold.
Update: You can listed to our conversation about Mary Meeker’s findings in our debut episode of the Above the Cloud podcast.