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Man holding pencil with pad and laptop Man holding pencil with pad and laptop
Pouring a coffee in a cafe

SHOPPERS STAY LOCAL

Our new report has found that since the pandemic began, nearly half of the country has made a conscious effort to shop local, with many also dining or taking out food from local restaurants. As the world begins to go back to normal, this trend doesn’t look to be stopping, with more than half of people planning to continue supporting local businesses.

As customers keep coming back, many small businesses have introduced new technology to keep their customer base happy, with upgraded websites, new contactless payment options and online booking systems topping the list of technology upgrades made by small business owners. But it’s not just customer facing technology – nearly half of small businesses have installed a smart meter to help them keep track of their energy bills.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

As we look ahead to the future, it’s not just spending customers are thinking about – it’s sustainability. Our research found that nearly half of customers are more likely to visit a business that cares about being sustainable. Businesses have been considering their eco-credentials when making tech upgrades, and getting their small business fit for the future. Nearly half of small businesses are now smart meter users, with 1 in 10 installing a smart meter since the start of the pandemic and a further 1 in 4 saying they have either applied for one, or plan to get one.

Smart meters aren’t just good for the environment – of the small business owners who’ve had one installed, three quarters say they’re now more conscious about their businesses’ energy usage which has led to an average estimated monthly utility bill saving of £32.80 - that’s a huge £394 a year!

Jason Bradbury for Smart Energy GB

JASON’S TOP TIPS

To help small businesses meet the demands of the upcoming summer of spending, Smart Energy GB have partnered with Small Business Britain and The Gadget Show’s Jason Bradbury to find out how embracing tech upgrades, especially those that can help make your business safer and more sustainable, will ensure they’re ready for the busy months ahead.

Jason says: “This pandemic has shown that embracing technology can be really good for business. Many tech upgrades come at no or very little cost and not only make businesses more efficient but also more sustainable.”

  1. Go contactless

    Customers rarely carry cash now and with contactless payment limits having been raised during lockdown, paying with a tap has never been easier. It’s not just convenient for consumers - contactless payments can help reduce the risk associated with handling cash and cut down on your admin time.

  2. Upgrade your business broadband

    Slow and unreliable Wi-Fi is the last thing you need when trying to accept bookings or take payments (particularly outdoors) so making sure you have a speedy connection can really boost your business

  3. Use the cloud

    Migrating to cloud software doesn’t just reduce the backlog of paperwork – it makes it easier for you to access business critical management systems on the go, and what’s more it can lower your businesses vulnerability to cyber-attacks.

  4. Make sure your website is mobile friendly

    Google algorithms prioritise mobile-friendly websites so make sure you’re giving you page a chance and streamlining it for mobile and tablet tech. With so many consumers now discovering businesses via their phones, this has never been more important.

  5. Find out if your business is eligible for a smart meter

    A smart meter puts you in control of your energy usage. Automated, accurate bills mean you only pay for the energy you use.

  1. Stay plugged into digital support

    Make the most of all the free help and advice out there to keep on top of new digital trends and updates, and see digital skills as a core business muscle that you need to carry on training and flexing.

Smart meters are available for businesses and installations are now taking place across Great Britain. Find everything you need to know about how to request a smart meter for your small business with our step-by-step guide.