NEW DATA: Why Two-Thirds Of Small Merchants Struggle To Innovate

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) must possess a long list of attributes if they want to stay competitive in today’s day and age. To maintain their competitive edge, they must offer omnichannel features and innovative payment methods, among a host of other factors. That said, when it comes to building an innovation strategy, there’s no one size fits all, as indicated by research inside the inaugural Retail Innovation Readiness Index.

For most SMBs, necessity is the mother of invention. Seventy-seven percent of retailers told PYMNTS that innovation is key, and even necessary to drive sales, while 84.3 percent said they must innovate to stay competitive. Even large retailers, companies that presumably have greater brand recognition and a wider customer base than smaller competitors, said they wouldn’t survive without innovation 82 percent said it was necessary for continued success.

Furthermore, small businesses tend to value innovation insofar as it keeps customers coming back for more. Nearly 70 percent of small business owners told PYMNTS that they need to innovate to generate or enhance customer loyalty.

PYMNTS research also found that these innovations can come in a wide range of business areas or processes. For retailers, the key is to remain on the lookout for ways to improve or innovate on processes both big and small.

Other key takeaways from the inaugural Retail Innovation Readiness Index:

  • 49 percent of retailers believe innovation is imperative to improving business applications for back-office operations
  • 61.7 percent of retailers said they innovate in an effort to meet consumer demand
  • 52.5 percent of retailers said they are “extremely” or “very” ready for innovation

To find more insights on the state of retail innovation readiness, download the inaugural Index.

About The Index

The Retail Innovation Readiness Index, powered by AEVI, aims to offer a firsthand account of what drives retailers to invest in or forego certain innovations. PYMNTS surveyed more than 400 retailers across nine different sectors to gauge innovation readiness.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.