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It's 'extremely critical' for small businesses to have an online presence: VP of QuickBooks Commerce at Intuit

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Shilpa Reddy, VP of QuickBooks Commerce at Intuit, joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss Quickbook's Small Business Shopping Report.

Video transcript

- Welcome back. Well, a new report looks at the environment small businesses face as we start to emerge here, at least in the US, from the pandemic. Shilpa Reddy, VP of QuickBooks Commerce at Intuit, is here to discuss, along with Yahoo Finance's Dani Romero. Shilpa, thank you so much for being with us today. What are just some of the key takeaways that you found from the survey?

SHILPA REDDY: Yeah, so I think the first and foremost thing is, we wanted to understand what is the customer shopping trends as we are getting into the biggest holiday season of the year. The biggest takeaway for us, really, consumers are really looking to support small businesses this upcoming holiday season. 93% said that they wanted to support small businesses during holiday. And 48% are really likely to buy from new small businesses, moving away from the brand loyalty as well.

- I'm just wondering if you found any surprises in the report.

SHILPA REDDY: I think the big takeaway really for us, it was not a surprise, but a big takeaway is the push towards online. We are seeing large, at least close to 50% of our customers' consumers are shifting towards online, especially because of the lifestyle that they're used to during the pandemic. And that really opens up a huge opportunity for small businesses, both their openness to support small businesses, and also shifting towards online and trying new products and businesses.

- And to that point, I guess how important has it been for small businesses to move to the online space, especially during the pandemic and as we enter the holiday season?

SHILPA REDDY: Yeah, it is actually a big takeaway for us as well. So when we look at our consumer studies, there are three big reasons why consumers prefer moving to online. So they prefer convenience, especially with the lifestyle that they've seen over the last year and a half during pandemic. Second, selection and variety. More and more, in fact, it is more popular in millennials that they are looking for more variety in selection as it is.

And price affordability is a big takeaway as well. In fact, almost 50% of consumers have indicated that they have stopped purchasing from stores that did not have online presence. So shifting towards online shopping is coming as a big, big, big push in the upcoming holiday.

- And then so what does the future of small business look like? Because it seems to have grown exponentially, especially over the pandemic, right?

SHILPA REDDY: It totally is. So I think for small and medium businesses, I actually think this is a pretty interesting shift as well, because now consumers are moving from brand loyalty towards to wanting to try more variety, more small, medium businesses, which also means that they are trying online. So it is really extremely critical for small businesses to be able to present omnichannel.

So consumers are looking to buy both online, as well as on digital channels and physical channels. So being present in omnichannel is very, very important. And as it is when we look at online, just having a really highly functional website is important. We've also seen about 83% of consumers reporting they've had one or two issues when they were accessing online. So having a quality website, having transparency on the content that they sell. And more importantly, with the growth, as you rightly said, across so many different channels, social channels, marketplaces, and commerce platforms in the digital world, being present where the consumers are is very, very important for small businesses.

- Yeah, and I also wanted to touch on that point. I was reading in the report, why are consumers so inclined to shop local and in small business as well.

SHILPA REDDY: Yeah, you know, I think it is totally about relatability, right? So all of us know at least a small business owner. We are also finding that a small business owner that we know, someone in our friends and family. We also have very closely seen how small businesses are so foundational to the community. So consumers are really standing there to support small businesses and help them, especially during uncertain times.

- And are these small businesses looking at some of the macro factors? We got, for instance, a big jobs report today. We got the Fed decision last Wednesday. You know, that all kind of ties into business planning. If you have to borrow money, where are rates going, right? So is this a conversation that you're having with small businesses?

SHILPA REDDY: Yeah, it is. So the macro trends, both around the job market as well as supply chains, they're all pretty relevant for our small business consumers as well. And so as it is from a QuickBooks standpoint, we are very focused in helping small businesses. We're constantly evaluating the needs of our customers, and are looking for different products.

Through QuickBooks Commerce itself, we actually help customers stay ahead of the game. We are really helping them to sell across multiple channels, being omnichannel. And we're trying to help them with the inventory and having a single place where they're able to predict what the sales are, and manage their inventory accurately based on the supply chain needs as well.

And the broader offerings within QuickBooks as well, just looking at our capital offerings or our payroll offerings, it's just very relevant to provide that operational muscle for our businesses.

- Yeah, and as we enter the holiday season, you know, Shop Small Business is coming up-- Shop Small Business Saturday, excuse me, this month. How can consumers look for small businesses? What are the resources so that, as consumers, as we go into this holiday season, we can also help out in some way?

SHILPA REDDY: Yeah, in tandem to the shopping report and the survey that we did, we also published the Holiday Shopping Guide from QuickBooks. It actually helps consumers really identify small businesses, really to be able to discover for any purchases or gifts that they would want to give to their friends and family. So that's another resource that we have produced as part of QuickBooks' efforts.

- That has to have built-in advertising right there, because you're part of the community. So friends, family, everyone knows about the business. A lot of it is word of mouth. OK, Shilpa Reddy, VP of QuickBooks Commerce at Intuit, thank you so much for your time. And happy Diwali to you.

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