Big Box Retailers Not Biggest Concern of Small Business Owners This Holiday Season

ShopKeep Small Business Index reveals lack of EMV readiness,
competing small merchants and the economy keep small business owners up
at night

the cloud-based technology and business management solution used by more
than 20,000 independent merchants, today announced the release of its Q3
2015 ShopKeep Small Business Index (SSBI). The SSBI, which draws upon
insights gathered from 836 small business owners, reveals that contrary
to popular belief, competing with national retail and restaurant chains
is not the biggest worry this holiday season. Rather, the top concerns
for merchants are competing small businesses, changing EMV requirements
as well as the overall state of the economy and how it will impact
business during Q4 and into 2016.

Despite these looming concerns, small business owners are historically a
confident group, with the SSBI revealing that 76% are optimistic about
the upcoming holiday season. This is even 6% greater than the
year-over-year comparison from Q3 2014. Moreover, 62% of the merchants
surveyed are retailers, and among that group only 6% view Wal-Mart as a
competitor, 4% view Target as a competitor and 13% view as a
competitor, disproving popular belief that big box retailers and
e-commerce are the biggest threats to today’s independent retailers.
Across all merchants surveyed, 71% actually consider their main
competitors to be other local businesses.

The SSBI reveals that small business owners also have broader concerns
ranging from the state of the economy to inclement weather – factors
that have a pronounced impact on the day-to-day bottom line. To
compensate for these concerns, independent merchants are preparing for
the holiday season by streamlining their operations to mitigate revenue
loss. Key findings include:

  • Seventy-three percent of survey respondents stated that they will not
    be hiring seasonal employees
  • Thirty percent of small business owners will close on major holidays,
    including Black Friday.
  • Only 27% of respondents plan on extending their hours of operation
    during the holiday season to capitalize on the potential of additional
    sales. Forty-eight percent of respondents would not consider seasonal
    hours and 25% were still undecided.
  • Fifty percent of merchants surveyed expressed concern about inclement
    weather impacting sales – especially with last year’s record-breaking
    low temperatures
    still fresh in the mind of retailers.

The EMV deadline has been looming over the heads of independent
merchants for months now, but despite the EMV liability shift date
having already passed, the SSBI indicated that 40% of merchants are
still not prepared to accept chip cards. Over 25% of merchants surveyed
noted that they either will not be EMV-compliant or unsure if they will
be by the end of the year, suggesting that they are either taking a
wait-and-see approach prior to investing in new technology or that
further education is needed on fraud liability.

“Running a small business is not easy, making it almost impossible to
count the number of concerns that keep merchants up at night,” explains
ShopKeep president and CEO Norm Merritt. “Despite the myriad of issues,
it’s reassuring to see merchants continue to be very optimistic. At
ShopKeep our goal is to help merchants run smarter businesses and
ultimately make the optimism about the holiday season a reality.”

About ShopKeep

Everything ShopKeep does is about supporting growing and independent
businesses. Founded by a successful business owner who had a point of
sale system that was not meeting his needs, ShopKeep provides an
intuitive, secure, iPad-based point-of-sale system. ShopKeep empowers
growing business owners to run smarter businesses by optimizing
staffing, regulating inventory and accessing sales reports and customer
information on one seamless, cloud-based platform. ShopKeep already has
more than 20,000 registers in use at businesses in the United States and
Canada. Business owners can set-up their registers in minutes, accept
cash and credit cards with their choice of processor, view real-time
sales on their smartphone and easily track inventory and staff. Most
importantly, ShopKeep’s award-winning customer care team is available to
help 24/7 and provide a robust support network for growing business
owners. ShopKeep was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in New York.
Follow @ShopKeep
on Twitter, join the discussion on the ShopKeep
or visit
to learn more.


Ayesha Herian, 646-762-8790