UK business landscape: SMEs

Over half of SME’s are being left behind by the digital revolution, allowing more tech-savvy and large retail chains competitors to win new customers at their expense, consistent with a study by Ironmongery Direct.

10,000 business owners participated in the study to look at the marketing habits of trade businesses across the UK. The findings show a transparent split between those companies investing in growing their business using digital marketing, developing effective websites and harnessing the potential of Google ads and social media, and other less technologically involved businesses.

59% of companies admitted that they currently spend nothing marketing their business online, with slightly below half this number (25%) eager to harness digital marketing but admitting that they didn’t know where to start out.

A hardcore of digital deniers (13%), were insistent that they didn’t need anything quite word-of-mouth to usher in new work. In contrast, 33% of companies are using digital sales channels to grow their customer base, spending on the average between 1 and 5% of their annual turnover on digital. A smaller number were also using social media as a tool to usher in new business. the foremost popular as Facebook (12%) followed by Twitter (5%).

The results of the study clearly show the utter importance of digital sales channels for SME’s, but also show that a lot of feels they’re being left behind as customers use digital media more and more to seek out tradespeople with an honest reputation.

Being a small business or solopreneur naturally limits opportunities and we (JO1N) are here to assist and tackle the issue to allow smaller companies to continue with the changes and winning client, e.g., making that extra transaction happen.

Why are less tech savvy merchant left behind?

  • Market conservatism. We truly believe it can’t be really described in any other word as innovation. Historically UK lending market has been quite conservative. However, in recent year’s companies like Klarna and Clearpay suddenly appeared on the UK market and took significant market share. One of the obvious answers is that the UK market is historically more conservative and less innovation-acceptive that others, regulations and policies are significantly stricter, which does not allow new companies to propose new ways of payments. However now, due to the Regulatory Sandbox existence and approach, such opportunities are in place for new companies like ours to flourish.
  • Open Banking. Previously, before the PSD2 kicked in, it was simply impossible to aggregate anyhow reliable data on the client. Now, when major financial organisations signed up for that process, competition on the market is steeper, thus broker companies like our have a green light.
  • Target audience. Large retailers do not require the cheapest lending option and the opportunity for the buyer to compare their options. Moreover, they are capable of investing large portion of capital into costly integrations. Be it BNPL product or credit product, acquiring or any other, the large retailers get it cheap due to the volume of the transactions they process. In contrast, we focus on the SME segment as a form of supporting and empowering local consumption patterns. Retailers tend to work with particular BNPL providers, meaning your customers might have limited choice about which to use when it comes to financing their transaction. Instead, buyer could sign up with JO1N and get access to the multitude of lenders and the tailored deals, plus you as a merchant will benefit from cheaper transactional fees.

Our holistic approach

Attempting to offer the cheaper credit option for the buyer and SME business at the same, time requires deep expertise in dealing with merchants of such size and tested MVP. With our founders’ structure we bring the unique expertise of development of growing markets and more than $630M successful transactions executed for our target partners in 2020 covering local business operations from household appliances to sport goods and electronics. We have experience in dealing with SME’s and strategy in place to bring that “right at the checkout” lending comparison tool to the UK, so both buyers and local businesses could benefit.


If it is an offline product that merchant signs up => the merchant gets “JO1N Merchant Account” and operates with it over the JO1N SaaS platform in three ways:

1) Manual. Fills in the application for the buyer manually.

2) Semi-manual. Sends out the self-complete application form to the buyer.

3) QR code. Each product in the store is integrated into JO1N platform. The merchant has to print out the QR label, that buyer can scan and instantly checkout.


If it is an online product that merchant signs up => the merchant gets “JO1N Merchant Account” and operates with it in one way: The merchant sets up the account and has access to her/his dashboard just to process and complete his duties once the product is sold. Merchants operating online will not have the opportunity to fill orders manually.

ProductsWho fills the application?Time to fill application
for the new user
Time to fill application
for the returning user
Pre-scoringBank Response
Manual (in-store)Merchantup to 8 minup to 2 minutes to completeUp to 3 secup to 60 seconds
Semi-manual (in-store)(1) Merchant starts
(2) Buyers completes
up to 6 minup to 1 minute to completeUp to 3 secup to 60 seconds
QR code (in-store)Buyerup to 4 minup to 1 minute to completeUp to 3 secup to 60 seconds

JO1N is here to help boosting your sales! 🚀👨🏽‍🚀

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash