Saturday, 8 June 2013

KPCB's Internet 2013 Trends and SMBs

The recently released KPCB 2013 Internet Trends report received wide coverage as usual. Much was made about how consumers will benefit from wearable computing and the rise of Chinese internet companies. But what about SMEs (small and mid sized enterprises)? What can they take away from this report? Here are a few personal recommendations: 

1. Content: The KPCB report highlights the sheer amount of information created and shared - 500 million photos uploaded and shared daily, 100 hours per minute of video uploaded to YouTube. Fast moving SMEs are increasingly making available their content in shareable format on their websites, or proactively engaging their customers on social networks. is a great example of an SME that sells bespoke business cards, competing effectively with the likes of much bigger players such as Vistaprint, a listed company that turns over > $1bn. Moo encourages its customers to post tweets or videos on YouTube when they receive their deliveries and also has an active Facebook and Google+ presence. With tens of thousands of followers across these platforms, Moo is successfully generating additional awareness and new customers at low cost. 
2. Mobile:  Mobile internet traffic is trending to 30% of total by 2014. Many big firms, spend significant resources on the desktop version of their websites, yet neglect the mobile versions. Smart SMEs realise they can compete with larger players, by optimizing their sites for mobile traffic. The Co-operative could benefit from having a mobile optimized site, much like Tesco and Sainsbury's have already done. is a sterling example an SME in this space. Graze delivers healthy snacks direct to its customers and has one of the best user experiences I have come across. It is an excellent example of a simple, attractive and yet highly functional mobile site - using it makes me want to snack!
3. Emerging markets: The growth in internet users is now being driven mainly by emerging markets, the likes of China, India and also Indonesia, Nigeria and Brazil. Consumers in these markets have increasing disposable income, and British companies with strong brands are working out how to target them. However, SMEs with niche offerings can also benefit. Scotweb sells a range of tartan and offers free delivery worldwide. The Scotweb site also allows you to easily price your tartan in Chinese Renminbi, Indian Rupees or Indonesian Rupiahs. Many well known British brands deliver to a limit number of countries and often charge a delivery fee outside the UK regardless of order value. Perhaps they could learn a thing or two from Scotweb?

As the KPCB trends deck points out - today, on the internet, everybody knows you are a dog. Big businesses should watch out - with a little creative thinking, nimbler SMEs are eating their lunch!