Understanding Consumer Information Use in Small Businesses: The Determinants and Performance Outcomes

David Eshun Yawson

Abstract


The intense competition that small businesses encounter in business has elicited interventions and supports for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to engage in marketing with cutting-edge consumer information which will enable them compete in their markets. However, since SME marketing differs from large companies, their use of consumer information is not clear. This study examines consumer information utilisation in SMEs by conceptualising it as consisting of consumer information for changing the user SME’s knowledge and understanding of market issues (knowledge- enhancing utilisation); effecting policies and strategies (action-oriented instrumental utilisation) to examine the determinants and performance outcomes. Using qualitative and quantitative approaches, determinants of consumer information utilisation were identified as information functional and technical qualities, interaction between provider and user, and the market environment. The results illustrate that, in the right circumstances consumer information influence SME performance. Its use for policy making and strategy directly enhance SME financial outcomes, decision-making ability, and improve new products creation and processes. It also, provides evidence of symbolic use of consumer information by SMEs; guidance for policy makers and SME business facilitators in implementing consumer information interventions for SMEs.

Keywords: Small businesses, SMEs, SME marketing, Consumer information use, action-oriented use, symbolic use and knowledge-enhancing use

JEL Classification: L2, M1

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32479/irmm.10272


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