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East Midlands Chamber News

Three-quarters of small retailers miss out on online sales

The research found that 75 per cent of small retail businesses don't have websites from which their customers can make purchases."The Web is becoming too powerful a sales channel for ambitious small retail businesses to ignore," said Geoff Iddison, chief executive of PayPal."There is a clear indication that SMEs have a lot to gain by introducing e-commerce. Small businesses that have e-commerce sites report that the Web is directly responsible for 22 per cent of their businesses' growth in the past year."According to the research, 33 per cent of small retailers fail to adopt online payment methods because they believe customers don't want to buy online, while 17 per cent say the costs are prohibitive. However, PayPal estimates the average amount a small retailer spends setting up e-commerce systems is £2,000.The British Retail Consortium (BRC) believes small businesses have a lot to gain from an online presence as it ensures that customers can access their business 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But the organisation warns that businesses should weigh up all their options and consider the costs before launching an e-commerce site."While online shopping is becoming a more popular and convenient option for people, online sales are often for niche product purchases and still only account for five per cent of total retail sales," warned BRC spokeswoman, Dee Crooks.The value of the UK's online market, however, is substantial. A recent report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) stated that 52 per cent of all UK households now have Internet access, while the value of online sales to households increased to £11.4 billion in 2003.

  • For more information on doing business online read the IT & e-commerce guide on the Business Link website www.businesslink.gov.uk.

(c) Business Hotline Publications Ltd 2005