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Why small businesses need to get online

In a report carried out by Centre for Economics and Business Research Ltd (CEBR) for World First, it was found that the UK’s small business sector has become more digital than ever. This movement mirrors the wants and needs of today’s consumers.

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Over half of the 3 million businesses in the UK sell goods online, this is a huge number and it proves how businesses need to stay on top of trends in order to succeed. The businesses that sell online generated £53 billion in online sales revenue in 2015 alone. The online sales have made a huge impact and should get more small businesses to start thinking about an online presence.

In today’s society it is unthinkable not to have an online presence, as that is where the consumers are. The report found that in 2016, 83% of internet users shopped online, and one out of five shopping online were using their mobile phone. This again is a finding that small business owners should take note of, and if you are running a website and selling online you should make sure that your website is mobile friendly.

With the new generations growing up in a mobile first era, it will obviously shape their behaviour in terms of consumerism. Consumer habits are constantly changing and evolving, therefore businesses need to stay on top of the wants and needs of their customers. Having an online presence has been a reasonably new need and the last couple of years have seen a massive increase in businesses focusing their efforts on creating an online space to operate their business.

In 2015 one fifth of businesses sold online, which shows a huge increase from the 14% that sold online in 2008. There is also a prominent shift on reaching global consumers as being online enables you to reach markets that may not be able to visit your store etc. If you want to be an exclusively online business then you will also benefit from having a business that operates for 24 hours, over the whole week and save money on shop floor space or an office space.

Going online does not have to be a huge daunting task which requires you to create your own website for your business. Marketplace behemoths like Amazon and Ebay are popular amongst SMEs for selling online. A quarter of businesses that sell online use marketplaces, and Amazon and Ebay are the most popular of these kind of sites that are used. One of the biggest benefits of using Amazon is the reach. For example, British businesses using Amazon can reach consumers across Europe through various Amazon websites such as Amazon.de and Amazon.it. It was also found from the report that Amazon had a record breaking year in 2016, in terms of having the most number of sellers using their platform to run their business.

Small businesses should consider becoming part of the new era by creating an online space for consumers. It is forecasted that online sales revenue could double by 2020 from 2015. It is expected that the total revenue made through online sales will be at £106 billion in the next five years.

Read more business trends and news here.

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