North West SMEs fall behind in use of ecommerce
4th January 2018
North West SME’s are the UK’s least users of ecommerce at only 33%, compared with Scottish SME’s being the highest users, at a rate of 55%. This has been revealed in a recent Q4 2017 SME Growth Tracker report by Capital Economics and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, in association with Enterprise Nation and Amazon UK, has revealed that:
There are only two regions in the UK in which less than forty per cent of SMEs use ecommerce - the North West and the South East of England stand apart from all other UK regions, sharing the distinction as being significantly lower utilisers of e-commerce as a major sales channel.
It’s even more stark when overall, the report states that nearly 8 in 10 UK SMEs expect to be selling online by the end of this year.
The report further states that nearly half of all SME revenues is expected to be coming from ecommerce over the coming year.
Although this apparent reticence to use ecommerce could in some part be due to the make-up of the SME business types in the North West, it may also be due to a lack of knowledge on the potential of ecommerce as a viable selling channel and a lack of awareness of the opportunities it provides.
It is a view held by Kam Kothia the CEO of Lancashire based ecommerce agency eBusiness UK. His business has been developing ecommerce websites and multichannel services over the past twenty years across the North West and UK; “Although the statistics in the report could appear to be quite negative towards North West SME’s, over the past few months we have seen an increasing interest from businesses in the region to both increase their revenues and expand their geographical markets through ecommerce”.
"We are committed to working with the regional business support agencies to inspire, encourage and educate NW SME business owners to the huge potential in selling via ecommerce"
“What has also been evident though, is how we have had to spend time with Directors’ to educate and explain the potential of the opportunities and how they can be accessed, which could support the statistic that more understanding of ecommerce is needed in the region.”
“We have also found that some companies are achieving great results by investing in an ecommerce site but are not on the popular online marketplaces, whilst others will sell a small range of products through Amazon or eBay but not invest in their own website. Both these companies are missing out on significant revenue and growth opportunities”.
Another factor borne out in the report, states that the larger the SME, the more likely it is to use ecommerce, and also that a higher share of exporters use ecommerce than non - exporting SMEs, at 62 per cent and 31 per cent respectively.
SMEs cited face-to-face, e -mail and telephone as the most important channels when selling to customers. Nearly 90 per cent of SMEs use e -mail whilst 85 per cent said that they use telephone and face -to -face.
Kam concludes, “We are keen to see the statistics improve for SMEs use of ecommerce in the region, and in turn the NW economy, so we are committed to working with the regional business support agencies to inspire, encourage and educate NW SME business owners the huge potential in selling via ecommerce, either through their own website or via Amazon or eBay”
Visit the eBusiness UK website here
Q4 2017 SEM Growth Tracker Report
The full report can be downloaded here
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