UK SMEs slow to incorporate e-commerce

One in three of the UK’s small businesses feel threatened by e-commerce channels, according to a study by the Epson Business Council.

1,250 company leaders across five European countries were surveyed about e-commerce with the results revealing almost eight in 10 of UK small businesses sell products or services online, but there is a lag behind other European nations in the adoption of e-commerce. Italy has one of the top rates of e-commerce take-up, with 94% of its small businesses having an e-commerce presence.

Only 59% of UK small businesses see e-commerce channels as major opportunities for business, compared with 72% of small businesses across Europe.

As shoppers increasingly choose online channels for Christmas purchases and people become more adept at researching businesses online before using their services, many businesses may be missing out on a sizeable chunk of business at a time when profit margins are being eaten into.

Forum of Private Business senior policy adviser, Phil McCabe, commented on the survey results, “Rather than seeing e-commerce simply as a threat, small business owners should investigate every opportunity to grow and promote their businesses through appropriate online channels”.