At Daily Deal Media, we love to get all kinds of different perspectives on the group buying and e-commerce industry. We recently conducted an independent survey of small business merchants who ran deals with daily deals companies.
Research company Epson recently conducted a survey in the UK regarding small business opinions on ecommerce and found that almost 32% see ecommerce as a threat to traditional business, and that many lack understanding of how social media marketing can help boost business.
According to the research, 78% of the businesses surveyed conduct business online, but in Britain, the consumer enthusiasm for e-commerce seems to lag behind the rest of world. Just 59% of UK small businesses see opportunity in ecommerce compared to 72% across Europe.
When it comes to social media, British businesses aren’t completely behind the times, as 60% have a twitter account for their business and 1/3 have a facebook page. The problem seems to be that a significant amount of business owners don’t know how to leverage social media to boost business.
Sara Murray is the founder of Confused.com and personal emergency response service Buddi. She comments that “While it is encouraging to see that most of the UK’s micro businesses are now involved in e-commerce in some way, it is concerning that so many still regard the area as a threat. In the midst of this busy shopping period, understanding how to harness social media, combined with the increasing popularity of e-commerce, should offer micro businesses an avenue for growth which they can’t afford to ignore.”
In addition, Chris Price the Managing Director of Epson UK definitely expected different results from his firm’s research. “It is surprising that 22 percent of UK small businesses do not yet sell their products or services through e-commerce channels. Coupled with a successful social media strategy, e-commerce channels provide compelling opportunities for micro businesses and start-ups to boost their reach. Growth among small businesses is vital for the UK economy so it is important we encourage more small businesses to embrace the potential of online sales opportunities.”
In response to this research, the British Government has decided to step in and is running free –commerce seminars from January to March in major cities across the region. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is teaming up with School for Startups founder and Dragons’ Den panelist Doug Richard to educate up to 3,500 small businesses.
Richard believes that there’s much more opportunity for British small businesses online than they think.
“Small businesses in the UK under-utilize the Internet. The focus of this program, therefore, is an intensive effort to help them to exploit the web to its fullest extent,” he said.
“It’s about using the speed of the web to rapidly and radically change the business prospects of a large number of SMEs. What we hope to instill in these small businesses is that the power of the internet spans their entire profit and loss statement.”
The government-hosted free seminars will definitely help small business boost performance in the e-commerce arena, with demonstrations on how to leverage social media, optimize websites, use adverting tactics like Google AdWords among other various up-to-date marketing practices.