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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : December 12, 2011

32% small businesses in Britain view ecommerce channels as threat

A third of small businesses in the UK regard ecommerce channels as a threat, according to new research released this week by Epson, and many lack understanding of how social media marketing can help boost business.

by Helen Leggatt

Over three-quarters (78%) of small businesses in the UK do trade online, says Epson's research but the country continues to lag behind most other European countries when it comes to the adoption of ecommerce. Just 59% of UK small businesses see opportunity in ecommerce compared to 72% across Europe.

The research shows that the UK isn't backwards when it comes to using social media. In fact, a large number (60%) have a corporate Twitter account and a third have a Facebook Page. The problem is that 42% lack understanding of how to go about utilizing social media to boost business.

"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," says Sara Murray, founder of and personal emergency response service Buddi.

"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 an attempt to tackle small businesses fear of the Internet the British Government is running free ecommerce seminars from January through to March of 2012 in a number of major cities across the country. 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.

"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," said Doug Richard.

"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 series of seminars will demonstrate to businesses how to leverage social media, site optimization and Google AdWords among other 21st century business practices.

Tags: ecommerce, Europe, Facebook, Government, Internet, online marketing, small business, social media, Twitter, UK

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