Businesses failing to cash in on internet sales boom

Some 60 per cent of small firms are missing out on the sales opportunities afforded by the internet.

A report from BT Tradespace has shown that six out of ten small firms do not sell their products or services online even though many of them actually buy through the internet.

The research, which surveyed over 400 businesses, revealed that two thirds of small firms did not think they can attract customers via their websites.

According to the survey, the proportion of SMEs with a website has increased by 20 per cent in the past two years, but only 13 per cent of small firms considered their websites integral to their marketing strategy and just 3 per cent used their site to communicate with consumers.

The smallest companies (up to five employees) were least likely to interact with other local businesses.

This is despite the fact that online shopping is growing in popularity among consumers who are taking advantage of the choice, convenience and cost-savings that buying through the internet has to offer.

With online retail spending set to reach £42.4bn by 2012, Mick Hegarty, head of BT Tradespace, said that far too many firms are losing out on valuable sales opportunities: “Free business social networking websites and social media tools like blogging and podcasting can transform a company’s fortunes at the click of a button.”