Should small businesses be investing in e-commerce?

www.moneyShould small businesses be investing in e-commerce, or sticking to what they know with in-store retail trade? This is the question posed by The Guardian’s latest online poll, and whilst opinions are somewhat divided, it seems the majority of respondents believe in the power of online sales.

“The internet is where traders need to be”

At the time of writing, 58% of respondents had answered “Yes – the internet is where traders need to be”, tipping the balance over the 42% who said “No – community shops still have enough to appeal to local shoppers”. The trend for e-commerce is clear, and it seems that industry experts agree with the voters. The Boston Consulting Group, for instance, predict that 23% of UK retail sales will be made online by 2016.

The Guardian’s survey comes in light of the launch of MyHigh.st, a virtual shopping street where a collective of local stores can sell their wares, making it easier for SME’s to compete with larger competitors that have established online offerings. MyHigh.st was developed to help combat factors that are currently impacting the success of in store retail, such as “bad weather, increasing rents, rates, refuse and parking charges”. It is due to factors such as these that e-commerce seems like a preferable option.

More than just a website

However, the key to any size of business succeeding in the e-commerce market is not just having an online presence. If you’re thinking of investing in e-commerce, it is essential to ensure that your business not only has a website, but has a website that is clear, engaging, easy to navigate, and ultimately appealing to buyers. Whilst building this type of website not necessarily a short haul project, it is worth the investment – having a user friendly site is essential when it comes to converting your site’s visitors from browsers to basket fillers.

Content is key

Good e-commerce content should be at the heart of any good website structure. Many users will want to read about your company, your products, your terms and conditions etc. before giving you their precious account details and investing in your item – our content checklist for e-commerce websites will give you an idea of how much information buyers will expect! Having genuinely useful, relevant content for your users to engage with is fundamental to the success of any online enterprise – with no face to face salesperson; you have to rely on your content to do the talking, so it’s important to make sure it represents your brand and its values in the right way.

Write My Site has helped many companies develop great e-commerce content that represents their brand and engages their customers. If you’re thinking of setting up an e-commerce site for your business and want further advice about content, why not email [email protected] or call 020 8819 9535 to see how we can help?

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