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Two-thirds of SME retailers still lack ecommerce

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New research from multi-channel systems specialist Actinic has found significant increases in the adoption of ecommerce amongst small and medium sized retailers.

However, operating across multiple channels — where outlets are selling online and taking orders via the mail or phone — is lagging behind with only a quarter of retailers falling into this category.

This seventh Actinic retail market survey was undertaken by PFA Research on a sample of 277 randomly-selected small and medium-sized retailers, of whom 96 had ecommerce web sites.

Key findings include:

  • The number of retailers with ecommerce sites has risen to over 35%, from 11% in 2006.

  • Of those that don’t have an ecommerce site, 22% claim they have firm plans to launch one.

  • Taking orders via post or telephone has increased to 74%.

  • 26% of businesses questioned operate across three channels (the high street, ecommerce and mail or telephone).

  • 10% of businesses are now selling via a major marketplace, with eBay and Amazon being the most popular.

  • 6% of businesses operate across four channels including ecommerce, retail, mail or telephone and via a marketplace.

  • 66% of businesses state that their ecommerce websites are profitable.

  • 26% of online retailers have lost money as a result of online fraud.

  • 60% built their own web site (against 45% in 2006) and the same proportion have implemented their own epos system.

  • 70% created a bespoke site and 58% opted for a customised epos system.

“Times are tough for retailers so I’m sure that the take up of ecommerce will be significant in 2009 as it is the only channel where profits and growth are still on the up,” says Chris Barling, Actinic’s CEO. “However, the use of integrated software applications across multiple channels is still limited to a minority of retailers, so there is a clear market here.”

The full report is available to download free of charge from Actinic’s website.

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