The Light that is Online Shopping

In the midst of the country’s economic gloom, it would seem that online shopping has shone through.

Figures complied by the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, found that UK online retail sales reached £5.8 billion, an effective 18% year-on-year (2009/2010) increase – exceeding the forecast 13%. They also went onto reveal a 21% growth in internet shopping during January.

According to the retail research group, the overall effect is largely a result of seasonal discounted sales on cheap furniture/electrical and booked holidays.

Although Tina Spooner, Director of Information at IMRG has warned that “it is important to note this strong growth is on the back of the lowest-ever annual growth recorded in January last year when the e-retail market grew just 4.6%”, forecasters have predicted 2011 to also have an online retail growth rate of 18% – a consumer spending level of £69 billion.

And so, with growing speculation and debate of the ‘great British high street’ disappearing and having somewhat become homogenous; does this mean that greater emphasis should lie towards attracting online clients?

Work it to your advantage

There is no escaping it; consumers are clearly opting for the internet for its convenience and the discounts and competitive prices offered.

According to Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini;

“The ongoing trend of consumers putting down the car keys and turning on their computers is only set to continue particularly as consumers use the power of the web to make their money go further as the economy recovery remains fragile.”

Moving your business’ forward by having a more enhanced online consumer outlook can uniquely insert an additional stream of cashflow for your business.

Reports suggest that operating online in the current economic climate could be the factor that helps small businesses in regards to consumer spending.

Some points to consider:

  • How effective is your website and if you haven’t one – WHY NOT?
  • Are you targeting the right people?
  • Is there more that could be done to improve your business’ online presence?
  • Could mediums such as EBay and Amazon be used to sell discounted stock?
  • Should you charge a slightly cheaper cost for online consumers to be more competitive?
  • Should you analyse the demographic by simply asking your sales team to question customers at the till – "Would you have bought the same product if we were online rather than coming in store?"

If at present, cost and time are commodities that your business just does not have, then by simply improving and developing your customer service; loyal customers could in effect drive your business online exposure forward as the UK economy remains stuck in the doldrums.

Provided by Kedisha Burnett at Touch Financial the Factoring specialists.

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