Why technology is giving high street businesses the competitive edge

January 29, 2015 10:54 am The UK Domain

More agile and able to implement changes quickly, startups can have the edge on larger businesses when it comes to getting tech-savvy. Online small business success stories such as BuzzFeed have quickly adopted the latest advertising platforms and adapted rapidly to social media advances to gain ground on their traditional print rivals.

Are small businesses on board?

Household names such as Sainsbury.co.uk and Next.co.uk are constantly reviewing their online as well as in-store shopping experiences, but is the same trend reflected in small business entrepreneurship?

A recent survey suggests not. Findings revealed that 41% of businesses don’t use a website to sell or promote themselves . Another key finding exposed low confidence in the high street store with only 6% of people questioned believing that high street businesses are equipped for the internet era.

How to get ahead online

Getting ahead using technology isn’t all about having in-store tablets and viral YouTube content. Behind the scenes, cloud platforms are allowing small businesses to outsource tasks such as HR and accounting, enabling them to focus their resources at the heart of their enterprise.

Using a third-party also helps many entrepreneurs quickly access an established customer base. With over 2 million users, Amazon Marketplace is rapidly becoming a destination of choice for small businesses.

Furthermore, fulfillment services such as those offered by Amazon Marketplace have helped more startups to grow. Integrating online sales allows businesses both small and large to avoid high infrastructure costs. European-based company Asendia is a good example of a fulfillment operator that has cashed in on the online integration trend.

Reaping the rewards

Getting on board with cloud services has meant that many entrepreneurial businesses have been able to concentrate their energy on growth. Current research shows that small businesses that have taken advantage of digital services have seen real benefits. Recent figures show that SMEs using cloud services see an average 26% growth over those who don’t, and over 21% higher profits.

Consumer shopping behaviour has evolved to an astonishing degree in recent years. While thousands of bricks-and-mortar businesses are developing an online sales strategy, very few ecommerce businesses are opening up physical stores. In fact, research shows that about a third of UK and German customers used multiple channels during a recent purchase.

As consumers look for faster and more convenient ways to buy, small businesses have the opportunity to out-pace their corporate rivals by getting ahead of the curve and embracing advanced sales platforms, targeted advertising and, most importantly, talking to the customer on a personal level.


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