Why being online is vital to small businesses at Christmas

Christmas is a matter of weeks away, but any small businesses in the UK that are not set for online sales could miss out on billions of pounds.


Research from Sage Pay predicts that online spending in December alone will top £13 billion – the first time that this will have occurred.


But 90% of SMEs are not yet in the online marketplace, meaning they stand to miss out on the festive sales.


A lack of an online presence could mean retailers miss out on a total of almost £88 billion, especially with estimates suggesting that this Christmas is set to see the largest sales figures ever recorded.


Online retail is expected to have grown by 17% by the time 2014 concludes, highlighting the level of opportunity that currently exists for small businesses.


For SMEs that are not set up to take advantage of the sales rush in the run up to Christmas, losing out to large competitors is a real issue.


But this is not just limited to the Christmas period, as they could lose out all year round, possibly even limiting the economic recovery in the process.


Being online can help to drive sales and build brand awareness but it also provides a platform to drive growth. For small businesses that are looking to expand their operations, this is of fundamental importance – and this means getting prepared, and quickly!


If consumers are more willing to spend these firms need to be in a position to take advantage and maximise returns.


Having an optimised website is one thing but it must also be capable of dealing with large volumes of traffic or customers could be left disappointed.


This is nothing to the extent that it could damage a business however, as missing out on finances could leave a business struggling to compete.


While business turnaround may be an option in these situations, the damage may have already been done if competitors have stolen an advantage.


By Phil Smith


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