More than half of the public find it difficult to support local businesses because they do not sell online or even have a website.
Recent figures from the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills show that as many as two million (39 per cent) sole traders and small companies are missing out on local business because they have no online presence.
In addition, more than half of customers go straight to the search engines when looking to buy from local businesses, nearly double the number that ask for word-of-mouth recommendations.
With the total website sales in the United Kingdom worth over £160 billion per annum, small businesses and sole traders are missing out if they do not have a digital presence and eCommerce website.
Local Enterprise Partnerships Funding
There are now measures in place to help businesses become more digitally active which includes £2 million of funding to 22 Local Enterprise Partnerships to help small local businesses increase their digital presence.
A campaign is being launched soon to bring small business owners to the new resources and to advise them on how to do more with their business online at www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/domoreonline.
Thousands of potential customers are searching online for local small businesses and without a suitable website, most small businesses will lose out.
We cannot think of any business to whom being online is not now vital, irrespective of their type or future growth ambitions. Businesses that embrace their digital opportunity are more likely to grow or maintain adequate income to survive.
Recent government research, based on a sample of 2,191 people, shows that consumers are looking to the internet more than ever to find small local businesses and sole traders.
Some 73 per cent of respondents say it is very important that they are able to browse a company website if they are going to give it their custom, with nearly 60 per cent agreeing that if they can’t find any evidence of a business online they are reluctant to give it any business at all.