The internet has become such a ubiquitous part of everyday life, that people expect to find websites for just about anything. That’s why most business owners are aware that a web presence of some sort is needed to help attract potential customers. However, new research shows that majority of small businesses in the U.S. lack an e-commerce website where customers can buy items online.
According to SurePayroll’s latest Small Business Scorecard, just over a quarter (26 percent) of small businesses in the U.S. have an ecommerce website. To put it another way, this means that about three in four (74 percent) don’t have an ecommerce site.
While it’s fair to assume that some small businesses don’t need an ecommerce component (e.g. a home builder can’t sell homes directly through a website), the research from SurePayroll suggests there is an opportunity for small businesses to get an advantage over the competition.
The SurePayroll study identified some of the reasons why certain small businesses don’t have websites. According to the survey, 28 percent of survey respondents said they didn’t even have a company website. Similar to what was stated earlier, 42 percent of those without a web presence say that “the web really isn’t that important to their business”.
Despite what business owners may believe, every business needs a website of some sort. Most consumers start their search for product information and locations to buy items by searching the information. Not having a basic site puts businesses at a disadvantage.
SurePayroll’s data showed the various ways business owners try to meet the need for a website. The majority of businesses (52 percent) used a web development firm and one in five (20 percent) hired a freelance developer. Just 17percent of small business owners said they had used a DIY solution such as Wix or Weebly. And about one in ten (11 percent) had the in-house ability to create their own website.
The report’s authors offered some explanations for why many small businesses don’t have a strong e-commerce presence. Put succinctly, they suggest that difficulties with running an e-commerce may be too challenging for some small business owners.
“It’s gotten to the point where it’s easy to build yourself a website, but to build one that really functions well for your business and represents your brand is still a challenge,” SurePayroll general manager Andy Roe said. “That’s why you’re seeing the majority still paying professionals to do it for them.”
“Setting up an e-commerce site, with all of the technical items that have to be handled correctly, that can be a costly, complicated endeavor for a small business owner. The old fashioned approach to sales – building relationships, making calls, pounding the pavement – is still very much in play.”
As more consumers begin to grow accustomed to getting the items they need online, it has become imperative that retailers work on proving useful ecommerce options to their customers. And as this research shows, for small businesses, making this step can put you miles ahead of the competition.
For more recent marketing research news, read this article on a Millennial marketing study.