UK-based online SME-retailers will increase their use of online market places as they target growth in 2015, with optimism among the sector up nine per cent despite recognition of increased competition according to a poll conducted by Royal Mail.
An ever-increasing number of websites was cited by 67 per cent of those polled as the key factor for rising competition, over taking price sensitivity, which received 42 per cent of the vote. However, 70 per cent expect sales to increase this year.
Sixty three per cent of respondents stated that they will diversify the number of channels they trade through, with 24 per cent targeting an expansion of their use of online marketplaces, including eBay and Amazon Marketplace.
A further 21 per cent are expecting to open a shop, while 16 per cent will be looking to lease space in existing stores to sell their goods.
Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail Parcels, said: “Royal Mail’s annual tracker study of UK SME online retailers shows that there is strong optimism for growth despite increasing competition. UK SME online retailers are thinking carefully about how they can develop their businesses during 2015, with one in four looking to expand to online marketplaces, such as eBay and Amazon Marketplace.”
Returns is also being recognized as important, especially among fashion retailers. Of those polled, a third stated the need for a simple returns process was vital for customer satisfaction.
Year-on-year sales for 2014 were up, according to 58 per cent of respondents, compared to 2013 sales, of which only 49 per cent reported growth. Sixty two per cent noted that improved delivery services were behind this growth.
Forty four per cent said that the importance of product quality was a key factor in growth, a drop of 22 per cent from last year. While the importance of product range was recognised by 51 per cent, with 41 per cent set to increase their range.