Your IndustryMay 22 2013

Web engagement will boost sales: FSB

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The report found that of the 2200 businesses questioned, 25 per cent operated without a website and only 33 per cent used a website for sales.

The FSB has urged businesses to boost sales by engaging customers through the web, adding that although small firms are unable to compete with the huge advertising budgets of bigger companies, a website could provide a good opportunity to attract new customers.

On average, small businesses in the past 12 months have spent around £3500 on new technology.

The report showed that 85 per cent of small businesses identified investment in new technologies as a key driver for business growth and around six in 10 said it had a positive impact on how they communicated with existing customers.

As many as 53 per cent said technology had helped in targeting new customers.

Despite this, a quarter of the businesses surveyed said there was a gap in the market for small businesses needing support and guidance for themselves and their staff, which would help them invest more in technology.

Mike Cherry, national policy chairman for the FSB, said: “We want to see small firms maximise the opportunities that technology presents, so they can be competitive and grow their businesses and have a positive impact on the communities they rely on for business. We needed to build the understanding and skills of both the management and the workforce.

“Once the high street starts to go into decline it can be difficult to revive, but with the right measures from councils and local authorities the tide can be turned.

“We need to see action from the government and local enterprise partnerships to help small firms take steps to invest and grow.”

Adviser view

Amanda Davidson, director of Baigrie Davies, said: “A small business needs a website to stay competitive – it’s your shop window – and I’m quite surprised that businesses these days, in 2013, do not have a website. It is a way of getting your message across to people. And certainly we do find that clients are looking at our website to see who they might want to advise them. They would go onto our website and they will have a look and see what we do, if we are a good match, and that they feel comfortable with approaching us.

“Or, once a client and I speak, I would often refer them to the website for more information, so that they are better informed about what we do. The website doesn’t have to be large, elaborate and complicated, but to have something to reflect the personality of your firm through your website is very important to do in business these days.”