UK e-retailers to increase use of online marketplace sites
Royal Mail’s annual tracker study into the expectations and challenges facing UK SME online retailers has revealed retailers are planning to increase their use of online marketplace sites, such as eBay and Amazon Marketplace, as they target growth in 2015. The survey also revealed that the sector is in positive mood for the year ahead with seven in ten businesses expecting sales to increase and that simplifying the returns process for customers is also a key area of focus for many online retailers in the year ahead.
The optimism for growth – which is up nine percentage points on last year – is despite 76 % of SME online retailers saying competition is more intense than a year ago
The study found that 63 % of UK SME online retailers are planning to increase the number of channels they trade through in 2015 to grow sales. One in four (24 %) e-retailers plan to start using online marketplaces to increase sales. A further 21 % plan to open a shop and one in six (16 %) are planning to take out space in a store to sell their goods
Six in ten (58 %) UK SME online retailers surveyed reported an increase in sales in 2014, up from the 49 % who reported growth in 2013.
Delivery when expected jumped to top of the rankings for factors driving customer satisfaction last year, followed by the price of goods in second place and quality of the product, which was ranked third.
UK SME online retailers are increasingly recognising the importance of providing a good returns process for online shoppers, the study found. Three in ten (27 %) UK SME online retailers will be simplifying the returns process in 2015 to increase customer satisfaction. The top initiative will be increasing the range of goods but pricing more competitively dropped down the rankings to third place.