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Reports and guides

Online retail provides extra opportunities for SMEs

New research reveals consumers want to try instore and buy online

But is an ‘integrated approach’ right for you? And if it is, how do you make it work?

A brand new guide from NFU Mutual explores how retailers can combine online and offline offerings to enhance the customer experience throughout the purchase journey and ultimately, expand their business in the long term.

A joint approach is becoming a stronger focus for consumers and businesses alike. Research by NFU Mutual shows 63% of shoppers were keen to ‘try before they buy’ in a physical store, whilst 60% enjoyed the convenience of shopping online.

Successfully developing an e-commerce platform is a challenge for many retailers, particularly if it is a new practice for them.

Frank Woods
NFU Mutual Retail Sector Specialist

This is also reflected in store trends; online retailers, keen to take advantage of both retail worlds, are beginning to consider having physical stores to boost their brands, with property consultants Colliers predicting growth in online retail to slow by 2021.

Despite advancements in capability, the idea of building and operating a website that processes payments can still seem expensive and complex. In this guide, we have highlighted the versatility of e-commerce to help SMEs weigh up their options before investing.

Frank Woods, Retail Sector Specialist at NFU Mutual, adds: “Successfully developing an e-commerce platform is a challenge for many retailers, particularly if it is a new practice for them. This guide offers advice and tips on how to attract the right audience, and aims to help SMEs and start-ups build their online presence accordingly.”

Online retail solves a number of key frustrations for shoppers of all ages, including overcrowded shops (44%) and parking costs (31%). However, 27% said they like to both browse and buy online when it comes to their Christmas shopping. But while some retailers need help to make the first steps, some will not feel ready right now.

If you are a small retailer and are starting to consider adding e-commerce to your business, take some time to do the research around how it will affect your busness and look into the different options available. Download [PDF: 6.4MB] our guide as a first port of call to get the information you need.

ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 2,031 adults aged 18+ online on 22nd-24th September 2017. Interviews were conducted across Great Britain and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.