Insights & Analysis, Mobile Business

Infographic series - how small businesses are engaging in eCommerce

BY Clara Lu 2 Apr, "14

Small businesses are slow to catch on to the eCommerce wave, with less than half of them having a website. At least this is what a study made by Formstack reveals.

To double check, I researched more into it and this seems to be indeed the situation for small companies nowadays. This study confirms facts by saying that though there are more than 25 million home-based and small businesses, over 20 million of them do not even have a website.

Well shouldn’t it be the exact opposite, with small companies being more agile than bigger corporations to adapt to industry trends and exploring opportunities? And having the flexibility and (usually) open minds towards technology?

Reasons For eCommerce Inertia

This data raises the issue that small businesses may be getting complacent with merits that come with the notion of being small. When looking at the reasons for not having an eCommerce website, small companies quote reasons such as:

  1. Not needing one (main reason)
  2. Too much cost
  3. Lack of time, and etc.

Taking Current Sales For Granted

It seems that most of the small businesses that are not online are taking for granted their current profit and human traffic (around the neighbourhood) to their physical retail outlets. They only interact with customers through face-to-face conversations and in-person service.

There is no need to emphasize how competitive the market is getting – in the exact words of Heidi Klum for the reality show Project Runway, ‘One day you are in. And the next day, you are out’. This taking-things-for-granted attitude contributes to the inertia of adding eCommerce into the business and is deadly for the business.

Imbalance In Websites Of Small Businesses

The infographic also states that there is a huge imbalance in what small businesses are using their websites for. About 80 per cent of the websites are used for ‘General Information’ while less than a measly one-third (30 per cent to be exact), are using website for the purpose of eCommerce, and 15 per cent for reservations or sales appointments.

Internet applications have progressed from basic communication and information gathering, to various internal applications, to true eCommerce, and small companies need to keep themselves up to date with this trend.

Small businesses have to realise that getting online is not just a bid to increase sales directly and purely. Having a website also opens avenues up for improving other areas of the business, such as customer relations and appealing to new prospects. This presents an all rounded plan to position the business as a leader in the industry and a trustworthy brand.

Arguments for small businesses to engage in eCommerce

Lowers Overheads

A large number of consumers shop online and it cuts back on how much businesses need to keep in stock, so they save on overhead and sell more items as well as reducing the need for hiring employees.


Getting online means small businesses can communicate across the country with customers and suppliers, or simply use their website to broadcast information and product news.


Given that manpower is limited for small businesses, eCommerce opens up channels for accessibility 24/7 for the company, saving valuable time and bringing in more customers while reducing the amount of redundant paperwork at the same time.

To conclude, small businesses are not engaging in eCommerce much, and this needs to change. New, low-cost solutions are making it possible for small firms to level the playing field and match up to competition from bigger companies out there. Some of those solutions are offered by our integration partners: Shopify and WooCommerce that allow easy building of online shops.

How Small Businesses Are Engaging In Ecommerce

Resources: 1 | 2

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