Small businesses are the strength of U.S economy; many recent surveys have revealed that they are the driving force behind the economic recovery. In order to keep up in pace with the larger firms, smaller ones are seriously required to adopt the Internet to grow in today’s economic situation. In the present situation, business and technology are inseparable, and if the technology is both business friendly and customer friendly, then it is a must use.
Small business owners Internet usage statistics
Even with the significant benefits of e-commerce and other web applications, small business owners are still averse towards its application. According to a survey conducted by citigroup in 2010, 37% of the 552 U.S small firms (it surveyed) were not having websites, 84% percent of them have not used e-commerce for selling their products or services, and 62% were found not using email for marketing their businesses. If the trend of usage is this high for basic applications, then the usage of the advanced applications is imaginable, with 65% of the small businesses not using online ads and 67% of them are found not to employ search engine optimization.
Strikingly, of the very little percentage of businesses that have website, 75% of them have agreed that their online presence was actually helpful in generating new business. Most of the small businesses considered word-of-mouth marketing as more reliable strategy than email marketing and not considered social networking sites as a means of word-of-mouth marketing. This clearly shows the lack of knowledge in the area of technology.
Small business activities on e-commerce
E-commerce and Internet applications are very much comprehensive in terms of facilities they provide. The small businesses making use of these online applications are found mostly to perform activities such as researching and buying business products and services, accessing business news and competitors’ information, management of investment accounts, travel planning and keeping in touch with friends and colleagues.
Right now, the section of businesses performing all the above activities is quite less, but they are found to be larger than the remaining companies and have considerable amount of sales, with widely adopting technology. Apart from those activities, e-commerce and Internet are also used for promoting and expanding the business through online ads and marketing through social networking.
Importance of e-commerce for a business
E-Commerce has been greatly successful in revolutionizing the areas of performance and customer relationships of a business. It provides applications such as e-business, e-sales, e-marketing, e-procurement and e-payment, which are helpful in B2B and B2C transactions. Apart from buying and selling of goods at any point of time, e-commerce facilitates efficient management of information, it is cost and time effective and most importantly very convenient to use.
Future plans of small businesses on online activities
Thanks to the increased awareness of the online activities, small businesses are planning to increase their expenditure on e-commerce and other online activities for promoting and expanding their businesses. Among the marketing initiatives, e-mail, website and social media marketing are found to be given higher importance. This transformation may be attributed to realization of impact of Internet marketing in having high return on investments.
With the increased significance of their role and changing working styles in business, the small businesses are expected to use more advanced applications for delivering much better performance and also to withstand the competition posed by large companies. Online business can be enhanced through wide variety of e-commerce solutions and e-commerce application development software.