SMEs Are Betting Big on Ecommerce
In the current digital era, it’s no surprise that big businesses across the globe are making steep investments in ecommerce. Even so, many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) still have questions on how to succeed in the ecommerce space as the path to taking their companies global.
As a way to better understand the challenges SMEs are experiencing when it comes to ecommerce, DHL distributed a poll to US SMEs, including its customers. The company received over 14,000 responses.
Among the key findings, businesses betting on ecommerce are seeing exceptional returns. One-fourth of respondents said they projected their ecommerce sales to increase by a prodigious 76 to 100 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared with the same period last year. That represents enormous growth opportunity in the global ecommerce space for companies of this size.
Brick and mortar is not enough, even for SMEs. Shoppers now have everything at their fingertips, and many prefer the online shopping experience. It’s becoming clear that for SMEs in the retail space to survive, they must have an ecommerce component. The majority of respondents emphasized the importance of online shopping. Forty-two percent would rather be stuck in rush hour traffic in Manhattan than not be able to do their shopping online; 25 percent would rather sit behind a screaming baby on a plane.
To succeed globally, understanding Customs is a must. When asked what SMEs should prioritize in their ecommerce strategy to succeed globally, the number one response, with 35 percent of the votes, was understanding international trade policies and Customs requirements. This was closely followed with 29 percent of respondents noting SMEs should prioritize researching potential markets and understanding the new customer base in those markets.
Cybersecurity remains a concern. Almost one in two respondents (48 percent) said the most important investment that ecommerce businesses should make in 2018 is in cybersecurity.
Global ecommerce has many advantages. The competition among ecommerce businesses is intense. To gain a competitive edge, SMEs are taking their ecommerce activity global, which has proved to be beneficial in many ways. When asked about the biggest advantage in leveraging the international marketplace vs. only domestic sales, the top response, with 36 percent of the votes, was the ability to offer higher wages to employees. This was followed by 29 percent of the respondents saying the biggest advantage was increased sales.
Ecommerce isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Ecommerce is certainly growing, and SMEs are confident that the growth will continue throughout the year. But just how confident? Thirty-eight percent of respondents expect their ecommerce sales to increase in 2018 as much as the number of their gray hairs. An additional 29 percent expect their ecommerce sales to increase as much as their spouse’s shopping bills!
The findings reveal that ecommerce is—and will remain—a profitable investment for SMEs, and that global ecommerce is the natural next step to grow and get a leg up on the competition.