A nation of e-shopkeepers looks to expand online
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A nation of e-shopkeepers is looking to expand online

A nation of e-shopkeepers is looking to expand online

Posted on 14th January 2018

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It was Napoleon who was supposed to have made the famous comment about the English being a nation of shopkeepers, but apparently the phrase was, perhaps unsurprisingly, first used by an economist.  And not just any old economist, but Adam Smith, the Scottish author of The Wealth of Nations who is regarded as father of classical economics.

Given that shopkeepers are, almost by definition, SME owners, I suspect that Smith would have been impressed by a report in The Times over the festive period, based on research carried out by Amazon, Capital Economics and Enterprise Nation.  This suggests that nearly 90% of SMEs want to make far more use of ecommerce in 2018, principally by means of using mobile apps and their own websites to drive more traffic and hence more sales.  There was also a rise in the number of businesses expecting to sell via third party online retailers. Bearing in mind that SMEs account for around 60% of private sector employment, these findings ought to send out a signal – the digital equivalent of a 96-sheet billboard (i.e. one of the humungously big ones) – that the market for those with the digital expertise to build ecommerce solutions and then teach these small firms how to market themselves better online looks likely to boom over the next few years.

Moreover, there is another interesting finding buried a bit further down in the Times’ article, namely that a majority (57% of the 1000 sampled) of these small firms want Brexit to proceed “in some form” and 75% of them have not delayed any business decisions as a result of Brexit.  In other words, there are a lot of confident people running SMEs out there who want to make the best of the opportunities that technology can offer them.  Those firms that are already making good use of ecommerce will, I suspect, be keen to continue to develop its possibilities. And for those that have not yet embraced the digital age (who, consequently, are said by this report to be less confident about their prospects this year) the need to catch up will become ever urgent. All of which suggests that web design/build firms and digital marketers have a real opportunity here, if they wish to grasp it.

All this is good news for the IT world.  However, the only small (indeed, increasingly large) cloud on the horizon is … where are these web/digital companies going find the skilled people needed to satisfy this demand? Dare I say it, that’s where we come in…

Nikola Kelly, MD, Be-IT 

Posted in News, Recruitment News

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