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The Future of E-commerce for SMEs

Since the late 2000s e-commerce has grown at a rapid rate. Innovations have been pioneered by big players in the market and due to advances in technology small retailers have been able to adopt these innovations also. With companies such as Shopify providing e-commerce solutions and market places such as Ebay and Amazon providing a place where businesses can sell their goods online the barrier to entry to to e-commerce is lower than ever. This has made it difficult for retailers to stand out from the crowd and become successful. A website isn’t just enough to provide success. Business must integrate this with marketing campaigns, social media, paid promotion, customer service and a lot more to deliver success.

The latest innovations from the bigger retailers such as Amazon and Google are geared towards making online shopping quicker and easier blurring the lines between online and offline shopping. They plan to provide warehouses and couriers in major Cities enabling same day deliveries giving users the instant gratification that they seek when shopping in stores. Small business won’t be able to match this level of service, but there are ways they can prepare themselves for the future and stand out in a crowded space.

Mobile Ready

Mobile shopping was non existent several years ago, but now it is the highest growth area of e-commerce. Companies with physical locations too should be prepared for mobile as the majority of customers research products online before making an in store purchase.

Content Curation

Content curation is a trend that has been set by the bigger retailers, it has lead to innovations such as lookbooks from fashion retailers and inspiration guides from home furnishing companies. As customers browse the web they want to discover and learn about products as opposed to just looking at product data. This is a trend that small businesses will adopt more as they aim to stand out from the crowd and provide content that will educate their audience about their products rather than hard selling customers.

Delivery Efficiency

Delivery efficiency sits at the heart of the future of e-commerce. As the bigger retailers fight an arms race to provide a successful and sustainable same day delivery service small businesses must aim to provide an efficient delivery service, any uncertainty will not be tolerated by customers. Small businesses can use NI Parcels to provide efficient and affordable delivery to customers all over the world.

Customer Support

Along side the growth of e-commerce technology there has been growth in online support technology for small businesses. This enables businesses to provide efficient customer support during their customer journey. Online customers have a short attention span and if they cannot find the solution to their query they will abandon their purchase. Customer support facilities such as live chat and help desks enable businesses to solve customer queries while they are making their purchase. This has been adopted well by large retailers and in the future small retailers will adopt this more and more.


Online shopping personalisation was pioneered by the large retailers as a way to provide shoppers with a better experience by showing products that they thought customers would be interested in purchasing based on their previous transaction and products they have looked at. The barrier to entry for this level of personalisation has been quite high for small businesses, but with the evolution of technology in the e-commerce space this should be more affordable for small businesses in the near future. However businesses can provide personalised experience for users at an affordable rate through email segmentation and remarketing lists.

Written by Richard Megaw. For more information visit As part of ‘Use Small Business Can as a Channel’, we provide an exclusive discount code for Small Business Can users that will provide them with a 10% discount on their first order.

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