Small UK e-tailers eying online marketplaces and store openings

UK-based small to medium-sized e-tailers are planning to increase their use of online marketplace sites in 2015, according to a new study from Royal Mail.

The research found that smaller online British firms plan to build their relationships with sites such as eBay and Amazon Marketplace as they look to grow their businesses in the year ahead.

Some 63% of UK SME online retailers are planning to increase the number of channels they trade through, with 24% planning to start using online marketplaces to increase sales and 21% looking to open a shop. One in six e-businesses said they are considering taking out space in a store to sell their goods.

It is further evidence that the winning formula for the modern retailer increasingly looks like being a mixture of bricks and clicks, through the operation of physical and digital channels.

Royal Mail's annual tracker study also indicated that optimism for growth in 2015 is up nine percentage points on last year, despite 76% of UK SME retailers saying competition is more intense than a year ago. Six in ten of the companies surveyed reported an increase in sales in 2014, up from the 49% one year before.

Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail Parcels, commented: "Royal Mail's annual tracker study of UK SME online retailers shows that there is strong optimism for growth despite increasing competition.

"UK SME online retailers are thinking carefully about how they can develop their businesses during 2015, with one in four looking to expand to online marketplaces, such as eBay and Amazon Marketplace. Simplifying the returns process for customers is also a key area of focus for many online retailers in the year ahead."

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