Misconceptions about the cost of setting up a website may be deterring many UK small businesses from establishing a web presence.
An NOP survey revealed this week that 22 per cent of UK respondents believe the cost of setting up an internet presence exceeds £5000 and another 44 per cent expect the cost to be above £2000. In fact, the cost need only be £200, according to Scoot UK, which commissioned the study.
The survey also found that 71 per cent of adults think it is important for a small business to make its products and services available over the internet.
Scoot UK marketing director Catherine Hill says the results of the survey confirm fears that UK small businesses allow concerns about cost to block the development of their business on the web.
"Consumers today consider the web a key retail space," she said. "If a small business wishes to grow its customer base then it must showcase its products and services online."
Scoot UK provides information on more than two million businesses and services via the web, phone and interactive TV. Its acquisition last month of Loot, the classified advertisement website and newspaper, expanded its share of the small business-to-consumer web space. It is leveraging its presence in this market to offer web development services to small businesses.
An NOP survey earlier this year found that 440,000 UK businesses have internet access. Over two-fifths (43 per cent) of these businesses now have their own website. Of these, 35 per cent reported an increase in revenue since their website was set up, but only six per cent of web user companies said that they accept credit card or electronic payments over the internet.
Another recent survey by research company Fletcher Research gives further fuel to small businesses considering their first web presence. The survey found that nearly two thirds of online purchases in the UK are from companies first discovered on the internet; almost half of all UK internet users have used the net to help them shop, and around one third have purchased something online. Only 19 per cent of UK internet users were unhappy with giving their credit card details online to make purchases.
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