A survey of small US businesses has shown that more are now setting up a web presence to promote and advertise themselves rather than to establish ecommerce operations.
The second annual Small Business Internet Survey was conducted by Gallup for online business directory site Superpages.com. Over 800 businesses with less than 50 employees were polled.
The survey found that 21 per cent of small businesses had established a website this year as a shop window, while only 13 per cent had set up a sales mechanism. This compared with eight and 13 per cent, respectively, in the previous year.
"Research indicates that many consumers use the internet to window shop - to research and browse before they buy from local merchants," said Patrick Marshall, group vice president of Superpages' parent company Verizon Information Services. "While transactional ecommerce may not be right for all small businesses, even the most local business can benefit from establishing a website to promote its products and services."
The survey also found that 57 per cent had found it "easy" to create a website, rating the simplicity of the process seven or higher on a scale of one to 10.
Return on investment was also rated highly: 55 per cent of small businesses with a website reported that it had either broken even or paid for itself in increased business.
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