Actinic Publishes 2008 Research on UK SME Retail

New research on the state of the UK SME retail market, from multi-channel systems specialist Actinic, indicates that significant increases have been seen in the adoption of ecommerce since the last 2006 survey (published in January 2007). However operating across multiple channels where outlets are selling online and taking orders via the mail or phone is lagging behind with only a quarter of retailers in this category.

This seventh Actinic retail market survey was undertaken by pfa Research on a sample of 277 randomly-selected small and medium-sized retailers, of whom 96 had ecommerce web sites.

Key findings are that the number of retailers with ecommerce sites has risen to over 35%, from 11% in 2006 - confirming trends reported by bodies such as the IMRG. Of those that don't have an ecommerce site 22% claim they have firm plans to launch one.

A quarter (26%) of businesses questioned operate across three channels (the high street, ecommerce and mail or telephone orders (MOTO)). A third (34%) of all businesses sampled have electronic point of sale (EPOS) in-store. Of the remainder 13% state they have firm plans to implement a system.

Chris Barling, CEO of Actinic comments, "Times are tough for retailers so I'm sure that the take up of ecommerce will be significant in 2009 as it is the only channel where profits and growth are still on the up. However the use of integrated software applications across multiple channels is still limited to a minority of retailers, so there is a clear market here."

The full report is available free from or by email from jane.lee at

Additional highlights from the 2008 Actinic Survey:

. Taking orders via post or telephone (MOTO) has increased from 39% (in 2006 report) to 74%.
. 10% of businesses are now selling via a major marketplace, with eBay and Amazon being the most popular.
. 6% of businesses operate across four channels including ecommerce, retail, MOTO and via a marketplace.
. 66% of businesses state that their ecommerce websites are profitable.
. 26% of online retailers have lost money as a result of online fraud.
. 60% built their own web site (against 45% in 2006) and the same proportion have implemented their own EPOS system.
. 70% created a bespoke site and 58% opted for a customised EPOS system.

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