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Over two thirds of UK retailers are missing out on potential revenues by not offering their goods for sale online, according to a survey by Barclaycard.

The company said many retailers are reluctant to embrace e-commerce because of the perception that set up costs are too high and that a high level of technical know-how is needed.

Barclaycard Business spokesman Bill Thomson said:

“The growth of online shopping over the last five years has opened up a lucrative new revenue stream for UK retailers.”

“However, it is clear from our research that many retailers are not yet benefiting from this new income by making their goods and services available online.”

Of the 1,000 respondents to the survey, 23% claimed the cost of setting up online was a major barrier, while 13% said they were put off by the technical knowledge required to set up a website.

The amount of time a business had been trading was also a factor. Of those retailers that had set up less than 2 years ago, 32% traded online, while for businesses older than 10 years, the figure was just 23%.

While the results aren’t surprising, retailers’ reluctance to trade online means they are missing out financially – the survey found that 63% of the businesses surveyed which trade online had seen an increase in revenues over the past 12 months.

The UK online retail market was worth £103.3bn in 2005, according to the ONS, and online sales are continuing to rise in the run up to Christmas.

The barriers to online trade are not as big as some of those surveyed seem to think - you can set up a website and trade online for less then £1,000.

There are easier options too – small businesses that are worried about costs and technical knowledge can set up eBay or Amazon stores, so there really is no excuse.  

Graham Charlton

Published 29 November, 2006 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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