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Wednesday Insight: Making the most of the digital economy

Wednesday Insight: Making the most of the digital economy

Almost every aspect of the economy is moving online, and in doing so, is transforming the way that businesses, and their customers, behave.

In this article, we take a look at how small businesses are responding to the digital economy, and examine three ways they can better take advantage of it.

Key figures

  • Online sales accounted for 19% of all business turnover in 2015
  • Small, medium and micro enterprises are the least likely businesses to be using social media to promote themselves
  • Less than half of all micro enterprises have a website
  • E-commerce added almost £250 billion to the UK economy in 2015


Small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in retail will already be aware that the high street is increasingly competitive — retailers now must compete not only with each other, but with online retailers as well. Analysis by HSBC has showed that online sales have grown by 27% since 2015, with more and more businesses moving all their sales online. E-commerce is likely to become the preferred shopping destination for consumers over the coming years, so SMMEs need to ensure that they are adapting to the ever-changing nature of the market and explore using e-commerce in order to compete with the big players.

Using social media

Social media is disrupting the way consumers interact with brands, and SMMEs need to keep up with this. Social media marketing can help you devise a strategy which is more targeted to your audience. The growth in popularity of this form of marketing has also led to smarter tools being available to SMMEs at a low cost, meaning that a business of any size can take advantage of these platforms.

However, it is important to understand how social media differs to conventional media, and how to make the most of it. Our upcoming training session on using social media to improve sales can give you the tools to do this.

Increasing brand awareness

One of the biggest challenges that SMMEs face, particularly in sectors which are dominated by a few big names, is increasing awareness of their brands. Online marketing and building your brand’s online profile is a useful way to identify the key targets to sell to, and from this, convert more leads into sales. Our upcoming training on lead generation will explore the most effective ways to do this.

The tailored support on offer in the Building Legacies programme can support SMMEs in building their online strategy. For more information about the range of support on offer in the Building Legacies programme please contact or call the office on 020 7537 6480.


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