A failure to embrace modern technology and the digital world is costing small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) dear, a new study has suggested.
Research conducted by O2 Business suggests that UK SMBs as a collective are missing out on billions of pounds of sales opportunities every year.
The company says that, in order to maximise their sales and revenue-generating potential, SMBs need to invest in the relevant digital technology to reach their customers.
O2 Business noted that an increasing number of shoppers are eager to use modern technology as part of the retail experience - whether in-store or online.
And this means SMBs are under pressure to embrace social media, online marketing and other digital solutions, it said.
A quarter of consumers interviewed by O2 Business said they would not do business with a small company if they discovered it did not have a website.
The cost of these missed sales opportunities has been estimated at £13 billion by the firm.
Almost two-thirds of consumers said they thought SMBs which have an online presence are modern and up to date.
Some 46 per cent thought that having a website makes a company appear to be customer-focused - something that is important for many people when choosing a service provider.
Almost a third (30 per cent) expect to be able to do business online - paying for goods or services through an ecommerce function.
And 12 per cent expect SMBs to have an up-to-date Facebook page, which gives them the opportunity to interact with the company.
Paul Lawton, general manager of SMB at O2, said the rewards from investing in technology "can be huge" for small companies.
"But for many business owners the whole process of improving their business through technology can be a daunting prospect," he noted.
As such, SMB leaders may wish to consider whether they need specialist support to enable them to capitalise on the digital opportunities available to them.
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Posted by Dan Smith