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SMEs looking abroad to drive revenue growth through e-commerce

LONDON - Research conducted by WorldPay, the global leader in payment processing, risk and alternative payments, has today revealed findings which show that the potential to grow international transactions as an additional revenue stream is driving SMEs to extend or upgrade their eCommerce services to enable easier cross-border transactions.

In a poll of SME managers at the recent eCommerce Expo in London, 59% said that they are already offering eCommerce services, and that international eCommerce was a key driver in their decision to sell online. Of the SMEs currently offering eCommerce, 59% state that while catering for overseas customers can be a challenge in operating an eCommerce site, it can account for substantial revenues, with a quarter indicating that overseas transactions make up 30-40% of income. In total, 84% of the online sample suggested that the use of an eCommerce site had either 'significantly' or 'slightly' increased revenue and profit.

Many other SMEs who are currently offline are recognising the benefits that eCommerce can bring to their business. 74% of those SMEs who are currently offline are planning to offer eCommerce transactions in the next six months, and 78% of these businesses are motivated by the potential of selling beyond the UK. These businesses are also motivated by the possibility of increasing revenue and profit (91%) and improving brand awareness (52%).

SMEs who are currently transacting online identified a number of challenges in planning an eCommerce system, including 'identifying fraudulent transactions' (59%) and 'driving traffic to the website' (29%).

Reflecting on these statistics, Gabriel Hopkins, Head of eCommerce Products at WorldPay, said: "These results show that there is a rapidly growing realisation amongst SMEs that eCommerce can provide a very significant additional revenue source. By including eCommerce in their strategies, merchants inevitably have a greater pool of customers that they can sell to. It is interesting to note the trend towards international sales and that, despite the challenges this brings, SMEs are really reaping the rewards of cross-border selling.

It's important for merchants to protect themselves and their customers by working with an experienced payment and risk provider. By doing this, merchants can maximise transactions by taking the right alternatives for the countries they're operating in, and minimise risk, which can be more difficult when trading across borders."

eCommerce Expo, is the leading event in the UK for all aspects of online selling. This year, it experienced a 15% increase in visitors, who had the opportunity to attend 12 high-level keynotes, 50 conference sessions and network with fellow practitioners. 50 of the UK's Top 100 Retailers also attended the event.

About the research

The research sample comprised 66 senior managers, all of who were attendees at the 2011 eCommerce Expo.

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