Tag: online business

‘eBay has declared that Britain’s small businesses have “come of age” online, after reporting that the number of its traders who are turning over £1m a year had nearly doubled over the last 12 months.’

So begins the linked article below from the Guardian. Unlike other small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), many of which did not survive the recession, the number of successful online SMEs is increasing and their survival rates are generally high. According to eBay, some 25,000 people have set up business on its site since the recession and it is predicted that 127 will have a turnover of over £1 million in 2010 (up from 66 in 2009).

So what is it about the online environment that helps small business to develop and thrive? Does going down the e-commerce route avoid many of the pitfalls of traditional business models? And does it have any specific pitfalls of its own? Read the articles below and then attempt the questions that follow.

eBay doubles number of traders with turnover above £1m Guardian, Graeme Wearden (21/8/10)
Why e-commerce IPOs will soon be the smarter buy VentureBeat, Owen Thomas (18/8/10)
Small businesses prosper in eBay’s millionaires’ club InternetRetailing, Chloe Rigby (21/8/10)
Ecommerce technology is retail investment priority: report InternetRetailing, Chloe Rigby (13/8/10)
Move into ecommerce could transform the Scottish economy Sunday Herald, Colin Donald (22/8/10)
Small businesses ‘tend to be a risk’ to lenders BBC Today Programme (23/8/10)

Questions

  1. What advantages does e-commerce have for SMEs: (a) in the startup phase; (b) over the long term?
  2. What are meant by ‘network economies’? Does eBay offer such economies to SMEs?
  3. Follow the links in the above articles to study the experience of two specific online SMEs and identify the strengths and weaknesses of their business strategies.
  4. What considerations might an SME take into account that is currently trading on eBay or Amazon in deciding whether to set up its own website and trade directly from that?
  5. Why may a move into e-commerce prove particularly beneficial to the Scottish economy? Would this apply to all online SMEs or only certain types?