MISSISSAUGA, Ont.– According to a recent UPS Canada survey, the majority of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) agree that e-commerce plays an important role in their business (62 per cent). The first of two parts of the Small Business Challenges survey, conducted by Leger, reveals a company’s website (64 per cent) and Facebook (40 per cent) are the most frequently used e-commerce channels.
“What we’re hearing from our customer’s corresponds with the data; we spend a great deal of time understanding their platforms and inputting solutions to maximize efficiencies,” says Jim Bena, vice-president of marketing, UPS Canada.
“E-commerce is a prominent component of business and customers are expecting a seamless experience across multiple channels.”
“By expanding our e-commerce site we’ve seen our online sales match those of our in-store sales and I doubt it will be long until they surpass them,” says Kyle Van Der Velden, owner of North American Quality Purveyors, a local Calgary menswear distributor. “UPS has been extremely useful for sending goods internationally, which has helped broaden our customer base to almost every continent.”
“Four in five SMEs surveyed engage in e-commerce and we are seeing innovative approaches being taken to tackle challenges such as regulatory obstacles,” adds Bena.
One such recent regulatory challenge is Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). Some 53 per cent of respondents indicated that the time and costs to manage new regulations such as CASL is restricting their business growth. CASL came into effect July 1, 2014 to ensure consent when commercial electronic messages are sent to Canadians.
Only half of respondents (48 per cent) to the UPS survey said that they have a plan in place to address CASL. A further quarter of respondents (23 per cent) revealed that they plan to use their e-commerce channels that are in compliance with consent regulations to counter the impact of Canada’s anti-spam legislation to their marketing initiatives. After a company website and Facebook, email (23 per cent) tied for third place with in-store/in-person interactions and Twitter are most frequently used within the SMEs’ toolkit for providing an omnichannel experience.
Other important findings from the UPS Canada Small Business Challenges survey include:
• 35 per cent agree that CASL has forced their business to find new ways to market their product to customers
• Two-thirds of SMEs surveyed feel that e-commerce is ‘an important part of our business’ (62 per cent)
• 75 per cent agree that mobile and digital communications, including e-commerce, is essential to the future competitiveness of their business