E-Commerce deployment in UK SMEs: an FSB perspective

David Pickernell, Gary Packham, Christopher Miller, WILLIAM JONES

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


    This paper examines E-Commerce usage within UK Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs).There remains debate regarding the effectiveness of SMEs usage of E-Commerce. This study explores the associations between E-Commerce trading exploitation and internal and external antecedents including trading behaviour, Owner/Manager characteristics, innovation, public sector involvement, business advice and finance sources. The study provides a detailed critique of the extant ICT SME literature with particular focus on E-Commerce and its associated antecedents. The current literature suggests that SMEs are not maximising the potential of ICT or E-Commerce and that significant barriers exist in terms of knowledge, skills and insufficient finance which can inhibit further deployment of E-Commerce. The existing debate recognises the need for further research in this area particularly in the identification of key antecedents associated with E-Commerce trading. Data was gathered from the 2008 UK Federation of Small Businesses survey and included 8,700 usable responses. Regression equations were generated determined by the nature of the dependent variable. An OLS equation was generated where the percentage of sales made using E-Commerce was the dependent variable. Independent variables were constructed for a number of factors including innovation, business advice and finance and owner and firm-level variables. The results indicate that E-Commerce trading behaviour is more apparent in SMEs where they had started from scratch and where involved in basic services, high knowledge services or involved in the tourist trade. In addition, SMEs undertaking E-Commerce trading were associated with innovation in the form of copyright and public procurement with local authorities and the University sector. Finally, specific business advice in the form of capacity, family and suppliers was associated with E-commerce Trading. These results have implications predominantly for SMEs and key public sector stakeholders. The results suggest that particular antecedents exist to encourage SME E-Commerce trading activity. SMEs must recognise the importance of several antecedents such as intellectual property rights, specific business advice and finance to encourage E-Commerce trading. Moreover, it was apparent that certain SME characteristics, locality and trading behaviour were associated with effective E-Commerce trading.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationN/A
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2010
    Event 33rd Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship conference - London
    Duration: 2 Nov 20104 Nov 2010


    Conference 33rd Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship conference


    • sme
    • e-commerce


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