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Almost 40 Percent of Businesses Still Not Selling Online, Study Finds

These days, it's widely assumed that most businesses are selling directly to customers via the internet. However, surprisingly, a Grant Thornton survey found that 39 percent of businesses are not yet selling online. Online sales might seem like a dream come true — you reach larger markets with no middlemen, at higher margins — but, according to the Grant Thornton survey, the dream can easily turn into a nightmare.

Almost 40 Percent of Businesses Still Not Selling Online, Study Finds

Businesses know that an online platform opens them up to new revenue streams, but executing an efficient and effective system can be difficult and daunting. To move sales online, a company typically needs a capital or debt infusion that adds additional risk, and this is something that not many businesses are willing to do. Additionally, businesses are invested in their existing channels and are concerned about alienating their customers.

Some other highlights from the Grant Thornton Strategic Source and Sell survey include:

• Roughly a third of all organizations derive sales from all three primary channels – direct to customers, through retailers/dealers, and through distributors

• Organizations that sell via all three primary channels reported average profit before interest and taxes (PBIT) of 16.9 percent, vs. 12.8 percent for those selling into two channels and 13.6 percent for those selling into one channel

• Businesses with no online sales the average PBIT was 13.3 percent, compared to 14.9 percent for those selling through their own or third party sites and 17.7 percent for those selling via both own website and others’ websites

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