UK businesses are struggling to maximise the revenue potential of digital technology, new research has discovered.
Despite most (81%) of companies investing in desktop e-commerce and nearly half (49%) in m-commerce, only 19% of total annual revenue currently comes from those platforms, according to the study by Salmon.
When asked to pinpoint the challenges faced in maximising the potential of digital commerce, 41% of respondents claimed the biggest battle for developing e-commerce was the issue of integration with traditional sales channels, such as face-to-face and in-store.
>See also: What is a true digital enterprise?
Handling customer service (37%) and managing the distribution of products when selling to customers (35%) were also noted as challenges.
However, businesses need little convincing of the advantages of digital sales channels and in many cases are already experiencing them – 89% of luxury retailers with a mobile sales channel have experienced benefits as a result.
Additionally, more than two thirds (69%) of respondents highlighted the ability to collect customer data and target customers more accurately as key benefits.
Despite the revenue opportunities digital commerce brings, it is clear that businesses face challenges in turning benefits, such as improved brand awareness, into increased sales.
The situation is not helped by lack of clear responsibility – 67% don’t have a dedicated team in place – or a plan to deal with the pace of change, with over half (51%) agreeing their organisation does not have the skills to maximise the potential of digital technologies.
Looking ahead, as digital technology continues to innovate and new services come into play, businesses are preparing to take advantage, with almost half of all organisations (49%) planning to invest in the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables within the next five years.
“British businesses are certainly exploiting digital sales channels but the fact is that they can do more to realise their full potential,” said Neil Stewart, CEO of Salmon. “Rushing ahead with emerging digital technologies before mastering the basics is unlikely to reap the revenue returns we all hope for.
“Digital commerce has the potential to be as vital to UK plc – whether B2B or consumer-facing – as it is to the lives of the general public. Businesses need to think long and hard about the role digital commerce can play in their organisations and go on a journey to realising that potential, implementing strategies which suit the bespoke needs of their customers.”