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Online retailers will turn to the high street in 2014

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The research found that one in six online SME retailers intend to open their own shop or get a presence for their products in established shops in 2014.

More than half of retailers (54 per cent) said that online competition was getting more fierce, and six in ten said that this was because of more entrants to the market.

In September Real Business spoke to Gareth Williams, CEO of sofa.com, about how online retailers can use bricks-and-mortar to compete with bigger competitors.

He said: “Consumers expect a big online space where they can buy pretty much anything as well as a showroom where they can check the products out.

“Retailers are going to have to find the right balance between real-world physical overhead and online pricing.”

Nick Landon, Managing Director of Royal Mail Parcels, said: “UK SME online retailers are thinking carefully about how they can develop their businesses during 2014. They are concentrating on exploiting as many channels to market as possible, adding space in physical premises and online marketplace listings to complement their existing web channel.

“In addition, they are concentrating on how to price competitively while increasing the range and quality of their goods.”

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