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Brit web firms tweet way out of slump

Social media, weak pound blessed by bosses

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Tweeting and faffing with Facebook are helping British internet businesses avoid the economic slump, according to a survey by Sage Pay.

Brit web stores grew an average 49 per cent in the past 12 months, and three-quarters of them reported using social media to drive sales, according to the poll's findings. Sage Pay, a payment-processing service and a division of business software company Sage, surveyed 1,000 British businesses of all sizes and types in May and June for their annual "benchmark report".

Sage found UK e-shops and businesses significantly ramped up their social media presence last year. Seventy-six per cent of the firms surveyed are now using Twitter to communicate with customers, double the number that were using the channel in 2010. Sage Pay also found that 76 per cent of online retailers now have their own Facebook page, up 18 points from last year's report, which found 58 per cent of top performing sites used Facebook.

Other factors have played well for British e-tailers in the last 12 months with 57 per cent of them taking advantage of the weak Pound to expand into international territories. France, Germany and Spain were the most popular destinations for business expansion, but Britain's web-based exporters are finding success across the world, notably in China, where nearly one in five respondents said they now have a presence.

According to Sage, mobile retail is the next challenge for online shops. Other useful tips for webmasters uncovered by the poll include offering a speedy payment service, easy to use site navigation, offering next-day delivery, and enticing customers with special offers. ®

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