Google is launching a competition to find the best independent retail website in the UK. The Best of British Web Competition aims to inspire small retailers to make the most of their websites and reap the business rewards of being online.
According to Google, the search for an e-champion is part of its continued efforts to help small business get online for the first time. It reports 40% of SMBs (Small and Medium Businesses) in the UK do not have a website. Of those businesses not online, 60% do not feel that having a website is necessary – many still see it as too costly or too complicated, said Google.
According to Google, SMBs that actively use the internet grow four times faster than those who remain offline. Google hopes its competition will encourage businesses that do not yet have a website to set one up for free and expand their business potential.
Over one and a half million SMBs in the UK are run entirely online, with no offline premises, according to a recent survey by IPSOS. Entrepreneurs with web know-how have learnt to capitalise on the internet without incurring some of the usual start-up costs. Google is determined to help more small retailers take advantage of the internet’s potential and help the UK economy grow by encouraging SMBs to use its free and simple website builder at www.gbbo.co.uk.
Google is also aiming for 50,000 businesses to download its new website guides by the end of the year to help small businesses improve their existing online presence. The new Google Guides offer expert hints and tips for businesses looking to improve their existing websites, and are available for free online, it said.
The Boston Consulting Group estimates the UK internet economy is now worth £100bn, representing 7.2% of UK GDP, so it’s is more important than ever for small businesses to enjoy the benefits of being online, said Google.
Matt Brittin, managing director, Google UK, said: “We know the UK retail industry is bursting with fantastic websites so we’re excited about searching for the very best. We want to showcase the best websites and help tech-savvy businesses to inspire those who are not online. We’re out to prove that getting online is fast, easy and inexpensive – small businesses which aren’t online are missing out on customers and on growth. Our Getting British Business Online (GBBO) tool is free to use for the first year and our new Google Guides will help make it easy for anyone to create a website.”
Janet O’Callaghan, a florist in Leeds who set up a GBBO website last year, said: “I opened my florist last year and have catered for weddings, funerals, parties and events since I started the business. I didn’t want the additional cost of setting up a website so Getting British Business Online was just what I needed. Lots of the enquiries I receive are a direct result of people visiting my website. Being online means I can advertise all my services in one place and reach potential customers beyond those in my local area.”
The competition is free to enter and is open to all small retailers that operate in the UK with 50 full-time staff or less.
Businesses can enter online today by providing details of their website at www.gbbo.co.uk. The competition closes on 26 June 2011 when a panel of experts will judge the entries based on several criteria including web design, usability, content and web standards. Entrants will be asked to explain how the website has impacted their business, how they promoted the website and the results they have seen.
The overall winner will be posted on www.gbbo.co.uk/competition/winners in July 2011. In addition to the title of e-champion and promotion on Google’s Getting British Business Online website, the winner will receive a selection of Google products, which will also be announced in July. See rules at www.gbbo.co.uk/competition/termsandconditions for full details.