Small businesses who have embraced e-commerce are 33 per cent more likely to have reported a profit increase in the 2011-12 financial year, according to an American Express survey.

The survey also found one-in-three small businesses have made their products available for purchase online with as many as two in three smaller retailers now using e-sales channels.

Smaller retailers in particular have embraced online channels for their business, with those that have implemented e-sales saying it accounts for 63 per cent of their revenue and 44 per cent expect an increase in this type of trade in the next 12 months.

“With 25 per cent of those who haven’t already established an e-sales strategy now thinking about doing so in the next 12 months, it is clear that more and more small business retailers understand the importance of getting online,” Amelia Zaina, head of marketing and customer engagement, small business services at American Express, said.

Another online channel that is proving a success among retailers in the small business sector is social media. One in three retailers said it helped them grow several ways including sourcing new customers (65 per cent), generating new sales (53 per cent) and raising brand awareness (39 per cent).

“For retailers to remain competitive may mean not only changing the way they market their business, but also the way in which they make sales,” Zaina said.