Practical Ecommerce

Survey: Ecommerce Entrepreneurs Use Accounting, Development Services Most

More than 40 percent of ecommerce operators responding to a recent survey said their company used professional tax, accounting, web design, or web development services.

This Practical eCommerce survey sought to understand which professional services ecommerce owners and operators use, as related to the technology that the businesses employed and their revenue size.

Tax and Accounting Services

Some 41.3 percent of all survey respondents said that their company used professional accounting or tax preparation services, making this professional services segment the most used by a narrow margin over web development and web design.

Interestingly, respondents whose businesses earned more than $10 million in annual revenue were the most likely to use professional tax preparation or accounting services. The next most likely category of Internet merchant to use those services were respondents whose ecommerce businesses generated between $101,000 and $500,000 in annual revenue.

It is possible that these two groups represent key changes or transition points in business operations. For example, at $101,000 to $500,000 in annual sales, accounting and tax preparation tasks may have become too difficult for many small operators or sole proprietors to manage. But, these companies are not yet large enough to invest in staff accountants.

Likewise, ecommerce businesses with more than $10 million in annual revenue may be investing in outside auditors or accounting systems implementation consultancies.

Web Design Services

Approximately four in ten survey respondents said that their companies had used the services of a professional web designer. Designers are generally concerned with basic website implementation, including coding HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and basic content management implementations; like putting ecommerce platforms in place. They may also act as graphic designers.

Many professional web designers work in agencies, which may explain why 100 percent of respondents whose business generated more than $10 million in annual ecommerce revenue said that their company used a web design professional.

Regardless of ecommerce revenues, this was an important category, with 40 percent of all respondents saying their company had used a professional web designer.

Web Development Services

Web developers help ecommerce businesses customize shopping cart platforms; integrate store systems with accounting, fulfillment, or marketing software; and create custom applications. It was clear that survey respondents valued these services.

Since web development is often associated with some form of customization, it is not surprising that relatively larger companies tended to be more likely to use professional web development services.

Specifically, half of respondents whose ecommerce business earned gross revenue between $501,000 and $1 million, 57.1 percent of respondents representing businesses with $1 million to $9.9 million in revenues, and 66.7 percent of respondents from businesses with greater than $10 million in annual revenues used web development services.

Other Services

Of the other services that ecommerce businesses used, two stood out for their relative performance in the survey. Search engine optimization services used by 30.7 percent of all respondents, and graphic design services used by 33.3 percent of all respondents, were higher percentages than survey planners had anticipated.

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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Comments ( 2 )

  1. Kelly August 20, 2009 Reply

    So in other words, 60% of all respondents who make their income from ecommerce don’t use a professional web designer/developer? Wow! That’s surprising to me. Hiring someone who knows the ins and outs of everything from SEO to good cart integration seems like it should be a no brainer!

  2. Armando Roggio August 20, 2009 Reply

    @Kelly. I know what you mean. But remember these are outside, contractor or freelance web designers. If a company has an in-house designer, they would be part of the 60 percent.