Is there anything that you can’t buy online?  You name it, and there is a 99% chance you can order it on your computer and have it delivered to your door, sometimes on the same day.  The astonishing rise of online shopping has accelerated dramatically in recent years and shows no sign of stopping. If you’re a retailer and don’t have an online offer, you’re almost certainly missing a trick

The common name for this is eCommerce, and it is a vast industry. In 2016, total online sales volumes added up to $2 trillion, and that number is growing year on year.

The convenience of this seemingly effortless way to shop is based on highly innovative work. Researchers and coders are beavering away in the background developing the technology, apps, software and supporting processes that help to bring those exciting packages to our homes.

And it’s the efforts involved in developing these eCommerce processes that could very well qualify for R&D tax credits.

What are UK R&D Tax Credits?

I’ve explained this is another blog that you can find hereHowever, in short, for qualifying R&D activity, you can get a credit of 33p for every pound that you have spent on research. The Government has a dedicated R&D tax credit fund designed to incentivise and encourage UK Research and Development.

For online retail businesses, R&D tax credits certainly apply to the development of your proprietary eCommerce systems. Interestingly, that can also include business-specific modifications to ‘off-the-shelf’ software as long as you have made substantial changes.

Given the amount of human resource and investment this kind of activity absorbs the associated R&D tax credits will always be worth pursuing.

R&D In The eCommerce Supply Chain

A useful exercise to identify your potential for R&D tax credits is to examine your end-to-end supply chain.  Look at this through the lens of the effort required to implement and maintain these steps and soon, a substantial R&D tax credit application could emerge.  Key areas could be:

Your website – what work have you done to ensure this aligns with your customer promise and policies? What have you done concerning customer authentication, stock control or integration with your back-office systems? 
The application of cutting-edge tech.  Have you implemented in areas such as augmented reality, machine learning, enhanced security or a marketleading way for clients to ‘try before they buy’?
Have you improved your internal processes to enable enhanced delivery times, stock control, better security and privacy or predictive analytics?

All are areas where the Enso team can help you find qualifying R&D.

An Eye On The Future

The eCommerce revolution is only just starting.

Every day sees the implementation of new technology that further automates online shopping. We’ll soon see the personalisation of delivered online content that aligns with your unique tastes supplemented by VR systems that help you confirm their recommendations are ‘so you’.

The full integration of desktop, mobile and smart devices will bring the ability to place your orders across platforms or just by saying ‘Alexa/Google/Siri, order me…’

Allied to this work will be the need for bulletproof payment technologies and crucially the identification and cyber protection processes that will be required to maintain confidence in the new systems

When you consider Amazon spent $17bn on R&D in 2017, you can be sure that those advances will filter down to become everyday eCommerce functionality.

You can be equally sure that firms who implement these innovations also will generate qualifying R&D tax credits should they care to look for them. And with a government fund of £1.5bn to draw from it makes a great deal of sense to find and exploit the R&D potential in your eCommerce business.

The team at Enso are experts in the financial aspects of R&D and will be delighted to help you find the R&D tax credits that your eCommerce efforts have undoubtedly generated.

Get In Touch

If you want to find out the potential for an R&D Tax Credit claim for your eCommerce company call my team today on 07792 686479 or email me at adam@meetenso.co.uk and let’s talk about your company’s eCommerce activities and how you can get the tax credits you deserve.

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