More Aussie SMEs turn to eCommerce to drive growth

Businesses not already online often feel overwhelmed and aren’t sure where to start. The best thing to do is to create a simple digital business strategy and one that harnesses eCommerce to drive growth.

More than half of Australia’s SMEs (54%) are using eCommerce to drive growth, with 95% making most of their online sales to customers in Australia, according to the 2016 Sensis eBusiness Report.

Sensis Commercial Director Mr Rob Tolliday said: “For those using eCommerce, online sales have grown from 32% to 43% of their total sales over the past four years. And while a quarter are selling to overseas customers, only 2% are making most of their sales to this group.”

“Selling online has become increasingly important as fewer shops have a physical store front and those that do have to battle with major overseas retailers who have landed in the key shopping strips,” he said.

The study, from digital expert Sensis, surveyed 1000 Australian SMEs and 800 Australian consumers about their online experiences and found that more than seven in 10 Australians (71%) made purchases online this year, up 10 percentage points from last year.

Overall, the most popular items bought online are airline tickets (up from 47% to 53%), clothing, accessories or shoes (up from 51% to 57%) and hotel reservations (up from 47% to 53%), with the average consumer spending $3,300 for the year (down from $4,400).

“While sites such as Amazon offer consumers more choice, the falling Aussie dollar has seen overseas purchases remain steady, with less than a quarter of online purchases being made on overseas sites,” said Tolliday.

More transactions are occurring online. But businesses and consumers remain concerned about hacking. About 69% of businesses and 85% of consumers worry someone might interfere with their online transactions.

“We’ve all had a Nigerian Bank offer us a large sum of money in exchange for personal details and the issues with the recent Census no doubt increased people’s concern about the safety of their information online. Businesses using eCommerce need to ensure their online sales environment is trustworthy and legitimate,” said Tolliday.

Other key findings from the 2016 Sensis eBusiness Report are:

  • More than six in 10 (61%) SMEs now have a website (up from 56%), and 43% of those are optimised for mobile devices (up from 35%)
  • Almost six in 10 (59%) believe it is important to be on page one of a Google search (up from 46%)
  • Only 19% of businesses have a digital business strategy (up from 17%)
  • Expenditure on software and hardware was down from $9830 to $9111 last year, with expectations it will fall further to $8342 this year

“Of those businesses that don’t have a mobile-friendly website almost two-thirds have no plans to upgrade. This is a risky strategy, given Google’s search algorithm preferences mobile friendly sites and customers now expect a seamless digital experience on any device,” said Tolliday.

“Businesses not already online often feel overwhelmed and aren’t sure where to start. The best thing to do is to create a simple digital business strategy. This will help them choose the right products and services to target their customers, while only spending what they can afford,” said Tolliday.

“While your website can be a crucial destination for your customers, not all businesses have one. Of those businesses without a web presence, almost one in five are listed in a directory, some are featured on third party websites and others are on social media. So your strategy can be tailored to your budget and marketing priorities.”

Inside Small Business

No comments | be the first to comment

Comment Manually

Read more


FREE NEWS BRIEFS Get breaking news delivered