Aussie SMEs struggling to navigate online

The Yellow Digital Report released this week reveals that almost seven in ten SMEs with an online presence admit to not having a digital business strategy, despite website ownership being at an all-time high (72 per cent).

The growth in websites is attributed to less reliance on alternative online platforms such as social media or a third-party website – with only 53 per cent relying on such sources as an alternate, a huge drop from 80 per cent in 2017.

Yellow’s Senior Brand Manager Erin Williamson said, “Looking back over the growth in SMEs’ digital exploration, it is evident businesses are understanding the need for an online presence. However, when you look deeper into how that are maintaining their digital business, you find many SMEs are struggling to maximise platforms to best benefit their customer.”

The 2018 study from digital expert Yellow surveyed 1504 consumers and 1003 businesses and found that almost six in ten (57 per cent) SMEs believe their website has increased effectiveness of their business, while the remaining 43 per cent feel it has not.

“With the rapid change in technology, SMEs understand accessibility is key to their business’ success. Despite this, we are still seeing 53 per cent of small to medium business who have a website are yet to mobile optimise their site despite eight in ten consumers accessing the internet via a mobile device. It’s clear SMBs still have a way to go when understanding digital needs,” Williamson said.

“What we also found is that SMEs are concerned about the cost and time associated with implementing eCommerce (21 per cent), and with the average spend on software sitting just over $4000, it becomes apparent that they either don’t have the capacity to invest in digital facilities, or they are simply not prioritising it within their budget.”

When it comes to improving service and convenience, SMEs made it clear this was a business priority, with close to half (48 per cent) of those selling online, offering same or next day delivery. Small businesses (six-10 employees) proved well-ahead of medium (20-199 employees) when offering the speedy service, with 49 per cent providing the option of same or next day delivery, compare with just 28 per cent for medium-sized businesses.

“Over the past few years, Australia has seen the introduction of major international players, such as Amazon enter our already crowded marketplace, and this will only continue,” Williamson said. “It’s clear these large corporations pose a threat within the eCommerce space and it’s slowly becoming evident to small and medium businesses as they begin to feel the pressure. Instead of giving up, it seems they are working to improve their services to combat this.”

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