Digital widening gap between small businesses and their customers

New research revealed that Australia’s small businesses could be reaching more customers and making more sales more often if they go digital in their technologies.

Drawing on the findings of the recent 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report, Telstra Executive Director, Small Business, Brendan Donohoe said the evidence showed small businesses were missing critical opportunities to meet the wants and needs of the contemporary consumer.

“Digital technology is helping create big opportunities for small businesses – but only for those who embrace it,” Donohoe said. “Our report shows small businesses are trying to meet customer expectations but are at times falling short, often acting on ‘gut feel’ or relying on traditional ways of doing business.

“The gap between what customers want and what small businesses are delivering shows up in how customers find businesses, how they prefer to interact and what keeps them loyal and coming back,” he pointed out.

Donohoe said that while digital technology was a key opportunity for Australia’s small businesses to be more competitive and find more customers, change was required.

“Where we see a real opportunity for some small businesses is being open to change, safely putting a toe in the water with digital technology and in return, delivering a great experience for customers,” he said.

The report was released as part of the launch of the 2018 Telstra Business Awards, which has been updated to reflect the changing nature of Australia’s small and medium business sector and the significant role technology plays in business.

Jen Geale from 2017 Telstra Queensland Micro Business Award winner, Mountain Bikes Direct, said that the Awards provided her with invaluable credibility and more reason to trust her business, gaining her new customers, and access to strong and valuable networks.

Based on their past experience in retail, the Co-Founders of Mountain Bikes Direct opened a purely online store, as a response to a shift in consumer buying habits. Ms Geale, who believes eCommerce has helped to set the business apart in the market, said the use of technology cannot be over-estimated.

“Everything we do is in the cloud. So, we can have staff in multiple locations in Australia, and overseas. We’re now able to hire the best people, no matter where they are located, and have them working all sorts of odd hours according to when our customers shop,” Ms Geale said.

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