In the Loop: Less than half of Australian businesses have a website

Daniella Doughan
Business and Finance Journalist

Daniella Doughan is a business and finance journalist from Sydney, Australia.

Daniella Doughan
Business and Finance Journalist

Daniella Doughan is a business and finance journalist from Sydney, Australia.

Welcome to In the Loop, our monthly snapshot of Telstra’s research into the state of small business in Australia.

Ever been frustrated at not being able to find a business online? You’re not alone. Surprisingly, only 41 per cent of small businesses in Australia have a website, according to the latest Telstra Loop research. 

A woman working at a laptop in a library

This lack of an online presence may be due to a number of factors. It could be the perceived cost and effort of creating and maintaining a website, not knowing how a website can help businesses and customers, or a simple fear of technology. There’s also the (very wrong!) idea that a website may not be relevant to certain businesses.

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But here’s the thing. A website is often the first port of call for customers seeking contact details and information.

A yoga studio could attract more clients by putting its timetable online, restaurants can entice diners by having their menu on a website, and creatives could showcase their skills with an online portfolio. 

At the very least, all businesses should put their contact and location details online so people know where to find them. If your competitors have a website that can be found when customers search online, how will they even know your business is another option?

Businesses that drag their digital feet just aren’t keeping up with tech-savvy Australian consumers. A massive 79 per cent of internet users in Australia say they prefer to buy online, according to a report published by WebAlive

eMarketer Inc predicts the global e-commerce market will be worth US$3.55 trillion by 2019, accounting for 12.8 per cent of a total $28.55 trillion in global retail sales. 

 

Although social media is an important part of any digital marketing strategy, the control and credibility that comes with your business having its own website, is almost irreplaceable. 

- Daniella Doughan

In 2015, online purchases and transactions in Australia reached about $19 billion, up 9.3 per cent on the previous year. E-commerce was predicted to grow by nearly 6 per cent in Australia in 2016, with another 6.3 per cent boost in 2017 and an increase of 6.6 per cent in 2018. 

While less than half of small businesses surveyed have a website, Telstra Loop insights reveal that 51 per cent of businesses use social media. This could indicate that small businesses are using social media – a Facebook Page, for example – in place of a website. 

Yet although social media is an important part of any digital marketing strategy, the control and credibility that comes with your business having its own website, is almost irreplaceable. 

A website acts as your digital shopfront. It’s where potential customers can find your contact information, location, story and product information. And it helps build exposure with digital marketing campaigns, especially if the site is also an online sales portal. 

There are plenty of affordable options for businesses looking to create a great digital presence. Telstra’s Online Essentials, for example, help you create an online presence for your business with a custom-built website and listings on Google Maps and Yellow Pages. 

Given the number of global internet users will hit an estimated 3.419 billion by January 2017, it makes sense to be where your customers are – online.

This survey is based on the Telstra Loop community of small and medium businesses across Australia. This community is open to small business customers of Telstra, enabling them to provide feedback to Telstra and improve products and services. 

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