Despite the increasing importance of having an online presence two thirds of Australian businesses say they still don’t have a website, according to the MYOB Business Monitor survey.
Despite the low numbers more than half of surveyed business owners agreed that the internet was a critical channel for marketing and promoting their businesses.
The survey shows that 30% of businesses with a website increased revenue during the past year, compared to 23% without a site.
MYOB CEO Tim Reed says he is surprised by the results given the growing trend for people to shop online.
“This Christmas saw local retailers face a perfect storm as a strong Aussie dollar and higher consumer confidence in online shopping led more Australians to purchase goods online,” he says.
“A website presence is a relatively low-cost way for small business to punch above its weight but businesses were failing to tap into the opportunities.”
Newer start-ups were more likely to use a website as part of their business operations and marketing.
The survey shows that 65% of business less than two years old have a website compared to 32% of businesses between five and 10 years old and only 25% of businesses aged over 10 years.
The survey reveals that 73% of businesses don’t use email marketing, 82% don’t use social media and 85% don’t sell anything online.
Some business owners believe they don’t need an online presence because their customers don’t purchases their goods or services online.
While the point of sale might not be online most introductions between business and customers now happen on the internet via online web searches.
That is highlighted via the 13% revenue slump experienced by Yellow Pages owner Sensis during the past six months.
Foad Fadaghi, research director at Telsyte, says: “There are a number of digital channels available that don’t include a website. Being on Facebook, Twitter or using Google maps integration is great for business.”
A great example, Fadaghi explains, is restaurants.
“Lots of restaurants don’t have websites but they are listed on restaurant websites or are able to be found via various food-based iPhone apps,” he says.
He says it’s possible to operate without a website but suggests “the best strategies are the comprehensive ones, using multiple digital channels”.