Online business is on the upswing: the latest research released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that orders placed online between 2010 and 2011 totalled $189 billion, a 32 per cent increase from the previous year.
The percentage of businesses receiving orders online jumped from 13 per cent to 28 per cent, led by the wholesale trade and manufacturing industries.
“Whether you’re a pizza restaurant or the newsagent around the corner, it’s never been more important to be online,” said Claire Hatton, Google Australia’s Head of Local Business, in a media release. “For the next financial year the priority for every Australian business owner has to be [getting] online and make sure that your customers can find you, quickly and from any device.
“When we are out and about and we need to find the closest florists or locksmith we use our smartphone to find those businesses.”
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According to the 2011 report "The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users" released by Google and Think Mobile, 95 per cent of smartphone users have used their device to look up local information, resulting in over three-quarters of these users contacting the business and nearly half making purchases.
Considering Australia’s high mobile penetration rate – more than half of the population owns a smartphone – it is likely that these figures will rise.
A joint initiative between Google and business/accounting software firm MYOB called “Getting Aussie Businesses Online” will allow any business to create a website in 15 minutes – and it’ll be optimised for mobile access to ensure you don’t lose valuable customers.
“If you own a business and you don’t have a mobile optimised website you are invisible to a large number of clients who will just go to your competitor who’s made the move online already,” said Ms Hatton.