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Australian firms failing the online test

Wednesday, 29 September 2010 | By Oliver Milman

Only a third of Australian businesses have a website, with many consumers unhappy with the online experience that is served up, according to new research.

 

 

The latest MYOB business monitor found that just 35% of companies have a website, with a mere 18% using social media to promote themselves. This echoes a recent study from Sensis that found that only 17% of firms have a digital strategy.

 

A further 13% of the 1,000 businesses surveyed by MYOB said that they created online newsletters or blogs to market themselves.

 

Firms in the finance and insurance sector were most likely to have an online presence, at 51%, with use of social media most prevalent in South Australia, with 27% of firms using sites such as Facebook or YouTube.

 

However, even those businesses that do have a website are falling short, separate research suggests. A new poll of 700 Australian consumers ahead of National Customer Service Week found that just 5% felt that a company had exceeded their online customer service expectations.

 

By contrast, one in five respondents said that the experience served up by Australian businesses online fell short.

 

Eight in 10 of those polled said that they would look for alternatives if a company’s site wasn’t adequate while 30% will stop doing business with that firm altogether.

 

Referring to the MYOB research, Tim Reed, CEO of the software firm, says: “Social media has received a lot of hype in Australia over the last 12 months so it’s quite interesting to see such a low adoption of these online platforms by Australian businesses.”

 

“Rather than being well established, the results indicate that online marketing is only just emerging in Australia.”

 

“Despite the current low adoption rates of social media and websites, it’s inevitable that the use of online platforms will increase rapidly in Australia as business owners see global competitors using these forums to lure local sales offshore.”

 

“As many US and European case studies have proven, the intelligent use of social media can make business life easier for Australian business owners looking to raise the profile of their business online.”

 

“Online forums are perfect for developing a community of loyal customers that can be contacted at a moment’s notice.”