Micro businesses shouldn’t overlook the opportunities afforded by mobile optimisation, with new statistics revealing one in three Google web searches on mobile devices are local in nature.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian businesses received online orders worth $189 billion in the 12 months to 2010-11. This figure is up from $143 billion in 2009-10.
It includes orders received from Australian households, businesses and government, as well as orders received from overseas customers.
The proportion of businesses that said they received orders via the internet increased by 13% to 28%.
More than half of the businesses in the wholesale trade and manufacturing industries reported receiving orders online (52% and 50% respectively), while retail came in sixth place (35%).
Meanwhile, more than half (51%) of Australian businesses reported placing orders via the internet, up 9% since 2009-10.
Encouragingly, businesses reporting a web presence increased from 40% to 43%. However, the growth appears to be coming from the big end of town.
According to the ABS, 97% of large businesses have a web presence, compared to only one-third of micro businesses, which are businesses that employ up to four employees.
As a result, small business owners are being urged to embrace the web, particularly the advantages of website mobile optimisation, highlighted by Google.
According to Google, one in five Google web searches is local in nature. On mobile devices, that number increases to one in three.
On any given day, Google receives more searches for pizza than for US singer Lady Gaga, suggesting local searches are more prevalent than other searches.
On weekends, the difference is even more pronounced. Australians search up to 10 times more for pizza than for Lady Gaga.
Claire Hatton, head of local business at Google Australia, says it has never been more important to be online, whether you operate “a pizza restaurant or the newsagent around the corners”.
“For the next financial year, the priority for every Australian business owner has to be [to] get online and make sure that your customers can find you, quickly and from any device,” she says.
“When we are out and about, and we need to find the closest florists or locksmith, we use our smartphone to find those businesses.”
“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.”
“Clearly, mobile is something that is a huge trend. Over 50% of Australians have a smartphone in their pocket right now, and by the end of the year three out of four will have one.”
“Not having a mobile optimised site has the same impact [on sales] as deciding to close on a Tuesday.”