13 August 2012

5000 Kiwi Businesses GetOnLine with Westpac and MYOB

Less than two months after the launch of a nationwide initiative to help more New Zealand businesses get the benefits of having a website, the campaign is halfway towards its target, with over 5,000 businesses signing up for a free website and domain name through GetOnline.co.nz.

In early June, Westpac and MYOB announced they would like to see 10,000 New Zealand businesses, especially SMEs, establish a web presence in the next year to improve the performance of their business.

Westpac General Manager Business Banking Ian Blair says the response to the campaign in just two months has exceeded all expectations, with businesses flocking to GetOnline.co.nz to set up a free website and claim their free domain name.

“It has been fantastic to see so many businesses keen to take part – and take advantage of all the opportunities of the online economy,” says Mr Blair.

“Clearly this is an initiative that is filling a significant need for local businesses, and the response reflects the demand by Kiwi businesses to be found and become more competitive online.”

The GetOnline.co.nz initiative allows businesses to create a website in 15 minutes and an e-commerce capable site that handles ordering and payments in under an hour. The sites are free for the first 12 months, with businesses also able to register a personalised domain name and matching email addresses.

MYOB general manager Julian Smith says getting online offers a wide range of benefits to local businesses.

“80% of Kiwis search online first for a product or service – while currently only 35% of businesses have a website,” says Julian Smith. “That represents a significant competitive advantage for any business that can be found by customers online.”

“Beyond just being found, businesses also report a wide range of advantages stemming directly from operating a website, from increased revenue to better sales conversion.”

According to the MYOB Business Monitor, a nationwide survey of over 1000 businesses, in the year to March 2012:

  • 42% of businesses with a website increased their revenue, compared to 29% without a website
  • 30% of businesses have enjoyed increased revenue directly as a result of having a website
  • 35% of businesses with a website say it has made them more competitive
  • 43% report more customer leads, and 35% report a better conversion rate
  • 26% have been able to sell overseas as a result of operating a website

One local business already seeing the benefits of operating their own website is Poetry and Cloth (www.poetryandcloth.com), run by local artist Kerri Devine. Poetry and Cloth sells screenprints, photographs and organic clothing and Devine says Atlas has opened up a whole new world of opportunities.

"I have found Atlas to be great, very easy to use and set up even if you have no prior knowledge of creating an online presence,” says Kerri Devine.

“I think it makes a great difference to your business to have a professional website that customers can easily navigate, browse through your items, and then use a secure method of payment. Sales are beginning to pick up, and people are finding the site very easy to use.”

Julian Smith says Westpac and MYOB hope to surpass the 10,000 target as soon as possible, and set new levels of online engagement for New Zealand business.

“We’re definitely not stopping at 10,000 – we’ll see how far the year takes us and how many businesses we can help establish a web presence,” says Mr Smith.

“Our ultimate aim is to help the New Zealand business community become as connected as possible and enjoy all the advantages of the global digital economy.”

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