In the past year more than 11,000 New Zealand businesses (SMEs) have built their presence online with GetOnline.co.nz, an MYOB and Westpac initiative that provides a website builder that makes it easy for every Kiwi business to get online.
Launched in June 2012, GetOnline.co.nz gives local SMEs a free domain name and enables them to build a business website free of charge for one year. In that time participating businesses have received an aggregate of more than 1.3 million visits to their websites.
The industries most likely to take up the GetOnline.co.nz opportunity were business services (27%), retail (25%) and construction and trade (16%). Overall, approximately 2,600 use the e-commerce facility and have 35,000 products available for purchase.
MYOB General Manager Business Division James Scollay says GetOnline.co.nz was designed to assist local SME’s get online in response to finding that more than two-thirds of New Zealand SMEs didn’t have a business website.
“Three quarters of New Zealanders research their purchase decisions online yet only one third have a business website. This means a significant number of New Zealand business owners are missing out on sales and marketing opportunities. Helping another 11,000 kiwi business get online is a great start and we hope to have even more SME’s take advantage of this initiative in the coming year,” he says.
New MYOB Business Monitor research found 44% of SME owners and managers with a website said it has led to more customer enquiries and interest. 36% said they had increased their income or revenue thanks to their website.
Westpac GM Business Banking Mark Fitz-Gerald says the response to the GetOnline.co.nz programme in the first 12 months has been fantastic.
“Clearly this is an initiative that is filling a significant need for local businesses (SMEs),” Mr Fitz-Gerald says. “The response reflects the demand for companies to be visible and become more competitive online. It’s made a material difference to the number of New Zealand businesses operating online.”
Westpac and MYOB supported the programme with advertising and nationwide workshops to assist businesses to get online and maximise the opportunity. Westpac is also providing further support through Bizpac, a bundle of tailored banking solutions for SMEs.
Mr Fitz-Gerald says GetOnline.co.nz is part of Westpac’s Grow NZ initiative and another way that the bank is helping local companies develop their business and encouraging smart investment for growth.
“The internet is a boundary breaker and a business website is an essential tool for communicating with your existing customers and attracting new ones.”
One business owner to have taken advantage is Sandy Hayer, owner of Tummy Mummy NZ.
Ms Hayer runs a small business that sells toxin and chemical-free products for pregnant women and their children and says half of her sales are made via her e-commerce website.
She states, “I don’t think I would have been able to afford to create a website myself, but GetOnline.co.nz made setting up my website extremely easy and cost effective. It has not only enabled me to reach a significantly larger market but also helps me to set targets, as the website provides me with all the information needed to do so. If I didn’t have a website I would lose 50% of my sales.”
According to MYOB research, businesses that regularly update their website, have an image gallery or link to social media capture more leads than their competitors. In fact, businesses with an online image gallery reported experiencing a 349% increase in leads upon creating one, while those that post news receive 40% more leads than those that don’t. Those that link to social media on their website receive 20% more leads. Businesses (SMEs) that do all three - post news, have an image gallery and link to social media on their website - drive five times more e-commerce transactions than their competitors.
GetOnline.co.nz is an initiative from Westpac and MYOB. It is designed to help New Zealand businesses get online, offering a quick and easy website builder – free for the first 12 months.
Powered by the MYOB Atlas website builder, businesses (SMEs) can:
create a website in under 15 minutes or an e-commerce capable website in under one hourclaim a personalised domain name with matching email addressdeploy a mobile version of their website, optimised for smartphones
create an online storecreate a payments page to accept invoice payments onlineaccess Google tools to help the business be found onlinechoose from customised themesintegrate with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+
Through GetOnline.co.nz, MYOB Atlas is free for the first 12 months for any New Zealand business. In the second year businesses have the option of renewing from just $5 per month. Those claiming a free .co.nz domain name with GetOnline.co.nz will need to renew this at their cost after the first 12 months. A .co.nz domain name usually costs around $30 per year.
Consumer Commerce Barometer NZ, April 2010