More than 10,000 New Zealand businesses are now operating online because they took advantage of the tools provided by GetOnline.co.nz, a recent Westpac and MYOB initiative designed to help local businesses create a website.
With 80% of the country’s consumers researching via the internet before making a purchase decision, this makes a sizeable difference to the competitive ability of the participating businesses.
GetOnline gives Kiwi companies a free domain name, and enables them to build their own business website free of charge for one year.
Westpac and MYOB committed publicly to a one-year goal of getting 10,000 businesses online through the program when it launched in June 2012. That target was achieved in eight months and demand is still strong.
Businesses based in Auckland have shown the highest demand for GetOnline, with over 33% of the websites created coming from the region, followed by 13% in Canterbury and 11% in Wellington. The industries that were most likely to take up the opportunity were business services (28%), retail (25%) and construction and trade (16%).
MYOB General Manager Business Division James Scollay says the boost in online presence would be one of the most significant take-ups of internet technology in a single year by New Zealand SMEs.
“It’s wonderful to see so many local businesses taking advantage of the GetOnline program. They’re now profiting from the opportunities that arise from being visible online,” he says.
“We’re delighted to be empowering business owners to discover that a wide range of benefits stem directly from having a business website, including increased revenue, wider audience reach and better sales conversations. Not to mention the ability to better stand their ground amongst their local and international peers.
“Websites considerably improve businesses’ ability to reach customers in a cost effective, measurable way. A considerable competitive advantage is achieved by any business that can be found online by potential and existing customers.”
Scollay says that while GetOnline has been a great success so far, about two-thirds of Kiwi SMEs are still without a website.
“More than three quarters of New Zealanders research their purchase decisions online yet less than one third of SMEs have a website. There’s room for improvement, and by partnering with Westpac we’re hoping to help drive that improvement.”
Westpac General Manager Business Banking Mark Fitz-Gerald says GetOnline is a perfect solution for small and medium businesses restricted by time, budget and resources, as the tools provided are designed to be easy and efficient.
“GetOnline is part of Westpac’s Grow NZ initiative and one of a number of ways we are helping local companies develop their business and encouraging smart investment to support future economic growth,” Mr Fitz-Gerald says.
“The internet is a boundary breaker and a business website is an essential tool for communicating with your existing customers, and a brilliant and cost-effective way to put your company in front of potential customers.”
Westpac hosted workshops with MYOB around the country to assist businesses get online and maximise the opportunity. Westpac provided further support releasing Bizpac, a bundle of tailored banking solutions for SMEs.
“Businesses responded to the opportunity, significantly increasing the number of New Zealand SMEs online,” Mr Fitz-Gerald says. “The uptake has been excellent and we are pleased to be helping New Zealand businesses grow and achieve their goals.”
Recent MYOB research found 43% of SME owners and managers said having a website - rather than using any other promotional vehicle - has led to more customer enquiries and interest. 31% said they had increased their income or revenue thanks to their website.
- Ends -
GetOnline.co.nz is an initiative from Westpac and MYOB. It is designed to help New Zealand businesses get online, offering a smart, effective website – free for the first 12 months.
Powered by the MYOB Atlas website builder, businesses can:
- create a website in under 15 minutes or an e-commerce capable website in under one hour
- claim a personalised domain name with matching email address
- deploy a mobile version of their website, optimised for smartphones
- create an online store
- create a payments page to accept invoice payments online
- access Google tools to help the business be found online
- choose from customised themes
- integrate 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