Spark Gets Behind Small Business to Close the Digital Divide

For entrepreneur and small business owner Steve Dunstan it was a no brainer – the traffic coming to his website through a mobile device was mindblowing.

“Mobile is where the future is.”

It was time to evolve.

9 years ago, Steve took his clothing label HUFFER online but it wasn’t until recently they optimised the site for mobile.

Dunstan says 5% of all Huffer sales now come through online.

“We have a multi channel approach, which works for Huffer. People who want the Huffer experience can go to a store and talk to the team.”

“Others who want to be in their living room, on the smartphone laxing out, can shop that way.”

More Kiwis Searching and Buying with their Smartphone.

Each month 57% of Kiwis use the web to search for businesses, products and services, and of those nearly 20% use the internet exclusively.

One third of those searches are now done on a mobile device and that’s predicted grow.

Online Presence Pays Big Dividends.

Consumer trends show more and more people are shopping online.

In 2014 56% of Kiwis spent $4.1 billion online and 45% of Kiwis bought something with their smartphone.

Despite this, New Zealand is experiencing a ‘digital divide’ when it comes to small business, with almost half of them having no online presence:

  • Only 53% have websites.
  • Only 28% of those websites are mobile optimised.

And this means they are missing out.

Last year New Zealand businesses missed out on $1 billion of online spend to overseas competitors.

Tenby Powell, co-founder of New Zealand SME Business Network says the long-term economic impact is concerning.

“From a SME perspective, the spotlight of Digital importance has illuminated a glaring deficiency that, in time, will impact small business growth and performance in New Zealand.”

Powell says the pace of the digital revolution has caught many by surprise.

“Many of our SME businesses are owned by baby-boomers who did not grow up in a digital age,” says Powell.”

But they must adopt and adapt to technological change.

“One hundred million Internet users watch online video each day, of which 64% are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video. This dynamic is important as embedded videos in a website landing page could make all the difference to a sale.”

Closing the Digital Divide for Kiwi Businesses.

Spark wants to help Kiwi businesses on the digital journey, encouraging them to follow the lead of other successful business customers like Steve Dunstan into the online space.

Spark Communications manager for small and medium enterprise, Sally Gordon says Spark Business are focused on getting more SME’s to go digital.

“There are so many small and medium businesses with no online presence and they are missing out.”

“Our goal is to reach out to these businesses to explain that Spark can offer them simple digital solutions including a free mobile optimised website for every Spark mobile business customer.”

“We have many more accessible solutions, like Cloud and Fibre available today and more coming in the near future that can help their business reach new customers.”

As the face of Spark’s iPhone 6s campaign, Dunstan hopes to build awareness amongst other small business owners around the advantages of taking your business online.

“Most definitely do it, and make it mobile first.”

Advantages Tenby Powell says are crucial to our global success.

“Without being able to offer new and advantaged products and services New Zealand will fall behind the rest of the world.”