Clicks catching up with bricks for top Aussie businesses

Media Release, 25 March 2014

Australian companies have embraced the boom of ecommerce, with internet shopping, online sales and marketing closing the gap with physical sales as the primary distribution channel, according to analysis of some of Australia’s best small and medium enterprises.

The results from nearly 600 Business Health Check Reports provided to entrants of the 2013 Telstra Business Awards, shows 75 per cent sell or distribute their products via their physical sales force and 73 per cent use their website.

The analysis shows the direct to customer business model is cutting out middle men, with only 34 per cent using third-party online channels while resellers, agents/brokers and wholesalers were each used by only 10 to 17 per cent of businesses.

With entries for the 2014 Telstra Business Awards open until 31 March, Will Irving, Group Managing Director of Telstra Business and Telstra Business Awards Ambassador, urged businesses to finalise their entries and give themselves the opportunity to receive a free personal Business Health Check. The report evaluates every entrants’ business performance against international benchmarks, current legislation and accepted industry best practice.

“Since the Business Health Check was introduced in 2010, thousands of Awards entrants have found the individual report on their business invaluable as a guide to help them grow by identifying areas to improve,” Mr Irving said.

“Analysis from last year’s entrants shows us that the cream of the crop of small business have a high level of digital maturity – they recognise the importance of regularly updating content, making their websites more search-engine and mobile friendly. With Australians spending $14.9 billion on online retail in the past year, equivalent to 6.5 per cent of spending with bricks and mortar retailers, it is crucial for SMBs to optimise their online channels.

“These businesses have shown us that the bricks versus clicks argument has been surpassed, leading the way instead to adopt innovative ways of combining both, such as ‘click and collect’ where shoppers buy online and collect their purchases from a store.”

Analysis of the performance of the 2013 entrants by the NSW Business Chamber also shows:

  • Social media ranked highest among 15 types of marketing activities used by the 2013 Awards entrants, closely followed by website and referrals marketing. This reversed the result in 2012 when website and referral marketing were the highest used, ahead of social media marketing.
  • SMBs favour less-expensive online activities including social media, email and search engine optimisation - online advertising and mobile marketing do not rate highly among their online activities.
  • Entrants nominated lower-cost activities such as referral marketing as their best performing activity, followed by face-to-face, website and social media marketing. Telemarketing was nominated among the lowest performing activities.

More than $800,000 in prizes is available in 2014 for winners of state, territory and national Telstra Business Awards - a national program that has celebrated brilliant Australian SMBs since 1992. Awards information is available on the Telstra Business Awards website or by calling 1800 AWARDS.