Why go digital?

Whether it's creating an eCommerce business and selling online or using cloud-based software to automate everyday business tasks, now is the time to grab the digital bull by the horns.


The internet of everything

From the wheel to penicillin, electricity to the internet, technology keeps the world moving and improving. Over the past few centuries, new technologies have extended our life spans, helped make our jobs easier - at work and home - and provided us with more leisure time.

New technologies have also changed the way we buy, sell and do business. Also, the current internet age combined with the shock of a global pandemic has accelerated many of those trends.

So whether it's building a professional online business to sell products or using cloud-based software to automate everyday business tasks, there's never been a better time to dive into the eCommerce market.

Better for your customers

TNS research showed that 97% of internet users now search online for product information before making a significant purchase. Digital is, therefore, a crucial part of the customer journey on the way to the ‘moment of truth' or when they make a purchase.

Customers want to see your retail store or business online because:

  • Customer behaviour and preferences change rapidly, from the adoption of video conferencing for work or a training course, school and catch-ups, to the growth of online shopping and the use of streaming services.
  • Most businesses selling goods in bricks and mortar stores in New Zealand are still quite popular. However, now more than ever, it's vital to have a website up and running, as online researching, browsing, booking, and buying are on the rise. In 2018, total sales in the retail sector reached $4.2 billion in New Zealand, according to NZ Post research, and that's been growing steadily over the years.
  • Spending on domestic websites was up by 16% on the previous year. So while it might seem challenging for your online store to compete with big, international competitors, there's increasing demand for local options online - and that ‘buy local' sentiment has become even stronger.
  • They're spending a lot more time on social media.
  • According to Visa research from the UK, while 46% of customers checked a company's website before visiting the physical store, only 54% had an online presence. 

Better for your business

When you create an online business in NZ, you need to consider more than meeting your clients' changing needs. Your online shop must employ affordable, easy-to-use technology solutions accessible from anywhere that can help manage those changes and make life easier.

Going digital could help your business by:

  • Solving the long hours. According to a Ministry of Business survey conducted in early 2019, 62% of SMEs wanted to grow, but to do that, we need to be working smarter, not longer. And that's where productivity-improving tools like cloud-based accounting software, collaboration software and analytics platforms come in to help your online business.
  • Being well-placed to move quickly and learn new skills. There's plenty of research showing that any business that invests in digital tools and IT and moves away from cash, paper-based accounts, and other manual tasks is more likely to save time and money and improve productivity. For example, according to research by Visa in the UK, on average, it takes 758 hours to process $200,000 in payments using non-digital methods, but just 103 hours using digital. That's time that you could spend marketing your business and promoting sales through your site.

The rise of online marketplaces


An online marketplace is where you list a product or service for sale on a third-party eCommerce platform (like TradeMe, Amazon, or even UberEats). In addition, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are also developing their marketplaces. Plus, you'll find a host of other smaller, local options that curate products and services. So how do you choose the right platform for your online store?

  • Pick the right marketplace. Think about the offerings you sell on your site, who your target audience is, what e-commerce stores they visit, as well as your price points. Finally, consider how much each marketplace takes from you as a commission and whether the extra costs you'll pay are worth it.
  • Make sure your site or page includes any information that potential customers need to know. For example, compelling visuals, information about the product itself (e.g. dimensions, weight etc.), your brand, costs and any shipping information.
  • Make sure your title and description include relevant keywords for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). SEO will help your listing appear in as many searches as possible in order to attract more organic web traffic to your ecommerce store. Find customers by identifying what they are searching for and adapt what you're selling to suit.
  • Interact with customers who contact you and encourage them to rate and review your product if they've had a great experience. High ratings give your company credibility and help build trust when a new customer sees your business listing.
  • Look into the ways marketplaces market your services or products to improve the ranking on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Next steps

  • Make sure you can access fast, reliable internet.
  • Investigate selling via online marketplaces.
  • Check that your own website is optimised for mobile. Over 80% of New Zealanders have a smartphone, and the number of purchases they're making on mobile is growing.

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