Why digital?

Whether it’s creating a website and selling online, or using cloud-based software to automate everyday business tasks, there’s never been a better time to grab the digital bull by the horns.

Why Digital?
    <p>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 at home – and provided us with more leisure time. New technologies have also changed the way we buy and the way we do business and the current internet age combined with the shock of a global pandemic have sped many of those trends up. So whether it’s creating a website and selling online, or using cloud-based software to automate everyday business tasks, there’s never been a better time to grab the digital bull by the horns.</p>

    Better for your customers

    <p>It’s remarkable how quickly a crisis can change behaviour. From the rapid adoption of video conferencing for work, school and catch-ups, to the growth of online shopping to the use of streaming services, technologies that were in many cases growing steadily suddenly took off during our first level four lockdown. New Zealand’s investment in the fibre network was certainly something to be thankful for when we were all stuck at home. And in many cases, those consumer shifts will stick and businesses will have to keep evolving to keep up.</p> <p>While bricks and mortar stores are still popular, online researching, browsing, booking and buying is on the rise. In 2018, online retail sales totalled $4.2 billion in New Zealand, according to NZ Post research, and that’s been growing steadily over the years. Importantly, spending on domestic websites was up by 16% on the previous year. So while it might seem tough to compete with the big international players, there’s increasing demand for local options online – and that ‘buy local’ sentiment has become even stronger after Covid-19.</p> <p>Over 80% of New Zealanders have a smartphone and the number of purchases they’re making on mobile is growing (one of the biggest mistakes businesses make online is not catering to that growth by ensuring they have a mobile-optimised website). They’re also spending a lot more time on social media. So if you want to get in front of potential customers and grow your business, you’ve got to fish where the fish are, and a whole heap of them are now swimming in the digital stream.</p> <p>According to Visa research from the UK, while 46% of customers checked a new business’s website before visiting, only 54% of businesses had an online presence ready for them. Another study showed that 97% of buyers checked the internet before making a major purchase. In New Zealand, it’s thought less than two-thirds of small businesses have a website.</p> <p>The long-term trend is clear and so is the outtake: businesses that look at how the behaviour of their customers is changing and offer them what they want – whether it’s online ordering or booking, free or fast delivery, or simple digital payment options – will prosper.</p>

    Better for your business

    <p>Going digital is not just about meeting customers’ changing needs. For business owners, time is money, collaboration is key and data is everywhere. Affordable, easy-to-use technology solutions that are accessible from anywhere can help manage all of those things and make life easier.</p> <p>We all know New Zealand is a paradise, but we don’t always get to enjoy it because we work some of the longest hours in the OECD. 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-boosting tools like cloud-based accounting services, collaboration software and analytics platforms come in.</p> <p>Change is hard at the best of times. And with so much pressure on businesses at the moment, it may be difficult to find the will to focus on something new and potentially disruptive. Small businesses are well-placed to move quickly and learn new skills, however. And there’s plenty of research showing businesses that invest in digital tools and IT and move away from cash, paper-based accounts and other manual tasks are more likely to save time, save money and become more productive. As an 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 a lot of time you could be spending on other more valuable parts of your business.</p> <p>As the Productivity Commission says: “New Zealand needs to embrace technology, not treat it as a threat. The problem is not that there is too much technological change and adoption; there is too little.”</p> <p>So what are you waiting for? It’s time to take the leap into digital. And if you’ve already leaped, you can always leap further.</p>
    <p style="text-align: center;">Find out more about taking your business digital.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/asb/businesshub/en/businesshub/resources/digitise-your-business/getting-started.html">Getting started</a>&nbsp; &nbsp;<a href="/content/asb/businesshub/en/businesshub/resources/digitise-your-business/get-growing.html">Get Growing</a>&nbsp; &nbsp;<a href="/content/asb/businesshub/en/businesshub/resources/digitise-your-business/get-productive.html">Get productive</a></h4> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="https://businesshub.asb.co.nz/resources/digitise-your-business/get-productive">&nbsp;</a></p>