Consultancy group PricewaterhouseCoopers has worked out small businesses in Ballarat have thousands to gain by moving more operations online.
“Internet technology can potentially unlock an additional $179 million in additional economic output over ten years; approximately $39,000 per business (in Ballarat),” the Small Business: Digital Growth report said.
This additional output would come from time savings in ordering and reporting processes as well as sales and marketing boosts online.
Cyclescape owner Matt Britton, who does not run an online shop but advertises and promotes the shop’s wares on a website, said the output jump would be even more than $3900 a year.
He said their backroom operations had changed markedly, and become much more efficient through new technology.
“With the majority of our suppliers now, the representatives’ roles have actually changed quite a lot,” he said.
“Five ears ago they would come in and take an order. Now we login to a (business to business) website, and we can order stock, say we have this many, these are selling, track what have.”
The PwC report said small business people reaped what they sowed on social media.
“Approximately 46% of small businesses use the internet to monitor the market or competitors, and 54% of small businesses report a positive impact from social media via good customer feedback, increased sales and better networking and advertising opportunities,” it said.
Mr Britton said their website and social media was “very effective advertising”.
The repot’s authors went on to say that revenue could be boosted by fuller commitment to online.
“Small businesses that have high-levels of digital engagement (e.g. use search engine optimisation and marketing and multiple digital technologies) have better business outcomes compared to those with lower engagement, with some studies suggesting a 20% increase in annual revenue,” the report said.
Commerce Ballarat CEO Jodie Gillett said in August it was imperative retail businesses get active online.
“Our businesses need to be online,” she said.
“The statistics show people want to shop online, but they want to shop online locally.”