“Advertorial”:  This article by Andee Gale is reprinted from .DigitalOffice, a non-profit company  “delivering digital projects and initiatives in NZ.” 

It can be a constant juggle running a business, and right now is a very challenging time. Online technology is changing how businesses engage with customers, compete in the marketplace and operate on a day-to-day basis.

Customers are using the Internet to research and purchase products and services.   The use of the Internet to make purchase decisions is growing as tablets and smartphones become more ubiquitous in our households.    By 2018 it is expected that 90% of kiwis will have a smart phone and almost 80% of households will have a tablet (Frost & Sullivan).   So, the world of social media, websites, content marketing and shopping online appears to be here to stay.

We are not making the most of the opportunity…

Approximately 60% of kiwis follow shops or businesses online, yet according to the MYOB Business Monitor almost half (47%) of our small to medium businesses have no online presence.  Equally concerning, is that although kiwis spent $2.8 billion online in 2014, over 30% of that money went to overseas retailers (BNZ Online Sales Retail Report).

If we are to compete we need to adapt!

One organisation that is trying to help is a not-for-profit call the Digital Office.  They have developed a free online tool called Digital Journey to help organisations improve their use of the Internet as a business tool.   Digital Journey includes a questionnaire that assesses an organisation’s digital maturity, identifies where they should focus their efforts in the online world and provides step by step instructions on how to achieve their goals.

Over 1,000 NZ businesses have already embarked on their Digital Journey.  Stuart Dillon-Roberts, founder of the Digital Office, said “Our businesses recognise they need to do something, but often don’t know where to start.  That’s why we created Digital Journey – to give them direction and a tailored plan to follow”.

For organisations who prefer face-to-face support and coaching the Digital Office runs Digital Enablement workshops. The workshops are usually free, or at cost, depending on sponsorship. The coaching can be tailored, such as for a specific industry group or region.

The workshop schedule for 2015 is still being developed, so if you are interested in attending a Digital Enablement workshop or think it might be of benefit to the businesses you support, please register your interest by emailing the Digital Office at hello@digitaloffice.co.nz

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