A survey of 1,000 small to medium-sized businesses in Australia showed that just over half (53 per cent) do not currently have a website.

This survey was part of the ‘Westpac Ready for Business Report’, and results equated to potentially around one million businesses that are not maintaining an online presence and promoting their company on the web.

“The results demonstrate a divide between the ‘digital haves’ and the ‘digital have-nots.’ Many businesses without digital tools such as a website and online invoicing and payment capabilities are competitively disadvantaged,” said Westpac general manager of retail banking Gai McGrath.

Some of the biggest challenges that respondents identified in creating a webpage for their businesses was getting set up for one (28 per cent), and knowing where to start (22 per cent). To help combat this, Westpac and MYOB have teamed up to create an initiative called ‘Ready For Business’ which aims to help retailers create and maintain an online presence.

This means that many types of businesses can use this initiative to build an attractive website, and provide customers with online transactional features.

“The research also found that over half (53 per cent) of small businesses surveyed believe that they have missed out on business opportunities due to not having a website. These figures suggest that a large group of Australian businesses are missing out on a significant amount of money as a consequence,” said Ms McGrath.

Out of those businesses that did have a functional website, 91 per cent of them reported an increase in revenue due to transactional features on their webpages.

This demonstrates the benefits of creating an online presence, which is something that many retailers in Australia can take note of.

Before creating your online retail strategy, however, business owners may find it useful to consider what type of customers their website is going to target. From there, the best suited channel can be selected – whether it be a dedicated website, a blog, Facebook page, Tumblr, or a combination of all.