More Hunter residents using phones but businesses lagging behind

MORE Hunter residents are using their mobile phones to purchase goods and services but local businesses are falling behind a growing digital economy, new research shows. 

The latest figures released by the Hunter Research Foundation show that while 92 per cent of local businesses are hooked up to the internet, only 57 per cent have a dedicated website. 

This figure lags behind the national figure of 64 per cent. Just over half of businesses with their own websites advertised their own goods and services but only 27 per cent took orders, lower than the national figure of 30 per cent. Hunter DiGit president James Vidler said local companies needed to stop being intimidated by technology. 

‘‘If you know how to use PowerPoint you can make your own website. This stuff is no longer hard,’’ he said.

He said businesses need to use technology better to target the people who would use their product.

‘‘There are so many people in this region that can help you do that,’’ he said.

Enigma Communications digital strategist Stephen Walsh said there were only a few Hunter businesses that were using digital technology to its full capacity.

‘‘You need to identify your audience online, use different channels to communicate with them, and track the data to see what your customers are doing,’’ he said. 

The foundation also revealed that Hunter businesses were more likely to use social media to market their business than the national average, with the Hunter rate at 37 per cent compared to the national average of 26 per cent.  

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