A new study, released by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, indicates that less than half of small businesses in Canada have an online presence. The research further suggests that this lack of websites is leading to lost sales opportunities for these companies.
CIRA has revealed an interesting discrepancy: even though 75% of Canadians research their purchases online, only 41% of small businesses have a website. A mere 45% are online in some capacity (lacking a website, but have a social media presence, etc).
The relationship between sales and having an online presence becomes clear in further study findings — 66% of the money Canadians spend online goes south of the border to the U.S. This is in spite of many Canadian businesses offering comparable prices, especially when shipping costs are considered.
The study, in fact, revealed that a majority of Canadian internet users prefer to go through a .ca domain rather than a .com domain when it comes to shopping, banking or business — there just simply aren’t enough .ca websites available to give them the purchase options they need. The CIRA says that businesses are likely “missing lucrative opportunities as Canadians come to rely on the Internet to help them make buying decisions.”
Having an online presence and an informative website is important for any business, not just Canadian ones. The clicks funneling out of the country might feel especially painful to companies reading the study findings, though, considering that Canadians visit an average of 3,731 web pages every month — the highest rate of any country in the world.
“It’s important for businesses to have an online presence in this day and age, especially with technology being a big part of consumer life,” explains Tim McDonald, head of marketing at RankXPress. “You need to build an online presence, either through a website or social media. If you’re not online, you’re not going to be in business for very long.”