Whanganui pilot programme encourages NZ businesses to get online

“The tools are out there, but too many businesses aren’t engaging with the internet. In fact, up to 60% are not searchable."

Whanganui has been chosen for a pilot programme to help New Zealand businesses increase their online presence and be more easily found when their customers are searching for them.

About Us, created by digital agency Socialize, is a free toolbox which lists contact details, maps and photos as well as linking to existing business websites and social media.

Business owners can create a free About Us page in minutes and establish an online presence so their customers can find them more easily.

About Us also provides free information to business owners about how they can use various tools such as social media, online accounting and blogging to improve visibility, productivity and sales and to establish stronger relationships with customers in the digital era.

Socialize CEO Steve Adams says New Zealand has a low percentage of businesses online and Whanganui’s businesses have an even lower than average online presence, which means they are not being ‘found’ by potential customers.

“What we’re doing is trying to solve the problem of why hundreds of thousands of businesses aren’t online in New Zealand,” Adams says.

“The tools are out there, but too many businesses aren’t engaging with the internet. In fact, up to 60% are not searchable.

"A recent Innovation Partnership study estimated this is costing the New Zealand economy as much as $34 billion.

“We’re delighted to be working with the Whanganui Digital Leaders Forum on this pilot and we’d like to thanks our partners Xero who are assisting us to provide the platform to Whanganui businesses for free.”

Chair of the Whanganui Digital Leaders Forum Mayor Annette Main says piloting About Us in Whanganui is a great fit, maintaining her delight that UCOL Whanganui and the Whanganui Chamber of Commerce will also work with the Whanganui Digital Leaders Forum to support local business to use the site.

“Our willingness to encourage businesses to increase their online presence and to be the first place in New Zealand to do so is an example of why our community has been recognised as a Smart21 Intelligent Community for three years running,” Main adds.

“About Us is part of our district’s journey towards being 100% Connected. The ultrafast broadband build in our urban area is almost complete, which means any business can use ultrafast broadband to maximise its output.

“Having a business easily accessible online is one of the biggest things a business can do to increase its customer base.”

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