Online commerce continues to grow with an increasing portion of business to business (B2B) companies joining the e-commerce bandwagon, according to the 2016 DHL Export Barometer. While business to consumer (B2C) export brands were early to adopt online commerce and continue to grow export orders, the portion of exporters using social media has significantly increased from 38% in 2015 to 68% in 2016.
Senior vice president of DHL Express Oceania Gary Edstein said: “Online commerce has been extremely positive for Australian exporters and it appears to be continuing on a growth trajectory. While some exporters were slow to get started in the online world, in recent years there has been a steady increase in the portion of Aussie businesses using online commerce and digital marketing methods, including social media.”
Online commerce rising among exporters
Aussie exporters are tapping into the explosion of online commerce like never before. The 2016 DHL Export Barometer indicates that almost two-thirds (64%) of exporters now generate at least 20% of their orders online, which is up from 58% just two years ago. Another jump has been seen in the portion of exporters who generate orders solely online, increasing from 10% in 2014 to 16% in 2016.
The 2016 DHL Export Barometer also recorded a significant uplift in the proportion of exporters that see online commerce as positive – jumping from 52% in 2015 to 66% in 2016. Online commerce is especially important to mid-sized businesses, with three-quarters (74%) reporting a positive impact.
Clicking into online commerce
Australian exporters are busy implementing a wide range of initiatives to increase orders. There has been a significant uplift in businesses enhancing their online presence over the past year – jumping from 35% in 2015 to almost half (49%) in 2016.
A similar portion (46%) has also entered new markets, with 39% implementing social media marketing activities to increase export orders. One-third (34%) have improved the speed of delivery to ensure they can effectively compete with other businesses.
Commenting on the results, Mr Edstein added: “Service excellence is now a key differentiator for exporters. Consumers expect to receive a high quality service when shopping online and the speed of fulfillment can make all the difference when exporting.
“We’re also seeing a growth in the number of businesses interacting with buyers on social media, with more than two-thirds of exporters using social media to attract orders and correspondingly saying they are more confident in using these channels.”
The 2016 DHL Export Barometer shows that two in five (40%) B2B companies say their online sales have increased over the past 12 months, compared to 28% of B2C businesses; while the majority said online sales remained the same (51% and 64% among B2B and B2C companies respectively).
Mr Edstein commented: “We are seeing a broadening of businesses getting involved in online commerce. Where it was once the domain of consumer-focused companies, we’re now seeing more enterprises looking for orders among business customers, most likely as online knowledge and expertise starts to mature.
“We have seen a particular spike in exporters using social media to attract export orders or enquiries, now sitting at more than two-thirds.”
This year’s research shows that 68% of Australia exporters use social media as part of their online marketing, with 51% using Facebook, 28% on LinkedIn, 26% using Twitter and 19% Instagram.