The Internet remains uncharted territory for Canadian businesses: RBC Poll

The Internet remains uncharted territory for Canadian businesses: RBC Poll 
Less than half of Canadian Businesses have a dedicated website 
TORONTO, Feb. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - According to a recent RBC small business 
survey, only 46 per cent of Canadian small businesses have a dedicated 
website, and less than half (48 per cent) of those businesses say they sell 
their products and services through their websites. 
"With the majority of consumers choosing to research and shop for products and 
services online, businesses without a web presence are missing a significant 
opportunity," says Jim Mulligan, national director, Retail, RBC Royal Bank. 
"Businesses need to be visible where consumers choose to be, so investing in 
an online strategy is fundamental to attract new customers and stay 
competitive." 
In fact, 56 per cent of the entrepreneurs in the survey rate finding and 
keeping clients as one of the top business challenges that they will face over 
the next year, yet only 41 per cent of those surveyed promote their business 
using a dedicated website. 
According to Statistics Canada, more than 80 per cent of the Canadian 
population is online; and a report by the Boston Consulting Group predicts 
that Canada's Internet economy will grow 7.4 per cent annually through 2016. 
Although this represents a significant opportunity for small businesses, 
twenty per cent of entrepreneurs admit that keeping up to date with technology 
is among their top challenges. 
"It is always challenging for small merchants to stay abreast of new 
technologies and to find the capital to grow their independent businesses," 
said Diane J. Brisebois, president and CEO of Retail Council of Canada, adding 
that RBC in collaboration with Retail Council are investing in tools and 
resources to assist small merchants in capitalizing on the benefits of an 
online presence. 
"Small merchant online and social media strategies can result in market growth 
and greater profitability," noted Brisebois. 
When it comes to social media, only 39 per cent of entrepreneurs surveyed say 
that they use social media to promote their business. 
Mulligan adds that engaging in social media offers many positive benefits for 
entrepreneurs, citing the following examples: 


    --  Improved market awareness;
    --  More lead generation opportunities;
    --  Increased relationship building opportunities with existing
        customers and prospects;
    --  Better reputation monitoring; and
    --  Additional traffic to existing web sites.

The RBC survey also found that four-in-10 (38 per cent) businesses that sell 
via their company website generate over 25 per cent of their revenue through 
their online sales, with two-in-10 (22 per cent) generating more than 50 per 
cent of their revenue this way.

For more information on e-commerce, please visit the RBC Advice Centre at 
rbc.com/techwebseries.

About RBC Small Business Banking
If you are a small business entrepreneur who is starting a business, managing 
growth, or considering succession planning, the RBC Advice Centre can help 
answer your questions. Free interactive tools and calculators provide 
customized information covering many facets of business finance. In addition, 
online advice videos and free webinars are provided regularly to answer 
questions that are top of mind with small business owners. With the guidance 
of RBC business advisors, small business owners have access to free, no 
obligation professional advice about RBC products and services. For more 
assistance, please visit rbcadvicecentre.com.

About the RBC Ipsos Reid Small Business Survey
These are some of the findings of an RBC/Ipsos Reid survey conducted from 
August 9 to 20. This online survey of 1,004 small business owners, who were 
either self-employed or owned their own small business, was conducted via the 
Ipsos I-Say Online Panel, Ipsos Reid's national online panel. The results are 
based on a sample where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance 
demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the 
actual Canadian population according to Census data. Quota samples with 
weighting from the Ipsos online panel provide results that are intended to 
approximate a probability sample. An unweighted, probability sample of this 
size, with 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error 
of ±3 per cent, 19 times out of 20. Margins of error for subgroups will be 
higher.

Angela Harkey, RBC Corporate Communications, 416 313-5001 Suzanne Willers, RBC 
Corporate Communications, 416 974-2727 Margie McNeil, RBC Corporate 
Communications, 905 606-1425

SOURCE: RBC

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CO: RBC Royal Bank
ST: Ontario
NI: FIN ECOSURV 

-0- Feb/27/2013 12:00 GMT