Aussie SMEs online: looking, not touching

Australia's small-to medium-sized businesses are scrambling to get online, but are reluctant to embrace e-commerce, a Government-Yellow Pages report has revealed.

According to the Small Business Index Survey, which was based on research conducted by the National Office of the Information Economy and Pacific Access, 54 per cent of small businesses and 92 per cent of mid-sized business use the internet to communicate with customers or suppliers daily.

However, the report found that only 28 per cent of businesses were prepared to order products or services online, with only 19 per cent prepared to pay over the Web.

According to the report, the main reasons for small-businesses' resistance of e-commerce transaction were: lack of intermediary negotiating party, risk of no available stock, security, and a preference to see and touch objects before paying for them.

Business did feel comfortable with online purchases that were directly downloadable from the internet, the report said.

Only 19 per cent of small businesses own one or more notebook computer, the report said.

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