What Am I Missing By Not Putting my Business Online
The Internet, Facebook, Websites, Twitter, Instagram – does this electronic era make you dizzy with choice?
Is your head planted firmly in the sand when it comes to thoughts of trying to set up an online business?? And why would you bother if your bricks and mortar business is currently doing very nicely-thank you very much?
The fact is……if you don’t have an online presence you may as well tell the world that you don’t need any new business!! Traditional referrals and word of mouth are just not enough for a business to survive…..let alone grow and thrive. You could be missing out on a huge platform on which to shout about your product or service and inform people of what they are missing!
Here’s why you need to set a virtual version of your business asap and it’s as straightforward as steps 1 to 5 below!
1. Accessibility / Visibility
The world is not a Monday to Friday 9-5 place – customers will want to buy your product, check out your brand and research your company – all this at any hour of the day and whilst on the bus or standing at the school gate! Basically, anytime the urge takes them!! The internet never sleeps – allowing your online store to always be open and giving customers the option to buy 24 hours a day, wherever and whenever the desire to buy happens! By building an online site your business has reached a far greater audience and customer base (and quite possibly an overseas audience) than word of mouth alone ever could.
2. Marketing and Selling Opportunities
In a bricks and mortar shop, sometimes your only chance of selling something is having a decent salesperson willing to go that extra mile. Online – your product or service speaks for itself. Create an eye-catching website with plenty of visual eye candy. Include photographs, instructional videos or just informative information details related to your product or service. Write a short, snappy informative copy of your product giving as much detail as you can and give clear, precise instructions to your customer on how to buy online.
Marketing is much easier with the use of the internet. Digital footprints can be followed and information gathered so that you know you are marketing to the people who will be interested in your product or services. This could also come under the heading ‘low cost advertising’ as it’s easy to send out ‘remember me’ prompts via Facebook other social media or an email.
3. Build your brand
Having a website allows a customer to ‘check out’ and research your company. The products you offer, presentation of your business online and your relationship with existing clients allows them to form a positive image of your company. Your website should be the ‘core’ of your business with all other forms of social media used to regularly promote and remind customers of your presence, products, promotions and events. You are essentially building a customer’s trust in your company.
Although primarily your website is there to assist and promote sales, a large part should be about your brand and the customer service that you offer to your clientele. Anything ‘extra’ or ‘above and beyond’ the average will induce customer loyalty and help build trust and loyalty amongst your customers.
4. Credibility & Loyalty
To have a fully functioning, professional looking website gives you a certain credibility and helps to create a positive image of your company and brand. Try to differentiate yourself from your competitors and offer the customer something unique. Repeat sales are what you are aiming for and existing or returning customers will appreciate a discount voucher or free gift to keep them returning to your site. Regular newsletters or blogs will keep the customer interested and informed about your product or service.
Many companies will shy away from customer reviews as there will always be one negative one and you generally can’t please everybody all the time! However, these should be isolated incidents, dealt with quickly and efficiently and allow your business to correct mistakes and grow and learn from the experience. The many good reviews from satisfied customers should out-weigh this single negative factor, so always encourage customers to leave a review and send prompts after the purchase to remind them to do so.
5. Reduce your Costs & save money
It requires large investment sums to start up a bricks and mortar shop or service but the opposite is true for an online store. There are many cost saving reasons to be online.You’re not paying overheads for rent, services, staff as you would be with a bricks and mortar shop. An online store is easily run from home or anywhere else for that matter! Documents are stored online and there should be less room for error with online transactions. Try to streamline your process – reduce your supply chain by working online. Instead of sending out flyers, letters and offers and the costs associated with printing and mailing them – an electronic format makes a more cost effective alternative. The possibilities are endless.
Getting on the Web ….as easy as….
There was an age when building a website was an onerous task – you would require designers, hosters, programmers and writers. The expense and time associated with this was hardly worth the effort. But with today’s easy ‘template’ led designs, a business owner with no technical skills can have a professional looking, fully functional website up and running in minutes. Professional sites will include shopping baskets, payment gateways and product catalogues. It’s just up to you to fill in the templates!
In fact, having an online store could be more important than a physical one. The advantages offered to your customers and the reach you will be able to provide is unrivalled. However, an ecommerce business is only really successful because of the online shopping facility that is offered alongside it. If you can only advertise on your website but still have to travel to a physical store to buy, many potential customers would be put off by this. Offer the full suite of services to guarantee a happy customer!
With the advances in technology and ease of use it’s hard to understand why you wouldn’t want your business to have an online presence.