In this day and age, all businesses big or small need to have an online presence. The marketplace has exploded to include online buying in both websites and mobile apps. Consumers are internet savvy and lifestyles have dictated that a lot of information consumption happens online.
Whatever business sector you may be in, however well established your product line may be, your current and would-be customers will be interested in checking your business and its offerings on the Internet, simply because it is one of the easiest ways to do so for your customer.
These are a few reasons that your business needs to be visible on the Internet. There are various ways that your business’ online presence may be felt, namely, having a website, an ecommerce platform and having social media presence, website advertisements, such as Google Adsense, blogs, featured articles.
Having a website indicates what your business is all about, what are the vision and mission values that the business stands by, what is your product line, who your previous customers are, and what kind of customisation (if any) can your product/service achieve in helping your customers attain their goals.
An ecommerce platform focusses entirely as a point of sales for your customers. It should ideally have a category-wise product listing, details of the products, a shopping cart function, a contact number and email in case of ny queries, and a payment gateway. As these are basic functions that many ecommerce sites have, an attractive feature could include discounts and bonuses, shopping points, membership benefits, home-delivery options, etc.
Social media presence points to creating content in such a way that ultimately points the customer towards your ecommerce platform either directly or indirectly. The most popular sites being FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. It could also include sponsored articles on popular traffic-heavy websites. All this would be amiss without using the trending “#” usage. E.g. #usercontent. The content created could be from a specific products or method to industry-wide practices that an interested party could gain information from.
What are the benefits of having an online presence?
Low cost for being online
With increasing rents and costs of outlets, banding, maintenance, inventory, and staff costs, owning and running a brick and mortar business is much more expensive than having an online presence. A business with a store needs to have an online presence in terms of their own website, social media presence such as FaceBook, Twitter, etc. because it is not as expensive to set up and even lesser to maintain.
Wider market reach
A large number of people google search for information about a product or service they are interested in to look for their availability online and for cheaper deals before stepping into a shop. Thus a business must ensure it is among the top search results in popular search engines like Google, Bing, etc. With a physical presence, your sales, depends on footfalls, i.e., people within the vicinity of your business. But by going online, potential customer numbers explode to everyone who has a phone with an internet connection.
Enable a closer relationship with your customer
Many customers, both satisfied and dissatisfied, rely on venting their thoughts online rather than call the customer support number simply because it is easier. All the more reason to have a feedback form in your website and dedicated support staff to address them. In case of FaceBook as well, it would be prudent to have your company page monitored to address and assure your company’s mindfulness to your customers. After all, brand building goes a long way in retaining loyal customers as feedback received and implemented is valuable in their minds.
Mitigate loss of business
As there are multiple avenues for creating brand value for your product/service on the Internet, there is a higher visibility which increases the brand recall in a large number of would-be customers. Engaging customers is a good way to building faith and get them to try out your product/service. Offers and promotions are a good way to entice first-time buyers. With exposure to online and offline customers, it would make a significant impact on the bottom line.
Accessible and easy display of your products
Online product catalogs provide a handy reference for visual appeal to the customer before they order them online. Customers prefer to view their products and read reviews before purchasing them. The earlier apprehension of not buying unseen products has been reduced to a large extent for FMCG products, apparel, everyday products. It is handy to have your product catalogue listed