We live in a time where the majority of businesses are beginning online. The digital and technological advances have taken over, so we now save money and start a company from the comfort of our own homes. Technology has meant you can access an IT cloud from wherever you are, from any device that is tuned into it. If you are a part of the percentage of people that have a physical, traditional company that had its beginnings offline rather than one online, then you will have likely been told – possibly more than once – that you should move your business to a more online presence. To clarify, a traditional business is one that has a physical location like a shop or stall and makes sales in person or by phone. In essence, yours is one that sells outside the realms of the internet, the IT cloud and is devoid of any type of online social media presence.
In this day and age, most people would tell you that you would be daft to NOT have an online presence. Such is the popularity of the internet and social media, being online gives you so much more now than it ever could before. The total exposure of your business globally and an ecommerce store instead of a physical one is both priceless in the current business market. Businesses that are opening in the high street and not with an online presence are slowly dying out, with there being less on the high street now than ever. Big retailers are moving online and slowly closing branches. Big online retailers such as Amazon are now offering stores like this, so that you can shop online and collect when you get there. Online shopping is huge, and we now live in an era where our time is so precious that shopping online is all round easier and better for us than ever before.
If you are being swayed toward moving your business online, then you have a lot of things to consider. Your current customer base and location are just the start. There will always be elements of business that companies need to keep offline, especially if they have use of a freight company or a warehouse for their business wares. There are a lot of savings to be made when moving a company online, but there will be inevitable pros to keeping some pieces of your business off the net. The supply chain that keeps your business funded and functioning won’t always come from an online base – after all, most ecommerce shops have a place that they keep their merchandise. There are an absolute ton of fantastic reasons you should be looking into an online presence for your business, and while you may not get it right now – your business could well be very successful and ticking along nicely as it is – you will do in the future as less business appears on the high street! So, what are the REAL reasons you should move your offline business online?
Image has recently become one of the most important things all round to everyone. It isn’t that people are necessarily vain, it’s just that social media and being online all the time has given people the opinion that image matters. And they’re right! Without a strong or steady online presence, clients all over could question your seriousness about your business and whether you have the stones to stay online at all. The moment people want to buy something or book a holiday, they head online. Long gone are the days of calling through the phone book to find something. Getting your business set up with a website and social media is important, and companies that are your competition are likely already making these moves.
Your shop or physical location likely has set business hours, and rightly so – you do need a break. The thing is, having a good online presence means that you don’t need to worry about a break. All the information that people are looking for is already on your website, and if you ensure you have a good enquiry form, people can contact you any time of day or night. One of the biggest benefits of an ecommerce website is the fact that people who log in and shop in the middle of the night can buy from you. People are working longer hours now, meaning most of their leisure time online is spent after the standard business hours. If you are making your company available to them all the time, you can benefit from their business.
Any business worth its salt is aware of the importance of customer service. Impeccable customer service encourages repeat custom and further custom. People rely more on reviews from experienced customers than they do the promises a company makes. This is because they know they will get an accurate review from those who have used the service before. By having an online presence that is always available, you are able to offer far better customer support. You can make videos to explain what you do, have a FAQ section on the site and even offer PDF brochures so that people can really discover all about you as a company and what it is you do.
The biggest draw of online business is the cost cutting you can do. There will be a difference in cost if you’ve gone from an offline business to online, as although you won’t have some premises like a shop to pay for, you will still likely have warehousing and transportation established. You also will likely still have staffing costs for those areas. However, the costs mainly shift when moving your company online, as you will still need to spend money on a website, hiring marketing people to design it for you and create a marketing plan. Thankfully, this can be done on a shoestring budget and you can read about doing that here.
Going online can give you an amazing chance to be flexible. If you have dreams of moving abroad one day for your personal development and achievement, you could do this simply by keeping your business online. Things like transport and warehousing can be acquired anywhere you want to go and the flexibility of the internet means you can still keep your online customers, as you’re only a click away from them. You could work from a hut in a rainforest as long as you had a strong internet connection! The world is a very big place, but you’d be surprised how small it is when you have your business online. Your social media campaigns and ability to connect with others has just changed the way you do things. Communication is key, so if you do decide to move your business abroad, make sure your new website has an announcement about delivery price changes and time zone changes!
Target The World
Where your bricks and mortar business kept you stagnant with the same repertoire of customers, an online business gives you the key to the entire world. Your reach on your website and Google, alongside the people you manage to attract via social media means that you no longer are stuck on one side of the high street. You could become a global phenomenon, as long as you blog, vlog and Tweet to your hearts content. Being able to have thousands of visitors to your website can increase your profit exponentially. You can learn how to increase the volume of people you have, and eventually expand into other marketing strategies, including content marketing and blogging for others in your field.
You may have spent years in a traditional business setting and enjoying a steady profit. If you’ve noticed a downturn in the amount of custom you have had recently, perhaps it’s time to recognise that your business is better off being online and where the competition is. If you don’t keep an eye on what your business foes are doing, you could be left behind and that is simply not what you want for your company. Being online doesn’t mean the end of good customer service, either, which we know can be a concern for many businesses that have been established traditionally for a long time. Your customer service can only get better online, as you are more available and faster for those who want to use your services.
Overall, the decision will be up to you, but if you could choose to move your business to another level with better visibility, then why wouldn’t you? It’s best to try and build up your online presence slowly but surely than not try at all. Don’t be afraid to step into the new century and embrace the digital age. After all, to keep up with the customers, that’s the way to go!