It’s unfortunate that in 2014 many businesses are missing out on business due to their lack of an online presence. They either don’t have a company website, no social media accounts, no eCommerce store, no blogging site; nothing that visitors can get information about the business. Nowadays, going online before buying products, visiting a restaurant or going to a store is quite common for many consumers. As a consumer myself, I search for the business’ website prior to visiting them in person, be it a restaurant or a retail store, etc. Many other consumers have gotten into the habit of doing this as well, especially now from their smartphones, and if they do not find a website they move on to a competitor that does, leaving you with tons of missed sales opportunities.
Unfortunately, far too many companies are not yet online and don’t yet realize how this can be damaging their image and perhaps even preventing them from increasing their sales and revenues. According to Statistics Canada (Financial Post, 2014)1, only about 46% of Canadian businesses have a website! Google and Ipsos conducted their own survey in 2013 and among 3,800 small businesses 55% of them did NOT have their own website (Financial Post, 2014)2.
“Every small business needs a website. Period. Non-negotiable”, stated by Jim Blasingame, a small business author and radio show host (Financial Post, 2014)2.
Common excuses heard by small business owners on why they don’t have a website or any online presence for that matter are:
- “I don’t have the time”
- “I believe it’s too expensive”
- “I won’t be prepared for the rush of orders once I’m online”
What they seem to forget is that a website can increase sales, all the while cut down on phone calls asking for company information, which can easily be posted on their website or social media accounts. A website will give visitors the information they need to buy the company’s products or visit the store in person.
There are many ways companies can increase their visibility, reach new customers, keep their existing loyal clients and increase their sales, without spending a fortune. Having an online presence can mean:
- A Company Website
As mentioned earlier, this is extremely important nowadays as a company website can provide information to consumers that will help with their buying process. User-friendly, attractive websites that are responsive on all types of mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, will make your company’s products and services visible to today’s well-researched consumer market.
- Being active on Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+; all of these are visited by consumers each day. Social media profiles are a great way to keep your audience up-to-date with news, updates and company information as well as interact with them, to create better customer relationships. Social media is quite powerful; if used correctly.
- Implementing an eCommerce & Mobile Commerce (mCommerce) Store
Retail stores should definitely consider selling online to increase sales and revenue. eCommerce stores allows consumers to view full product catalogs and buy your products without leaving their house. More and more consumers are preferring to shop online and those businesses without an eStore can lose out business. Fortunately, setting up an eCommerce or mobile Commerce store is easy and quick and can be within your budget.
Blogging (Content Generation)
Many people have begun blogging for either personal or commercial use. Blogging can help inform consumers either about the company or its products, offer ideas or How-to’s, answer FAQs all the while helping companies rank on the Internet. Blogs are a great way to drive traffic to your website, increase SEO and help you become an industry leader by providing quality content to your target audience.
If you still don’t have an online presence, it’s time to reconsider. Take the time to see how you may be missing out on sales opportunities and get online!
- Ligaya, Armina (June 2014). Canada’s small businesses playing catch-up in online retail: Financial Post; http://business.financialpost.com/2014/06/11/canadas-small-businesses-playing-catch-up-in-online-retail/?__lsa=29fe-2c45
- Pisani, Joseph (June 2014). It’s cheap and easy to do – so why are small businesses skipping the website?: Financial Post; http://business.financialpost.com/2014/06/10/getting-online-may-be-easy-and-cheap-but-many-small-businesses-still-skip-the-website/