With the rapid downfall of world economy and dot-com companies in recent years many brick-and-mortar companies and new start-ups ask themselves: To Be Online or Not to Be Online?
Not long time ago, I read a comment of a well-known industry observer, where he stated that companies that are not selling through Internet by 2007 will probably become extinct. As dramatic as it might feel, although exaggerated, but there are some truths in it.
Consider this: Although diminishing due to bad economy, average growth of e-commerce is around 25% per year. 81% of small businesses that have an online presence during last year’s holiday season reached new customers, leading to an increase in sales and profitability according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive. Thirty percent of small businesses with a web presence and fewer than 20 employees now generate more than 25% of their revenue online claims Gartner research.
If this does not convince you to take your business online via a well-designed website, below I pointed out 10 more reasons why we need a WEBSITE:
1. New Economy.
Internet has created a new economy, which by its explosive growth and sheer size already changed our perception of traditional way of doing business. Companies like Amazon and EBay have successfully created domination on areas, where just few years ago traditional brick-and-mortar companies were kings. However, in order to be successful on the net, you don’t have to be a giant like them. Many small and mid-size companies managed to build online businesses quite profitably. In fact, studies show small and mid-size companies will be the main growth force of e-commerce in coming years.
2. A website is a perfect venue for business.
In order to make a sale you need visitors to come to your shop. On the Internet, your shop could be only a click away from your prospective customers. With proper marketing your Internet storefront can have more buyers than you ever can get in a brick and mortar shop.
3. Company’s image.
Whether you sell products or services online or not, in today’s world you have to have a corporate presence on the Internet. Otherwise, as you must have noticed that people simply don’t take your business seriously if you tell them that your company does not have a website. A nice corporate website definitely increases the image of a company especially if it has great product or service related content to go with.
4. Provide better customer support.
Customer accusation and retention is one of the key factors of business value chain. Thanks to Internet Technology, business can provide customer support more effectively. This means better customer satisfaction and increase of profitability.
5. Make information more easily available to customers.
Just a couple of years ago, companies used to require days to deliver products or services update information to their customers. Things have changed since then. Today you can add or make any changes to your company and product related content virtually in a matter of couple of hours, publish on your website and share with the whole world.
6. Cut costs.
New technologies allow you to take virtually any part of your business online, that include supply chain management, billing, shipping, procurement etc. Streamlining these business processes through online systems will allow companies to cut costs significantly in almost every sphere of any business. For example: companies can reduce more than five percent of their maintenance, repair and operation costs by adopting e-business solutions. This five percent savings can turn into 50% of a company’s net profit!
7. Ability to do business 24 hours.
How else you can continue making sales, while your stuffs are sleeping! The biggest advantages of online shops are that they are open 24 hours a day year round. Thanks to Internet off time, when your shop is generally closed, sales in some cases can be more than your regular business hours!
8. Low startup costs.
Building a website does not require big investments. There are many low cost tools available today, which can help you create websites from very scratch. Many business portals allow you to build websites from templates. For less than ₦1000/month you can have a full-fledged corporate e-business site with all e-commerce features!
9. You physical presence could be in any location.
The World Wide Web allows you to do business from any part of the world. Your physical location, except for few cases, is not that important since you conduct your business online.
10. Go global.
Thanks to Internet you can instantly become a global player. In fact, you don’t have to invest large sums of money to do this. There are literally hundreds of vertical and horizontal e-marketplaces available on the net. These marketplaces allow you for a nominal fee to get access to a large audience of prospective customers from all over the world. According to AMR Research more than 1,3$ trillion of good and services will flow through the B2B marketplaces. Who does not want a piece of this pie!
The right determinant of e-business success is the same like any off line business. You have to have a great idea, you have to have a business plan, there should be a value proposition for prospective clients and you should have belief in it and your ability!
Getting online is becoming cheaper and easier thanks to emergence of new technologies but marketing on the Internet is becoming more expensive.
Take your business online now, before the marketing costs become way too expensive for small companies.
Princess Austen B.Sc.
Marketing/Customer Relationship Management