Reason to grow your business online

Why?

According to internet live statistics there are over 4 billion active users of the internet. That’s an amazing market opportunity, if your business is online. Because if you are able to get as little as 0.0001% of that population as loyal customers, then your business sales issues are solved.

With the rise of the internet, the traditional business model has been replaced by a business model that is changing at a very fast pace. It is predicted that by year 2020, there will be more than 2 billion Online shoppers. Year 2020 is less than six months away!

Is your business online?

A common question that traditional “brick and mortar” business owners ask is: Why should I take my traditional business online?

By “brick and mortar” I mean businesses with a physical location and sells either in person, by phone, or mail. Essentially, businesses that are not selling physical products exclusively online.

In this digital age, it is absolutely necessary for your business to have an online presence. Whether it’s a website, an e-commerce platform, a social media page or a combination of all three, getting your company online has awesome benefits.

Even if your company does not conduct business online, customers and potential customers are expecting to see you online. If they don’t see you there, you could be losing out on the opportunity to increase your customer base and get the word out about your business. Why? It is said that most people spend a big chunk of their time online!

An online presence is one of the most important investments that a business can make. The benefits are endless!

There is much said about doing business on the internet or “putting your business online”. To many, it may just sound too complicated or too risky. But there are many good reasons to begin selling (and running your business) online.

The beauty of the internet is that your prospective client(s) can literally be just one click away from you. Through the internet, you can educate, instruct and solve client’s problems. You can accept orders and payments and receive them anywhere, anytime using your smartphone, PC, iPad etc. You basically carry your shop everywhere!

So, in this post, I will share with you reasons backed up with statistics why you should launch your business online.

1. Your Potential Customers are using the internet.

According to internet live stats, there over 4 billion internet users in the world. And out of this number, 3.2 billion are also social media users. As of 2018, the world’s population was estimated to be around 7,643, 758, 428 people. That tells you that over half of the world’s population is using the internet!

Today, if someone wants information about a product or service, they’re most likely to do their research online. Either they’re specifically looking for a particular company, or they just want to find any company that offers the products or services they want. Therefore, having an online presence gives you a competitive edge.

Google averages 40,000 searches every second! Your business online makes it easier to reach potential customers. They might just be a ‘Google search’ away!

Real life example: Your business distributes Ankara materials. A potential customer is about to get married and she needs premium quality materials for her Aso ebi girls.  She uses her smartphone to search for “Ankara materials”. Your company’s website is listed in the search results. After browsing your website, she’s satisfied that you can provide her with what she needs. Voila! You’ve just earned another customer!

2. Low Start-up Costs.

Starting out online means very low startup costs. You have no buildings to construct, no shop rent to pay. Simply get a website and if that is a challenge, start on any social media of your choice and start selling. If you are already selling offline, then the transition can be very smooth. You continue selling the same products that you know and have a good supply of.

The fastest growing segment of the internet is mobile social media users. (vpnmentor). Therefore, you can start your online business on social media and grow from there.

Again, You do not need to spend tens of thousands of naira developing the best website and e-commerce solution, because many of your competitors focus on user experience and not aesthetics of a website. The total number of websites on the internet is 1.95 billion. (Internet Live Stats), you need to create a spot for your business.

Find a good website designer to design a professional site for you without breaking the bank. You can also host your website on WordPress.

35% of small business owners feel that their business is too small for a website.

Don’t be in that category. Recently my company wanted to contact some small businesses to run a free ad for them through promoting their websites. For every 3 business in our contact list only one has a website.

Look at these numbers.

It’s estimated that by the year 2040, 95% of purchases will be through eCommerce. (Nasdaq)

71% of people believe they’ll get a better deal online, even if the item isn’t technically on sale.

30% of people would rather return to a website they’ve purchased from in the past

Don’t get left behind!

3. Being Online Makes it Easier to Market Your Brand

Websites and social media platforms are excellent marketing tools. They are also some of the most cost effective methods of sending out information to thousands of people. Online marketing is extremely important for all businesses because it has a huge influence on the way consumers make purchasing decisions. The reasons people decide to buy include competitive pricing (36%), preferred website (30%), best delivery options and price (17%), stock availability (14%).

This means that a good website plays a huge role for your business. Consumers have indicated that they look at companies in a negative light if they cannot find them online.

55% of people will search online for reviews and recommendations before making a purchase, with 47% visiting the company website, 26% checking out the physical store, and 23% of people talking with friends and family. (Kpmg)

Using the internet for marketing purposes allows you to overcome distance barriers. Persons thousands of miles away can be learning all about your business with just a few keystrokes. The “shareability” of social media allows your customers to easily spread the word about your business to all their friends. Ultimately, online marketing gives you the opportunity to market your brand in creative and exciting ways.

Better Customer Support

The internet allows you to answer questions, give sales webinars, and solve customer problems—all without taking any of your time. Create a video, a product spec sheet or a FAQ (frequently asked question) section once, and you can direct clients to that information for years. Not only does it save you time, but you’ll be providing better service. Your clients and prospects are looking for specific information, such as:

Before they make a buying decision

To solve a problem with an existing purchase

Researching alternatives before making a buying decision

Here are  top five things that influence buying decisions: lowest price, enhanced delivery options, easy return policy, payment options, ability to see inventory availability, and information about the product/service.

With an online presence, you give them just the information that they are looking for, and when they are looking for it. This means fewer phone calls with technical questions and more sales. You can spend more time working on the revenue generating activities in your business and spend less time handling common customer service issues.

New Economy

Studies show that online businesses will be the main e-commerce growth force in the next few years. Just a few years ago, brick and mortar companies dominate the economy. Now we have Jumia and Jiji amongst others which prove that going online is the next big thing and the right thing for your business.

Remember, You don’t have to run a huge traditional business in order to make it online. You can start small and then expand.

People  spend the most time on these apps: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram etc.

If you market your products/ services on this platforms, chances are that you will record sales every week.

Most people (47%) share feedback on the seller’s website, followed by Facebook (31%), brand websites (18%), WhatsApp (17%), and Instagram (12%).

92% of all online feedback is considered positive, followed by 6% neutral, and 2% negative.

Target the Global Market

With your brick and mortar business, you are limited to the number of individuals who can visit you at any given time, let alone find you. With a good website, you can literally have thousands, even tens of thousands (even millions) of people visiting your online store at once. Imagine the potential for your company, if you could expose your products and services to a potentially unlimited number of interested people.

Being able to have thousands of visitors and actually having them are two different things. The success of an online business depends on the same thing as any off-line business: marketing. Learn how to increase blog traffic.

Content marketing is a great way to increase traffic to your site / online store. Social media can be a powerful and inexpensive (free) way to drive qualified prospects to your site.

It is important to note that mastering the art of copywriting is one of the most valuable skills you can learn to increase sales.

61% of people will make a purchase after reading a recommendation on a blog.

Companies that blog receive 97% more links to their website.

 ssssBlogs are a trusted source for online information.

Marketers prioritizing blogging see 13x the positive ROI.

 Blogs have the potential to generate businesses 2x more email traffic.

Conclusion

Need I say more? The internet is the best thing to happen to us. And it keeps evolving, either you become part of it or you risk being obsolete.

Having challenges on how to start? Leave a comment below.

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Chiemezie John Duru is an Online business consultant based in Nigeria. He is helping small and medium business owners to package their brand(ideas and business) using online technologies to reach a larger audience. Apart from designing, he loves to read financial books, like Cashflow, Think and grow rich & A year of growing rich.

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