Reasons Why You Must Put Your Offline Business Online today
So here’s the question: Why should I take my traditional company online?
First of all, let's clarify something. In the sense of this article a “traditional company” is one with a physical location and sells either in person, by phone, or mail; essentially a traditional "bricks-and-mortar" business. They may or may not have walk-in customers. Essentially, a business that is not selling on the internet.
Of course, these are becoming fewer and fewer every year.
See Also: 5 Steps to Starting an Online Business
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. Here are the top nine reasons:
9 Reasons You Should Start Doing Business Online
1. Improving Your Company Image
This alone should be enough reason to start a new website and begin selling online. It's an extremely important factor considering that without a website, blog, or online presence prospective clients could begin to wonder how serious you are about business. Today, companies of all sizes and industries are establishing a successful online presence.
2. 24/7 365 Hour Availability
While some fast food restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations manage 24-hour service, it is impossible for most businesses.
That is, without the internet. A key benefit to having an e-commerce website, is that your clients and prospects can read about your products and place orders at anytime— day or night. On regular business days or holidays. Imagine what being open 3-4 times longer could do for your business.
3. 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 decisionTo solve a problem with an existing purchase
With an online presence you can give them just the information that they are looking for, and just when they are looking for it. This means less phone calls with technical questions and more sales.
See Also: How to Increase Trust and Sales With Email Marketing
4. Very Low Start-up Costs
Starting out online means very low startup costs. You have no buildings to construct, no vehicles to buy and few (if any) staff to hire. Simply build your site 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. Putting your company online simply gives you a new source of customers.
See Also: How to Completely Outsource Your Social Media Marketing
While you could spend tens of thousands of dollars developing the best website and e-commerce solution many of your competitors will be doing it on a shoestring.
A good website can be designed simply and for very little money.
Using a free platform like a self-hosted WordPress blog and a professional quality premium theme ($70 - $200) you can build a professional site by yourself. Some web hosting companies offer free site building tools.
With a good WordPress theme, it is possible for you to design your own site and do it with (almost) no coding.
To get started on a shoestring budget, expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. The basic expenses include web hosting, WordPress theme, domain name, and email marketing autoresponder service.
See Also: Why You Must Have an Email Marketing Strategy
5. The Internet Was Made for Business
The beauty of the internet is that your prospective client(s) can literally be just one click away from your online store.
Through the internet you can now educate, instruct and solve clients problems. You can accept orders and payments and receive them directly to your inbox.
See Also: How to Get Massive Amounts of Free Traffic to Your Website
6. Live / Work from Anywhere
Are the long cold winters starting to get you down? Are you tired of the constant heat and humidity where you live? Taking your business online might just free up your location and allow you to live where you want—not where you have to.
As long as you have a solid internet connection you can live virtually anywhere while you conduct your online business. Many people live in one continent, have their hosting on another and their warehouse on yet another. The world has gotten very small and you can take advantage of this. You could even move to the Caribbean or South America, enjoying a low cost of living, while doing business online.
With few exceptions the internet reduces your need to “be” somewhere. Live where you want to, and let your business adapt to your lifestyle instead of the other way around. There are some notable exceptions, like landscapers, surgeons and home painters who must be in a specific location to perform their work.
See Also: 5 Reasons You Should NOT Start an Online Business and Keep Your Day Job
7. Reduce Operation Costs
Just one single task can make a significant difference in cost savings. For example, receiving orders online reduces the need for customer service staff. With comprehensive sales and product information online, you’ll simply receive purchase orders and payments via email or into your database. Staff numbers can be reduced, thus office space and related office expenses.
Making use of various online service providers you can now take all aspects of your business online, such as purchasing, billing, order fulfillment and shipping. Other functions can include pre-emptive customer service—such as answering client questions via a FAQ section or a customer forum.
8. Target the Global Market
With your brick and mortar company, you are limited to the amount 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 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.
See Also: How to Drive Massive Amounts of Traffic with Social Media
9. Increase Company Responsiveness
The internet allows you to deliver your proposal, purchase order, order confirmation quickly—in many cases instantly—to your clients. Online stores will process orders and confirm them to the client. In the olden days, purchase orders were called in, mailed or dropped off. Depending on the workload of the sales staff, it could have taken hours, or even days to process the order. With a competent online store application, you can automatically track inventory, sales numbers, outstanding orders - everything. Faster response time means happier clients and less administrative work for you.