As the lockdown restrictions are being relaxed around the world, discussions have started around how business processes may shift post-COVID 19. Experts have suggested that companies may shift to building a localised supply chain, and increased demand for telemedicine services. Some have suggested a shift in customer mentality as well, with an increased preference for essential goods and services, as well as for shopping online. During the entire pandemic, while other businesses suffered, companies with online stores, as well as online food delivery services were able to reach their customers much sooner than others. In this situation, having an online presence is very important.
Increase in the number of smartphone users
Simply the huge number of people using smartphones is reason enough for your business to be visible online. Currently, there are around 3.5 billion people around the world using smartphones. And according to a survey from last year, 85% of consumers do an online search and compare prices before going out to buy something. So simply being online, is vital to improve and sustain your business.
And because of this, having a listing on Google My Business can do wonders, especially if you’re just starting out. It will make your business visible in search results and drive customers to your store. Post good pictures, fill out the details. Customers can even message a business through the Google listing, so make sure you respond to customer queries.
Just think about it, when you have multiple options for the same thing (and now everyone has), will you go to a store with poor pictures, and doesn’t respond to your queries or will you prefer a store or a business with many pictures, showing what they have, and with detailed information and excellent reviews from customers?
But do keep in mind that a Google listing is only the first step in having an online presence. You need a website so that your customers can easily know exactly what you’re doing and offering.
Available and accessible
The best part about having an online presence, as far as your customers are concerned, is that you or rather your business is available and accessible at their fingertips be it day or night. And having a killer website will take it further. If you’re a small business owner, you can showcase your entire product catalogue, their features and their pricing so that people know exactly what to expect.
If you want to take your business further, an online shopping portal can make your products available throughout the country or even the world. In fact, even global companies are going the e-commerce route before having physical stores. Companies like Xiaomi, Realme and many other smartphone companies are launching their products online, preferring to set up physical stores much later. And an online shopping portal make your business and therefore your products and services accessible to a wider audience.
An online presence, and a killer one at that, is even more vital if your business is offering services. For example, if you are an event management firm, or if you offer catering services, you need to reach a wider audience, which is exactly what an online presence does. With a well-designed website, you’ll be able to showcase your preview works and create a good first impression even before you have had your first face to face with the client. And you get to reach and be accessible to customers from a much larger pool.
When setting up a website, make sure that your website comes up first when people search for the service or product you’re offering. Optimise it so that your name comes up first in the search results. Being online will definitely make your business more available to a larger group of people, but you need to put in the effort to make it their first choice.
Developing your brand
An online presence is crucial in this day and age to cultivate a good image for your brand. The first step in starting any new business is to purchase the domain and to create a beautiful website. Thankfully social media has made it easy. It’s simple, people are likely to buy a brand they’re familiar with. Through social media, you can connect with your target audience, make more people aware of what you’re doing or what you’re selling. An online presence gives you that extra edge when 10 people are offering the same product or service you’re offering. Having a website and social media presence reassures the customer that you’re reliable, that you can be trusted. And you can reach a wider audience for your promotion campaigns and increase your profit margins.
A custom mobile app is another way to build your online presence and develop your brand. With a mobile app just for your business, you can reach out to your customers more effectively. You can be sure that your customers are aware of every promotional campaign you’re running, and that they can connect to you easily regarding any queries. Your business is essentially present on their phones all the time. Through these apps, you can stay connected to your customers even when they are not actively looking to buy something. It will be like having a salesman for your business right next to your customer at all times, ready to answer their questions and close a sale.
Just, simply, the benefits of online shopping
Online shopping sites have long ago proven how effective they are. And as I mentioned earlier, during this crisis, businesses with shopping portals were able to hold it together much better than others. And, the fact that people are willing to buy even cars online, is a testament to how much customers trust online shopping.
Gone were the days when people were afraid of purchasing goods online or of losing their money. This is an excellent time for you to implement an online shopping portal on your website.
Data: that may be the best thing about an online presence.
Being present online offers you a treasure trove of data. You can know exactly who your customers are, the core demographics, and exactly what they’re looking for. You can optimise your website for that, and you can offer what your customers want.
And you can optimise your campaigns too. You can test what is working and what is not. For example, you can present two or more versions of your website to different groups of people and see which one is appealing to the customer. What would otherwise require extensive surveys among your customers, is now a very simple task.
As businesses are reopening and everyone is racing to bring theirs back in track, an effective online presence will definitely help you earn new customers and bring back your old customers.