Consumers shop online for virtually everything these days. Varying types of entertainment, meal delivery, groceries, health care, and insurance are just a few examples of the things you can shop for online. As a business owner, you most likely already know this fact, which has you considering moving all or part of your small business operations into the online retail space. Here are six compelling reasons why you should consider taking your business from offline to online in the near future.
Unless customers are constantly flowing into your business, it can be expensive to operate a business day and night when you’re solely operating offline. The nice thing about having a website is that no matter what time of the day or week it is, potential customers can read the content on your website and learn about your products. They can also place an order or schedule and pay for an appointment while you’re at home enjoying some family time.
Your returning customers can see what’s new and place orders from wherever they are at any time. It makes it much easier to serve new customers looking for your product or service. Having an online presence increases your customer reach as well, whether you’re targeting your entire state, the entire country, or other countries. It also allows customers to access more products and options all in one place.
Moving your small business from offline to online allows you to keep your customers engaged in your business. Younger customers generally hang out online the most. They also tend to be more tech-savvy and are socially connected through multiple social media platforms. Younger generations also make up a large percentage of online consumers and consider a strong social media presence to be a major trust factor when considering new products and services.
The nice thing about social media is that it is an extremely low-cost marketing strategy for keeping your audience up to date on your business. For example, just one published post will reach your returning and new customers all in one place or on multiple social media platforms with just one click of a mouse.
With so many new businesses popping up online each day, it can be hard to keep your customers engaged and to maintain a healthy customer retention rate. Online customers tend to quickly lose interest and will click away from your site if there is even the slightest issue with your store, such as slow page loads or confusing information. However, you can easily and quickly improve your customer retention rate by setting up a rewards or loyalty program. It encourages your customers to keep coming back and to refer other customers to your site in exchange for something. When consumers don’t feel personally engaged, the average retention is less than a third, so it’s important to make plans to assess and address customer engagement.
If your product or service has a lot of options or there is a lot of stiff competition in your niche, you can easily offer more competitive pricing and options along with discounts to help grow your sales. Stocking more products means you need to expand your storage space; however, sourcing from suppliers makes the pricing as well as shipping and handling much easier and more affordable. This is known as drop shipping and is common in online businesses today. It is also slightly cheaper to run an online operation as opposed to an offline one, which could allow you to pass the savings down to your customers.
Running an online business can allow you to earn higher margins and cause you to spend less time managing a sales floor or warehouse. You may still have employees to manage the day-to-day operations; however, you can have a small team of virtual staff handling all of this. With all of your extra time and the possible savings on expenses, you can invest some of that extra time and money into improving the overall customer experience, improving and increasing marketing efforts, or spending time at different trade shows looking for the latest in-demand products to offer your customers.
It is much easier and faster for an online business to build trust and authority than it is to build that same reputation offline. The simple reason for that is the fact people of all ages are online. If they cannot find anything about you online or your online presence is lacking, they will shop with your competitors who do have online trust and authority.
Moving your business from offline to online could be the best decision you ever make. As an offline business, you most likely already know that your reach is limited and expenses are always increasing. Going online could help offset some of those costs by giving you a greater customer reach.
If you’re planning on moving your business online, you’ll need a great website to fit your needs. Contact us to see how we can help!