The 2021 in pandemic situation shopping season was a good one for businesses online. We should be prepare for every ups and down in future lockdown, online retailers reported an increase in sales of 15 percent from the previous year with ecommerce proving to be the largest online sales day ever, netting $3.07 billion.
However, only 51 percent of small businesses have websites, despite the fact that 74 percent of consumers search for products and services online, according to figures released earlier from The SCORE Association (SCORE).
The disconnect between small companies and the growing number of consumers who vet brick-and-mortar businesses based on their online presence could be keeping entrepreneurs from millions of customers – and dollars.
A website not only helps small businesses promote and sell their products and services, but it also allows them to distinguish themselves from their competitors, especially for customers who rely heavily on the Internet to learn everything about a company. This makes a website one of the most important business assets for sharing information, building credibility and standing out in crowded marketplaces.
1. FIND CUSTOMERS
ecubes found that 51 percent of Indian small businesses with a website agree that it’s made it easier for customers to find their business. Today, customers are constantly searching on computers, tablets and smart phones.
In today’s competitive online search environment, content is key. Google has revamped its algorithms to better serve user searches today, including rewarding sites that provide visitors with helpful content and a good user experience. This means that if someone is looking for a product or service that your business offers, your website needs to show up in the search results or you will miss out on potential sales leads.
2. BUILD CREDIBILITY
You can build a brand presence for your business on social media, but you’re restricted by the platform in terms of design, process and technology. A website can help small businesses increase flexibility, control, branding and credibility. 67% of indian consumers believe a business with a website is more credible than one that only has a social media page. To be credible and attract new customers, a website can make a difference.
3. GET MORE CUSTOMERS
Ongoing business success oftentimes rests on your company’s ability to bring in new clients. Reaching thousands of people using only traditional marketing methods like direct mail or print advertising can be very expensive and unreliable. Getting online enables you to reach more people locally or outside of your region while paying less for the exposure—and you can even measure the specific results.
And, it’s not just about gaining new customers; you can use a website to better serve existing customers too. The ability to update business information 24/7 on the Internet improves customer communication while freeing up time to focus on other business priorities. And with a branded email, you can begin email marketing, driving traffic back to your on- and offline sites and boosting customer loyalty with your brand.
4. GROW YOUR BUSINESS
Many small businesses aim to expand in the market and reach out to new customers. While face-to-face interactions can be important and business often comes from word-of-mouth, a website gives you a chance to “pass your card out” to thousands online. With an e-commerce store, you can sell items online and ship the product to customers almost anywhere in the world. You might discover that customers in a neighboring city or state are interested in your services, leading to a larger service area, and maybe even an expansion to regional offices. In fact, 81 percent of U.S. small businesses say that a website has helped to grow their business. With a website, you can reach a greater number of potential customers and opportunities.
5. GAIN COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
Consumers want to be informed about their purchasing decisions— what they buy and from whom they buy. Without a website, you risk losing customers to businesses already taking advantage of the online marketplace. If you’re in direct competition with another business that has a website, your competitor has a clear advantage—especially if they are effectively marketing their website. A website can help level the playing field.
BEFORE YOU START, CHOOSE YOUR DOMAIN NAME
Before you start building your website, you first need to establish your address on the Web. In this digital age, your site’s Web address (or domain name) is central to online activities, so take careful consideration when choosing a domain name. First, ask yourself which domain extension like .com or .net, best serves your business. Second, select a name that is memorable and descriptive, and isn’t trademarked by another company.