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 or by phone or mail. They may or may not have walk-in customers. Essentially, a traditional “brick-and-mortar” company is one not selling online. Of course, these are being fewer and fewer every year.
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. Learn why you shouldn’t do business online. 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. Your Company Image While this alone isn’t enough to create a website and begin selling online, it is an important factor to consider. Without a website 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 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 web site, 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 seminars 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
With an online store 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.
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. To get started on a shoestring, expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand.
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.
6. Live 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.
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.
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.