If you’ve been reading the news headlines lately then chances are, you’ve heard some famous brick and mortar stores are struggling to compete with online giants. e-Commerce and physical-retail commerce are merging; businesses that exist in shopping centers and malls are expected to be represented online too. But many small brick-and-mortar businesses are still not online, or not prioritizing their online presence.
Having a website can help people in your community find your business. And that isn’t the only benefit. For those struggling to get online, consider that there are at least 6 good reasons to make it a priority in 2018!
Here’s our list for why having a website for your business is an absolute must:
24/7 EXPOSURE. Why put an end to marketing at six p.m.? Your brick-and-mortar location has “office” hours and people who wish to make a purchase or simply have questions will have to accommodate this schedule. But the convenience of a website, is that people can take care of their business on their own time. They can browse, shop, read your FAQs or send you an email—all while you’re sleeping or enjoying dinner out with your family. So quite simply, the more exposure you have, the better chance you have of making a sale.
CREDIBILITY. Research shows that 89 percent of today’s shoppers prefer to shop online over at a store for the convenience, and the younger generation may even be suspicious of a business’ lack of online presence. Including a website in your branding strategy gives you the credibility that consumers are looking for when they are at the point of purchase. Your website should include a blog where you (or someone you hire) writes posts about your product, service or industry in a way that makes you an expert and the go-to website for information or tips. This furthers your reputation and gives you more credibility, which can, in turn, lead to more sales. People expect businesses to have their own websites, just as they used to expect businesses to have a real physical business address.
MARKETING BOOST. Most consumers are already shopping and searching for solutions online. If your business isn’t online, it is behind your competition. One of the best examples of just how social buying decisions are made, visit Pinterest. For example, search for “wedding” on Pinterest and you will find thousands of ideas, crafts, and — to my point — products and venues that can and are purchased and booked. Pinterest users are sharing the items they want and the items they dream of in a social way online. If a merchant doesn’t have an online presence, that merchant is missing out. There are some who say that when we shop online, we lose something, some kind of a social experience had only from going to a store, walking the aisles, and touching the things we buy before we buy them. There is a sense in which this is true, but online shopping is social too, and as a social experience online shopping has the potential to reach a much larger audience.
PRE-SELL PRODUCTS. Having a business website gives you an automatic internet presence. Think of it as an online billboard. Instantly you have another chance to introduce people to your products and services and another way for people to find you. With a website, it’s easy to pre-sell your products that are still in the production process. All you need is one or two quality photos, an alluring description, and an availability date. Get people excited about your new product well before it ever hits the shelves, and gather the customer’s’ pre-sell orders through your website. Keep in mind that an online presence doesn’t exclude a brick-and-mortar shop; you can always allow shoppers to place the order online but encourage them to pick it up at your location. This is a clever way to get people into the store and create a reputation for being a business with stellar online and offline service.
STAY CURRENT. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 470,000 small businesses close every year. This means that today’s mom-and-pop store owner needs to be a marketer, a social media strategist, a PR expert, a skilled salesperson—and, of course, have a top-notch product to sell. While this may sound like a lot, it is easier to do when you have a website, because much of it is taken care for you. For example, building a website with WordPress makes it simple to optimize your site with keywords for high search engine ranking (marketing), link up to all your social media accounts (social strategy), and include quality photos that, with your eye-catching product description, is sure to draw in customers (sales).
CUSTOMER SERVICE. Finally, consider the opportunity to provide better customer service. An online store can be a great extension to a retailer’s customer service offering, adding to the customer service already provided in store or over the phone. An online store can offer a frequently-asked-questions section so that shoppers can find solutions even after regular store hours. Some online retailers are even using live chat to answer customer questions and concerns. Anytime that you can make it easier for shoppers to get information about anything — from inventory levels to return policies — you are helping to improve customer service.
Wieting Design | Website Design Hartford, CT
Wieting Design is a full-service, graphic and website design agency based in Fairfield County, CT and serving all of Connecticut (CT). We are committed to sharing our experience and expertise in website design, graphic design, social media marketing, search engine marketing (SEO), and video production to help build powerful tools and campaigns that work for your Connecticut business. Whether your objective is to grow your reputation, create client loyalty, drive traffic to your website or set up a marketing strategy, we will adapt our approach to get you the results you need with the services we provide.