According to Statista, U.S. consumers spent 1.66 Billion on Thanksgiving and Black Friday and three billion dollars while shopping on Cyber Monday 2015. That’s a new record for the decade old “holiday.” Online sales have dramatically increased in recent years. Brick and Mortar shopping has become chaotic with long lines and physical altercations.
Admit it, you’ve watched some Black Friday Fights. The same study revealed that “In 2014, 36 percent of surveyed Americans were planning to shop in store, while 37 percent were going to do their Thanksgiving/Black Friday shopping online.” With numbers like that, even the smallest of businesses should be set up for e-commerce.
Forbes published a great article titled, How Much Is Online Presence Helping Small Business, that addresses the benefits of e-commerce. As the article states, it is important to have your own designated space on the world wide web to easily direct your visitors to a point of purchase.
There are plenty of online e-commerce templates and platforms that make selling online easy for everyone (Etsy, Ebay, Shopify, etc.) that are fantastic for presenting the products, exchanging money and tracking shipments but your business needs a face to go with that shopping experience much like in store. Create an online version of your business that will leave customers coming back for more.
Depending on your technical abilities and time availability, you may be able to create a website on your own with sites such as GoDaddy, Wix, Web.com, Site builder, etc. If your time is limited or your technical abilities aren’t great, hiring an agency may be a better option. Most agencies have different tiers of website design that can help make a custom website very affordable.
Why It’s Important
While your doors may close at night, the Internet is up and running 24/7. Customers don’t have to live in your zip code to or within driving distance to take advantage of deals. Unlike a storefront, an online business can allow customers the ability to check out what it is you do.
Online reviews will give repeat and future customers a better understanding of your products, service and overall plan. Those reviews can come with a price though. Be prepared for negative comments. Some may be warranted, but that’s not always the case. Run your business honestly and treat customers well and make sure they’re always satisfied and you’ll be more likely to survive negative comments. Be sure to encourage the feedback. Sites like Yelp or Google Places provide customers a forum to have their voices heard. Read those comments and do what you can to make improvements.
Having an online presence often makes it easier to sell your products. Customers typically don’t like the pressure of a sales pitch during face-to-face interactions. With so many different forms of social media, it’s also easier to get the word out about your business to a more global audience. Encourage your employees to like, share and Tweet the company website. Offer specials and deals to those customers who do the same. It’ll help build your brand globally.
These days starting and maintaining a website is relatively inexpensive. Chances are your competition is doing it. Get started now and prepare to reap the benefits.