Internet era has opened many channels for customers to connect with businesses signaling opportunities to engage large customer base. With the advent of new technologies, the list of platforms and devices supporting the online business channels is growing and expected to grow in future. An interesting yet useful survey conducted by The Economics Times (India’s leading business news paper) uncovers online presence of small businesses and the factors that contribute to the reluctance of small and medium startup to come online and be a part of larger e-commerce marketplace. With this article we are trying to focus on the problems that small startups face, in order to get into the e-commerce domain and potentials that it can unleash if done effectively.
Most of the startup feel that they are too small to be on online platform. This is myth, rather a mistake to be precise. Many things like marketing, social connection and communication are very important and crucial to the success of any small business. One thing that every business owner would agree with is – No small business is started with the aim of being small. With right strategy in place all small businesses are aimed towards becoming big, so it is safe to say that it is a transition phase, a change in progress, only question is how fast is this progress.
It is the faith, vision and mission of owners to expand their business. So, transition is the key. With that point of view, it becomes clear that no matter whether you are a small or big business, you need to have an online presence. It is not a supporting function nor a fad, rather it’s an integral part of your business and perhaps will become the most preferred channel for your customers. If your website is not part of the foundation, the whole fort that you build is incomplete.
It is extremely important to pay attention to how technology works in general and what you need to make it work for your business. Small businesses are usually not armed with tools, technologies and skill set to produce and support such online infrastructure. As a matter of fact, more often than not, technical capacity is the dragging factor. The science of website development simply seems out of scope for them. Due to this problem many of them keep themselves out of the online domain boundary or have poor presence with some workaround.
A fair argument presented by business owners is that their customers are not tech savvy and generally don’t use computers and mobiles to connect with them. It is true at certain extent and no one can deny, however without shifting the focus from the other business drivers, small businesses have to place a serious thought process for online tech savvy customer’s inclusion, as they are the future. Real estate available in the physical world cannot house all your offerings but the real estate in the web can certainly host all of them resulting in a self-service mechanism where customers comes, analyses and makes an informed decision. This kind of customer experience if rendered will become a favorite online spot where customer tend to frequent. One can argue that strong online business presence might not guarantee high speed progress but non-availability does guarantee slow progress for sure.
When it comes to healthy competitive Eco system, Business is all about being ahead, just keeping a forward thinking approach can take your business to the next level. Website and your online portal gives you that extra edge over your competitors and helps you to stay ahead in competition and also in business.
50% of the consumers use Google search to buy commodity or to utilize the services they go and do google search. This number is more in the developed nations such as American and European countries and fast growing developing nation. When your information is not available on the web it clearly corners you from the large pool of potential customers. Even if you have a website and it doesn’t appear in the search result serves no purpose, it is another issue that we will address. Basic information of the business and contacts helps customers to locate your business and connects you with them. Online order processing is not the only reason of coming online it is equally important to help your customers to locate and connect with you.
Your website facilitates the collaboration among your customers and business where they can talk about the quality of product and services. Rapid feedback cycle emerges out of this collaboration. This gives you a predictable measure with fair amount of certainty that you should make radical improvements about how you sell your product and deliver your services. This is possible only if you are open for the feedback 24*7 around the clock.
That being said poor online presence is as good as no presence. We have subscribed to the view that website is the gateway and front door of your online shop, it is imperative to build elegant design and pump valuable content for the portal. It reinforces your brand and identity. Content quality, visual aspects and how frequently it appears in the result of various search engines is the crucial factor. While many of the things can be covered by the amateur web designer quite a lot of hidden parts which governs the Search Engine Optimization (S.E.O) and visual appeal can only be enabled by professionals who can share your vision and your passion.
Hence, if you are not engaged with professional who can give you an outstanding online portal design and consulting experience you are missing something. Operational cost for website maintenance is nominal and negligible if you compare it with the benefits it brings to the table.
Your website is your space in the web. It is a marketing tool, sign of your business availability and much more. Make it your style statement!