Modern business owners are faced with a dilemma. To be online or not to be. With the risk of sounding biased, the only place to be is online.
At the turn of the Millennium, the future of eCommerce was a blind alley. But now a lot of uncertainty has come tumbling down, and that alley is well and truly visible. And it is packed with such promise; you should feel compelled to walk down it.
The matter is simple. A significant portion of business revenue in the modern era comes from online transactions. Even profits made offline typically come from online marketing efforts.
According to Statistica, the UK is the highest grossing online market in Europe. In 2013, UK businesses made 107bn Euro. Online sales in the UK are growing at a rate of around 15% a year. In 2015, 77% of consumers made online purchases.
Shoppers are online
The majority of shoppers are using online resources to either shop or research a product before they buy. And 92 percent of the UK population use the internet.
Furthermore, there are very few product or services that cannot be sold online. The number of transactions that take place where buyers do not need to visit a physical store is rising – which courier companies are delighted about.
Case in point: Amazon started purely as an online retailer in 1995. Now you see Amazon distribution centres and modest outlets on the high street and shopping centres.
Furthermore, Amazon owner, Jeff Bezos is planning an expansion of retail pop-up stores. So offline stores still have value. But it is clear that they are promoted by having an online presence.
Therefore, modern businesses need a website as much as they need a physical store.
The advantages of a website
By no means am I suggesting you should plough all your effort into an online business. The ideal scenario for modern businesses is to balance offline marketing with online marketing.
But what I will say is: for modern businesses to survive, you need an online presence.
The consumer research group, Nielsen, published a report earlier this year which looked into what online users are doing and not doing online. The study found that the majority of shopper’s research online, but make large purchases in-store.
Furthermore, a website gives customers information about your business, brand and reputation. These trust issues are critical for businesses regardless of the era.
Another advantage a website will give you is rivalling your competition. Shoppers have a tendency to walk into a shop, see an item they are interested in buying, then go online to see if your competitors are selling the same item at a lower price.
So if you don’t have a website, you will not be able to prise customers from the grasp of your competitors.