Reasons Why You Should Consider Taking Your Business Online
The world is becoming increasingly digitized by the day. Here’s why setting up online might be a good project for you to consider.
Lower Start-Up Capital
If you’re only just starting your business, this is one of the most influential reasons to set up your business online. The start-up capital for an online business is drastically lower than that of an offline business. You don’t need to find an office or retail space. You also don’t need to pay out for the original fitting of your office or shop. This means no outlay for lighting and heating installations, flooring, furniture, till systems, stockroom shelving, and product display equipment. A lot of the costs involved in setting up an online business are ones that you would have had to lay out in an offline business anyway. For example, paying a graphic designer to create your brand logo and general aesthetic. New costs will include a web host, a domain name and a web designer to help you build your website. However, the web host and domain name are often paid monthly through rolling low-cost subscriptions. Don’t try to skimp out on your web designer. Your site is the only thing your customers will have to judge you on. First impressions are important and can be the deciding factor as to whether your customers put their hands in their pockets or not. Remember, when it comes to web design you get what you pay for.
Once your website is up and going, it will require relatively little upkeep. You will have to make your monthly payments to your host and domain unless you opt to pay for the year outright. If you plan to refresh the page’s content yourself, then there’s not all too much that you have to pay out for.
With reduced running and upkeep costs, you can afford to offer your customer better prices than before. This will increase your average number of sales and up the number of items or services bought per person. At the end of the day, this is all about making a profit. So it is important to make yourself competitive in your given field of commerce.
Larger Customer Base
If your business is entirely offline, you will only draw regular customers from the local surrounding area. You will also make one-off sales to passing visitors. With your business being introduced to the web, you are opening your business up to a much larger customer base. Your products and services will then be available nationwide. This can be increased to a reach on an international level. Make your business social. An increasing percentage of the population are taking to the internet to do their shopping. If you advertise through social media networks, those who are partial to an online shop will be more likely to see your brand and items or services.
If you are online, customers will use self-service methods of purchase. They will add items to their basket and checkout securely. You needn’t lift a finger when it comes to processing payments and taking delivery details, as most online payment systems are automated. Your store opening hours will also increase from the standard 9-5 to 24/7. Buying is often a split second decision, so by being available throughout the day and night, you are likely to make more sales than if your customer has to wait until the next day. You don’t need to man the site constantly, as you would a real life store. Your stock is safe from theft. With less time spent carrying out paperwork and manually processing sales, you will be able to provide better customer service regarding customer inquiries.
Online businesses can be based anywhere. You can update your stock from home, while you’re on holiday or around other daily tasks.
So, if you do decide to set up online, how do you go about doing it?
Before you go about making any major changes to your business, it is important to make sure you have a well-thought-out business plan. Setting up a site requires planning. Create a budget for your website and brand design. Workout how much you will earn on average and whether you have to be VAT registered. Are you going to invest in marketing and advertising? Will you register as a sole trader or a limited company? If you are selling goods, work out how much you are going to have to charge customers for shipping (national and international). If you ever feel you are struggling, there is plenty of it support for financial sector and business sectors available.
Choose A Domain Name
Depending on how common or unique your business name is, your desired domain name may or may not be taken. If your domain name is taken, there is a chance that you will be able to buy it from its current owner. Many people buy domain names specifically to sell them to businesses. Alternatively, you could try adding dashes or rearranging words to get an apt domain. Try to keep it single, the more characters in your domain name, the harder it will be for customers to remember.
Pick A Host
There are numerous hosts, and some have special connections with certain website platforms. Research the best hosts for the type of website you are hoping to run.
Set Up Social Media
By setting up social media pages for your business, customers will be able to “like”, rate, review and share your business with their friends. The more good feedback you receive, the more potential future buyers are to put their trust into your business and your brand.
Build Your Website
You can do this yourself, but you will have better outcomes from a web designer. Research reliable and trusted web designers and choose one whose style fits your brand image.
Include Important Information
Test and Protect Your Site
Make sure to thoroughly test your site before launching. Make sure that all links and pages are in good working order. If you are going to be taking payments online, use a secure and trusted payment system. This will protect you and your buyer from theft and potential fraud. Protect your site from dangerous threats and always backup your data.