The move of businesses to online channels has been swift and aggressive. A recent study by Forrester Research found that, in 2017, online sales will account for $523 billion, or 44 percent of total retail sales. That’s up from 36 percent in 2013.
Several factors are driving this trend. First, consumers are increasingly comfortable making purchases online. A recent survey by Walker Sands found that nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of U.S. consumers have purchased online in the past month. And they’re not just buying books and clothes anymore; they’re buying cars and houses too.
Second, businesses realize they need to be where their customers are, which means going online. A recent study by Google found that 97 percent of companies believe having a website is vital to their success.
And finally, technology is making it easier for businesses to sell online. Advancements such as cloud computing and mobile commerce are making it easy for companies to set up an online store and reach customers anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, you might be in the initial process of going online, making these priorities essential.
If there is anything that you can say about online presence, it’s that having a website is essential. Without one, your business will likely get left behind in the dust of other competitors. Not to mention, Internet users prefer businesses that have websites; studies have found that 88 percent of Internet users are more likely to purchase from companies with professional-looking sites.
Your website should be clean and easy for customers or potential customers to navigate quickly and find what they need. When designing your site, ensure it’s mobile-friendly so customers can access your products or services from any device. Your site should include all the necessary pages, such as contact information, an About Us page, product descriptions, and a blog if you plan on creating content.
Social Media Platforms
Nowadays, businesses need a presence on the top social media platforms. Doing so allows you to keep in touch with customers, and potential customers, build a positive brand image and increase your potential customer base. Additionally, research shows that users who follow your company via social media are more likely to become paying customers than those who don’t.
Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat offer various opportunities for brands to reach their target audience and also help increase customer engagement. Posting relevant content, such as product updates or industry news, can make visitors familiar with your business and establish trust. Social media advertising can increase sales by targeting specific customer profiles.
Content marketing should be a cornerstone of any online business strategy. Creating content (such as blog posts, articles, and videos) helps you attract visitors to your website, establish yourself as an expert in your field, and strengthen customer relationships. Content marketing also allows businesses to set thought leadership within their industry.
Developing high-quality material that resonates with the audience and adds value to them is essential when creating content. Additionally, promoting the content through various channels is equally important so people can easily find you.
If you plan to sell products or services online, an e-commerce platform such as Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce is essential. These platforms enable businesses to create user-friendly and secure sites where customers can purchase their products. These platforms also provide valuable features such as payment processing options, product catalogs, and inventory management systems.
However, e-commerce platforms can be competitive, making it necessary to hire professional help when you’re setting up your online store. Shopify E-commerce development services can help businesses build and optimize their online stores to ensure they reach more customers and increase sales.
Online advertising is also an excellent way for companies to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and sell products or services. Digital platforms such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Bing Ads allow you to target specific visitors based on their interests, demographics, and location. Doing so can help you get the most out of your digital campaigns by spending less on ads that don’t produce results.
However, before launching an ad campaign, you’ll need to thoroughly research each platform, its features, and its target audience. Additionally, it’s essential to test different variations of ads and adjust them accordingly.
Moving your business online can help increase visibility, sales, and customer engagement. To do so successfully, you’ll need to create a website using an e-commerce platform, establish yourself on social media platforms, develop content marketing materials, and use digital advertising. You may want to hire professional help when setting up your online store or launching campaigns. You can reach more customers and grow your business with the right strategy.