July 14, 2024 3:10 pm

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July 14, 2024 3:10 pm

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The Critical Importance of an Online Presence

Small business owners who only operate brick-and-mortar establishments should very strongly consider expanding their marketplace presence into the online world. A store website created and maintained properly is a nearly surefire avenue to greatly increase profits. It is also a critical necessity to achieve and maintain success.

Online shopping has exploded exponentially over the past decade. There is good reason. More than ever, we live in an “I need it now” world. The convenience of online purchases, from household products and entertainment items to gifts, food and everything in-between, magnified by rapid home delivery, has substantially cut into traditional stores’ revenues.

The COVID pandemic significantly boosted this already highly popular method of shopping. Concerned about their health and safety, consumers took to the web to order items in bulk for direct delivery or curbside pick-up.

This caused a drop in convenience store and small grocery sales. People who patronized physical stores pre-pandemic continue to do so. But some have drastically cut down on their trips after discovering the benefits of ordering nearly every imaginable item online.

Some small business owners mistakenly believe that shopping websites are only for major chain stores and iconic brands. But any small business can benefit by diving into the digital world, whether it be a mom-and-pop pharmacy, corner grocery, deli or convince store.

For instance, people can scroll through a local deli’s catering options on their mobile phone. At this point, people are accustomed to ordering and coordinating delivery times online, especially on their phones.

It is important to many consumers to shop local, and they often do so online. They may prefer to order from your establishment. If your business has yet to launch a web-based shop, you will by default offer local competitors the chance to happily fill your spot.

In addition, your reputation is at stake. Some shoppers will frown on your business if it lacks an online presence. They may think that you are old-fashioned and become frustrated that you cannot meet their needs. Those people may decide to forego your store for a competitor with a web shop.

There are several other ways in which storeowners can benefit from maintaining an online store presence. A major plus is the 24-7 availability of online shopping. A small business that augments its physical presence with an online store can reach customers who may not have time to visit your traditional store before closing time.

Further, merchants that find themselves with extra inventory are more likely to clear the shelves for other items by promoting a clearance sale physically and digitally.

By using a sophisticated point of sale program, your online shop can store customer information. This allows you to send strategic, individualized notices of special promotions and sales based on consumers’ past buying habits.

There are upfront costs involved with developing online stores; it is important for business owners to see the long-term benefits and positive return on investment. The competition in retail is grueling. Establishing an online presence and keeping up with the latest technology is a necessity to thrive and prepare yourself for future success.

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