9 Reasons Your Offline Business Must Have an Online Presence

By Elibariki Sumari

Though less and less common these days, a common question that traditional “brick and mortar” business owners ask is: Why should I take my traditional company online?

First of all, let’s clarify something. In the sense of this article a “traditional company” is one with a physical location and sells either in person, by phone, or mail; essentially a traditional “bricks-and-mortar” business. They may or may not have walk-in customers. Essentially, a business that is not selling physical products exclusively online, like an e-commerce company.

While in many cases, the steps for setting up an online presence for a bricks and mortar business are very similar to those if you wanted to start an online business, there are some things that make an online presence for a bricks and mortar business unique.

There is much said about doing business on the internet or “putting your business online”. To many, it may just sound too complicated or too risky. But there are many good reasons to begin selling (and running your business) online. Here are the top nine reasons you should establish an online presence for your offline business:

9 Reasons You Should Start Doing Business Online

1. Improving Your Company Image

This alone should be enough reason to start a new website and begin selling online. It’s an extremely important factor considering that without a website, blog, or online presence prospective clients could begin to wonder how serious you are about business. Today, companies of all sizes and industries are establishing a successful online presence.

If you don’t have an online presence (and a professional one to boot) then you can’t expect your prospects to take you seriously and you will lose business to competitors that do have an effective online presence. Quite frankly, you need to have an online presence because your prospects and customers expect you to have one.

2. 24/7 365 Hour Availability

While some fast food restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations manage 24-hour service, it is impossible for most businesses. That is, without the internet. A key benefit to having an e-commerce website is that your clients and prospects can read about your products and place orders at any time — day or night. On regular business days or holidays. Imagine what being open 3-4 times longer could do for your business.

Even if you have a traditional offline services type business you can generate leads and inquiries while you are closed and follow up with those prospects and customers once you open the next day. Many people will want to do their research at the end of the day when your office or business is closed, but your website can operate and your 2/47 sales person to answer questions and generate leads (or sales).

3. Better Customer Support

The internet allows you to answer questions, give sales webinars, and solve customer problems—all without taking any of your time. Create a video, a product spec sheet or a FAQ (frequently asked question) section once, and you can direct clients to that information for years. Not only does it save you time, but you’ll be providing better service. Your clients and prospects are looking for specific information, such as:

  • Before they make a buying decision
  • To solve a problem with an existing purchase
  • Researching alternatives before making a buying decision

With an online presence, you can give them just the information that they are looking for, and just when they are looking for it. This means fewer phone calls with technical questions and more sales. You can spend more time working on the revenue generating activities in your business and spend less time handling common customer service issues.

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to develop a relationship and increase sales.

4. Very Low Start-up Costs

Starting out online means very low startup costs. You have no buildings to construct, no vehicles to buy and few (if any) staff to hire. Simply build your site and start selling. If you are already selling offline then the transition can be very smooth. You continue selling the same products that you know and have a good supply of. Putting your company online simply gives you a new source of customers.

The reality is you can outsource a lot of the technical stuff and even things such as social media marketing.

While you could spend tens of thousands of dollars developing the best website and e-commerce solution many of your competitors will be doing it on a shoestring. A good website can be designed simply and for very little money.

Using a free platform like a self-hosted WordPress blog and a professional quality premium theme ($70 – $200) you can build a professional site by yourself. Some web hosting companies offer free site building tools.

With a good WordPress theme, it is possible for you to design your own site and do it with (almost) no coding.

To get started on a shoestring budget, expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. The basic expenses include web hosting, WordPress theme, domain name, and email marketing autoresponder service. Once its all set up it can run on virtual autopilot. You can make regular updates yourself or just pay someone to make updates for you as needed.

5. The Internet Was Made for Business

The beauty of the internet is that your prospective client(s) can literally be just one click away from your online store. Through the internet, you can now educate, instruct and solve clients problems. You can accept orders and payments and receive them directly to your inbox.

You’ll want to learn about new effective and inexpensive ways to drive traffic to your website; the more people who find you online the more leads and sales you’ll make. While in the past many people were hesitant to do business over the internet, today it is as common as swiping a credit card at a physical location.

6. Live / Work from Anywhere

Are the long cold winters starting to get you down? Are you tired of the constant heat and humidity where you live? Taking your business online gives you the ability to have location freedom so you can live and work from anywhere you want; you’re not stuck to a physical location.

As long as you have a solid internet connection you can live virtually anywhere while you conduct your online business. Many people live in one continent, have their hosting on another and their warehouse on yet another. The world has gotten very small and you can take advantage of this. You could even move to the Caribbean or South America, enjoying a low cost of living, while doing business online.

With few exceptions, the internet reduces your need to “be” somewhere. Live where you want to, and let your business adapt to your lifestyle instead of the other way around. There are some notable exceptions, like landscapers, surgeons and home painters who must be in a specific location to perform their work.

Of course, as appealing as this all sounds, having an online business is not for everyone. There are many reasons you should not start an online business and keep your day job or traditional business.

7. Reduce Operation Costs

Just one single task can make a significant difference in cost savings. For example, receiving orders online reduces the need for customer service staff. With comprehensive sales and product information online, you’ll simply receive purchase orders and payments via email or into your database. Staff numbers can be reduced, thus office space and related office expenses.

A really good sales video, sales letter, or online webinar presentation can replace a full-time salesperson.

Making use of various online service providers you can now take all aspects of your business online, such as purchasing, billing, order fulfillment, and shipping. Other functions can include pre-emptive customer service—such as answering client questions via a FAQ section or a customer forum.

8. Target the Global Market

With your brick and mortar business, you are limited to the number of individuals who can visit you at any given time, let alone find you. With a good website, you can literally have thousands, even tens of thousands (even millions) of people visiting your online store at once. Imagine the potential for your company, if you could expose your products and services to a potentially unlimited number of interested people.

Being able to have thousands of visitors and actually having them are two different things. The success of an online business depends on the same thing as any off-line business: marketing. Learn how to increase blog traffic. Content marketing is a great way to increase traffic to your site / online store. Social media can be a powerful and inexpensive (free) way to drive qualified prospects to your site. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that mastering the art of copywriting is one of the most valuable skills you can learn to increase sales.

9. Increase Company Responsiveness

The internet allows you to deliver your proposal, purchase order, order confirmation quickly—in many cases instantly—to your clients. Online stores will process orders and confirm them to the client. In the olden days, purchase orders were called in, mailed or dropped off. Depending on the workload of the sales staff, it could have taken hours, or even days to process the order. With a competent online store application, you can automatically track inventory, sales numbers, outstanding orders – everything. Faster response time means happier clients and less administrative work for you.

These are some of the most powerful reasons you should take your offline business online. With all the benefits of having an online business many people are selling their traditional businesses and launching online businesses for the time, location, and financial freedom it offers.

Whether you are a service provider who has to be in a certain location or have the ability to turn your bricks and mortar business into an online e-commerce website; the internet is a powerful tool to reach more prospects and turn them into qualified leads and customers; with many of the processes being completely automated.

Average website attacks today is XX times per day

hacker laptop

The average website was attacked 44 times a day during the last quarter of 2017, according to new research from security specialist SiteLock.

The company analyzed six million sites to identify trends in the behavior and tactics of attackers. Though the number of attacks represents a 25 percent decrease over the previous quarter, it still means a site could be attacked 16,000 times a year.

“A decrease in attacks does not mean that websites are safer. In fact, it may even be the opposite,” says Neill Feather, president. “Hackers are constantly trying new avenues and even leveraging older tactics that continue to be successful. As our research shows, cybercriminals are now able to successfully breach a site with fewer, more targeted attacks. Now more than ever, businesses need to evaluate their current security posture and ensure they have both the right technology and a response plan in place should a hack occur.”

Among other findings are that around one percent of sites sampled are infected with malware each week. Yet only 19 percent of infected sites are blacklisted by search engines. WordPress sites using plugins are twice as likely to be infected as sites that don’t employ a content management system. In addition 46 percent of infected WordPress sites have the latest core updates. The average number of infected files per site increased by 0.8 percent to 309.

The malware being used is increasingly complex too. 51 of the malware found was categorized as Encoded Malware, meaning it was randomly generated or difficult to decode. These are often parts of groups of files called ‘attack kits’. Back doors made up 12 percent of files, resulting in more files being uploaded to infected sites.

Information Technology & Its Role in the Modern Organization

Information technology has implications for every type of of business, and it can help with your day to day operations. Information technology (IT) has become a vital and integral part of every business plan. From multi-national corporations who maintain mainframe systems and databases to small businesses that own a single computer, IT plays a role. The reasons for the omnipresent use of computer technology in business can best be determined by looking at how it is being used across the business world.

Communication

For many companies, email is the principal means of communication between employees, suppliers and customers. Email was one of the early drivers of the Internet, providing a simple and inexpensive means to communicate. Over the years, a number of other communications tools have also evolved, allowing staff to communicate using live chat systems, online meeting tools and video-conferencing systems. Voice over internet protocol (VOIP) telephones and smart-phones offer even more high-tech ways for employees to communicate.

Inventory Management

When it comes to managing inventory, organizations need to maintain enough stock to meet demand without investing in more than they require. Inventory management systems track the quantity of each item a company maintains, triggering an order of additional stock when the quantities fall below a pre-determined amount. These systems are best used when the inventory management system is connected to the point-of-sale (POS) system. The POS system ensures that each time an item is sold, one of that item is removed from the inventory count, creating a closed information loop between all departments.

Data Management

The days of large file rooms, rows of filing cabinets and the mailing of documents is fading fast. Today, most companies store digital versions of documents on servers and storage devices. These documents become instantly available to everyone in the company, regardless of their geographical location. Companies are able to store and maintain a tremendous amount of historical data economically, and employees benefit from immediate access to the documents they need.

Management Information Systems

Storing data is only a benefit if that data can be used effectively. Progressive companies use that data as part of their strategic planning process as well as the tactical execution of that strategy. Management Information Systems (MIS) enable companies to track sales data, expenses and productivity levels. The information can be used to track profitability over time, maximize return on investment and identify areas of improvement. Managers can track sales on a daily basis, allowing them to immediately react to lower-than-expected numbers by boosting employee productivity or reducing the cost of an item.

Customer Relationship Management

Companies are using IT to improve the way they design and manage customer relationships. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems capture every interaction a company has with a customer, so that a more enriching experience is possible. If a customer calls a call center with an issue, the customer support representative will be able to see what the customer has purchased, view shipping information, call up the training manual for that item and effectively respond to the issue. The entire interaction is stored in the CRM system, ready to be recalled if the customer calls again. The customer has a better, more focused experience and the company benefits from improved productivity.

 

 

8* Reasons to have a business website

Now an algorithm-based system to facilitate organ transplants

NEW DELHI: Aiming to ease the process of finding the right organ donors in India, a medical assistance start-up has developed an algorithm-based system to facilitate donor exchanges for organ transplants.

“The algorithm is ready and available. The patient’s family has to submit the patient details and the pairing will be done. We are addressing liver patients first, as the requests from all over the country is in large numbers,” Ravi Virmani, CEO and Founder, Credihealth, told IANS in an e-mailed response.

The Gurugram (Haryana)-based company said it assists patients looking for organ swapping services to connect with the right doctor and hospital, and facilitate the exchange of relevant information pertaining to the procedure and cost.

For organs transplants, finding a donor may not always solve the problem as doctors need to ensure the compatibility of the donor with the recipient. In cases of incompatibility, the “swap donor” system could help.

In India, there are three different systems for living organ donation.