By: Zack Duvall. President of Millennial Consulting LLC

*Photo Credit: NBC NEWS*

 

96% of Americans.

That’s the percentage of our fellow Americans that will make a purchase online this year, with 51% of them preferring the online method of shopping. Add in the fact that 48% of those online shoppers will overspend what they had initially budgeted, and you have a very profitable environment for businesses and retailers.

Very profitable indeed, if business owners choose to capitalize on that lucrative, potentially business changing ‘cyberscape’.

The keyword in that last sentence being “if”, especially with over 46% of all small businesses lacking even a basic website or social media presence.

‘Wait, basic website OR social media presence?’

Oh yeah, social media platforms drive sales as well. Accounting for 30% of purchases, by largely millennials and generation Xers, and being the sole influencing factor for 20% of those purchases.

Long story short, if you are failing to invest in web design and social media marketing you are failing to allow your business to reach maximum sales potential and profitability.

I can’t begin to tell you how many business owners I interact with that seem befuddled at the fact that online consumer spending has grown to have such an impact on market share and overall sales trends and figures. But the reality is, that the innovation-craving needs of consumers is constantly calling for business leaders to not only develop new and improved products, but also to update and improve the shopping experience for the consumer while at the same time streamlining it for increased revenue.

A large part of that is giving the consumer the ability to customize their shopping experience, including being able to browse your store’s newest merchandise from the comfort of their lazy boy eating bon-bons and sipping hot tea.

But I digress…

Besides what an online presence does for customer convenience and a company’s level of exposure to a massively profitable marketplace, it allows for you to establish your brand or company as a powerhouse expert in your industry field by giving you the tools to build a blog, send out informative and industry relevant newsletters that could be used to market certain products at the same time, while also allowing you to connect with potential customers who may have never even heard of your business otherwise.

Oh, and I may have forgot to mention in my run down of some of the numbers behind the online shopping earlier, impulse buys.

Impulse buys are those transactions that a customer makes after coming across effective online advertising for a business that not only directs the customer to a functional online point of sale/virtual browsing site, but connects with the customer in such a way that influences the customer to hit the ‘buy’ button and become a sale.

Impulse buys can be a solid stream of revenue for businesses that may not otherwise be available for the business had it not invested into an online sales and marketing strategy.

The statistics put the average rate of online transactions being “impulse buys”around 15% of all total online sales. A huge number when put into the context of how large the online market truly is.

The last major advantages a business that has a strong online presence and website is that the availability to customers is virtually, no pun intended, 24/7 365 days a year. Something that by itself gives online accessible businesses a huge leg up.

I mean think about it like this, if you were looking for a bank to do business with wouldn’t you prefer the bank whose services and products were always available or accessible? Wouldn’t that convenience almost be enough on its own to garner your patronage?  Why would it be any different between you, your competitors who have opened up online and consumers?

By the way, me being a numbers guy, I looked into this hypothesis of mine and found that 22% of customers directly cite a poor website design or online footprint as the main reason for overlooking one business for another when shopping for products or services.

The 24/7 connectivity in a way goes back to the convenience factor I mentioned earlier as well as the impulse buys I just touched on, but that’s what makes opening a second location online such a wise business move, it’s almost basic. The fact that all of the benefits of doing so connect to each other and build on one another, shows how vital an online strategy is and how it ties back into multiple aspects of business operation.

It’s not that simply opening up for business on the web or any of the numerous social media sites will magically or automatically improve your sales or leads numbers overnight to levels that you fantasize about.

But by not investing in building a second location online, you are truly not only limiting the potential scaling of your company, you are starving yourself of what a business owner truly needs; a way to reach a mass market of diverse demographics for, in terms of advertising costs, pennies on the dollar and puts your company literally at the fingertips of thousands of potential clients and customers.

A committed working partner who is knowledgeable on the virtual marketplace is something I consider a necessity for today’s business owners, especially if any part of the development process seems overwhelming. Challenging is different from overwhelming entirely and it’s important to distinguish the two terms. But a solid website and social media strategy is a must have for businesses in today’s world. The market has spoken and the consumers are following suit.

To be clear, it’s not that I’m trying to say that a business with no effective online presence won’t survive. It’s that I’m saying surviving is only part of the equation and as business leaders we are naturally striving for excellence in everything that we do, and a business plan that doesn’t include effective online marketing and sales planning is mediocre at best.

Your business deserves better than mediocrity. You deserve better than mediocre sales  projections and numbers. The fact that you’ve taken the steps needed to rise as far as you have in the business world so far proves that you have what it takes to not only survive, but excel and truly become a powerhouse in your field.

Tapping into the soon to be trillion dollar a year marketplace that calls the digital world home is the foundation for the road to that excellence and success!

To learn more, hit the “Let’s Get to Work” tab and let us help you get started on the road to success!

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