If you don't know why you want a website, it may be a waste of resource to have one. Spend some time brainstorming within your organization deciding on what you want a website to do for you. Without a real purpose, a Web site is just a complete waste of time.
To help you with getting your thinking process in the right direction, we will discuss
some powerful reasons to have a website. Obviously, this is a general discussion. Each business is unique and you may have different reasons.
Be Open For Business 24 hours a day
With e-mail, people can contact you anytime it is convenient for them. You can respond anytime that's convenient for you. Of course, it is important that you give a "timely-response" just as if someone called you. It is part of the customer service that will enable you to build a superior business that will get repeat customers. When you have a website, potential customers can find out about your products and services 24 hours a day.
So, having an eCommerce enabled website allows you to expand the service hours for your business.
Your website will be open 24 hours a day. Even when you are closed, it can take orders for you.
Expand your trading area - Global Reach
With a web site, you can reach customers from outside your traditional marketing area. A traditional brick and mortar business typically have a reach of 40-50 miles. People are not going to drive 200 miles to buy things from your store. (You can reach them by mail order, however.) A website allows you to expand your geographic reach. Now you can reach the whole world. For example,
holisticonline.com, a website developed by ICBS, Inc. now reaches over 170 countries in 6 continents.
Connectingtouch.com, another website developed by ICBS, Inc., had sales enquiries from Puerto Rico for massage supplies! Plus, we get orders from places like Alaska, which would have been impossible working in the traditional way.
The Internet is being used on a regular basis by millions worldwide. Many of the new users come from countries around the world. They want to buy the "latest and greatest" products. They have money. With the Internet they can become your customer! How much do you think it would cost you to advertise in the Times of London, the Times of India, the Tokyo Daily, Amazon Express, and the Moscow Today? Compare that to the cost of a website. The information you provide on your website is instantly available to every one of these users.
Give Information about your business without having to tie a staff person - Reduce staffing costs
Your website can easily give information about your operating hours, location (address) and driving directions to your store, etc. You can also provide them with detailed information about your products, your specials for the week, etc.
When you have a web site, you can offer your products and services without hiring any extra employees. This will enable you to provide superior customer service without spending extra money. You won't have to spend any resources on compensating or insuring your new staff members and still be able to maintain the same level of sales and customer service.
For example, ebanking was a life-saver for banks. Cost of a transaction drops from $1.07 per transaction when a customer goes to a branch fro his transaction as compared to $0.10 per transaction via the internet. Obviously, the savings are substantial. We have a local bank that has opened a special account for just transaction business via the internet. They found that they can reach customers far from their service area at a substantial savings by using the internet. Boeing does more than $1 million/day on the internet on spare parts. Citybank expects to get 900 million new customers in the next 5 years by web. They have estimated that it will cost them $10.7 billion to acquire 900 million customers in the traditional way, such as direct marketing, brochures, branches, etc. Web, on the other hand is practically free! Businesses such as UPS, Fed Express, Post Office etc. now use the web services to enable their customers to track packages without human intervention. Post office, for example, allows the customers to track all their parcel, priority mail, express mail, certified mail etc. using their website.
Improve your company's image or brand.
A well-designed website create an image of a well established company. Using the Internet, you can create any image of yourself you want. It is all in your hands: design a professional web site, add helpful content, and your company will immediately take a step up in the image it represents. No matter how small your business is, with the right tools and a great desire you can make it look like a big corporation on the Web!
Save on postage and printing costs.
Businesses spend considerable amount of money printing, and mailing brochures, manuals etc. By making this information available on the web, you can trim your expenses considerably. A website also allows you to make timely updates or corrections, much faster than you can by resorting to printing and mailing. Your information will always be current. (Of course, this means that you make timely updates to your websites. There is nothing more annoying to visit a website that touts a Christmas party that happened 3 years ago!) Use email and your website to improve your communication to your customers. Collect your customers' E-Mail addresses and keep in touch with them about special events in your store via E-Mail.
Unlimited low cost advertisement.
Advertisements in local newspaper, trade magazine, etc. are pretty expensive. Now you can use small advertisements in locals papers with the details in your website. This is very cost effective. On the Web, there is no limit to how much you can put. You can add pictures, articles, newsletters, rates, product images and so much more! With just one web site, you can have almost unlimited advertisement for the same low monthly cost.
If you have employees or suppliers, your web site is the best way to communicate between you and them. Changes take effect as soon as you post them on the Web, and everyone can see updated information without having to wait for a new database of products, and without contacting you directly.
Impeccable customer service.
Provide personalized support for your customers with answers to common questions; assistance on specific products or services, provide a variety of ways in which you can be contacted, etc. Do all this without answering a phone or hiring additional staff.
Utilizing the Internet to educate your customers can translate to higher sales for you. For example, how many times have your customers said:
These customers, once they discover online shopping, will never go back to the stores unless absolutely necessary. Make it easy for them to shop on line with your website. By putting your products online, you satisfy the needs of such customers and therefore succeed in one more niche.
Reach customers that speak a foreign language
Your products may have a global reach. Do not restrict your market to the "English-speaking" world. Have your website translated into several languages. Offer a choice of language to the users when they come to your home page. This will increase your exposure.
Showcase your work.
Whether you are a real estate agent, construction business owner or a beauty salon specialist - you can put your work on display when you have a web site. Anytime a potential client wants to see your past work and projects, simply refer him or her to your site.
Say you just received a new product and you want to advertise a "special." Reaching your customers via the phone, sending a letter, or FAX would be time-consuming and expensive. With the Internet you can send out an e-mail to 500 of your best customers with the click of your mouse. You can put a "SPECIAL" notice on your website advertising the new product.
Click here <quote.htm> to request a free quote on your web design project.
Test and try new ideas
Internet is a "brand-new" medium. No one really knows all of the ways you can make money from the Internet. You can use internet to test market new ideas with very little cost. If it doesn't work, you learned the lesson. You can modify your idea or improve it based on customer feedback.