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Why Online Stores are the Best Thing since Sliced Bread

In small towns across North Queensland (and elsewhere I’m sure), there is evidence of an economic downturn on every main street.

Online StoresMany small shop fronts are sitting empty with no real outlook to opening again anytime soon. The factors behind this situation are many and varied but one of the most common blames is put directly onto the rise of online shopping.

If your business sells products of any shape or form, whether they are toasters, cars or even houses, there is absolutely no reason why you should miss out on a cut of the market by not having your very own ecommerce store. It doesn’t matter if you are a huge conglomerate with hundreds of stores nationwide or the local dress shop marketing your own fashions, everyone can have a slice of the pie if they are clever and utilise the power of the web.

There is a huge recompense to having an online store that most business owners don’t recognise, and these advantages can’t be achieved through a regular bricks and mortar store.

An online store has no landlord!

Not a single cent is paid in rent for your online store. The only costs you will incur, other than the original design of your site, is the monthly/yearly charge for your web server, the domain name and charges from outside agencies such as PayPal and/or your bank.

When you compare this to the cost of leasing a shop, you can guess who comes out in front. Talking to local business owners in my home town has shown me that the cost of a lease is one of the biggest factors forcing businesses to close. There’s not enough custom through the front door to warrant the outlay. No such problem with an online shop.

Levels the playing field with the Big Guys

When you operate an online store, you can pretend to be as big or small as you want. Many small online operators like to push the “smaller” operation approach as this can help to give you that personal touch missing from one of the larger stores. However, stores like Harvey Norman are trying to cash in on this notion by utilising a chat system that pops up at the bottom of the shop screen. Once again, the small business owner can compete with this through the use of a very simple plug in like ClickDesk or LiveChat.

Open for Business 24/7

An online store means that you can make a sale – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even when you are asleep, your site can be making for you. Imagine logging on at work each morning (during the business week, of course) and seeing a whole backlog of purchases that were made and paid for even while the physical offices of your business were shut! The advantages of this should be whole apparent – you can’t do this with a bricks and mortar store. Once again, you can compete with the big guys – on their level.

Customer Interaction

An Ecommerce store can also be integrated with a healthy Social Media campaign allowing the store to “converse” with customers and potential customers in a friendly environment. Any problems or questions about products and services can be solved with no awkward or sometimes aggravated face to face contact. Tips and tricks can be passed on almost immediately to patrons with no wait time (depending on the level of customer service available) – business owners can answer issues from the luxury of their armchairs at home if they want.

An ideal example of this customer interaction can be seen in full use by Blackmilk Clothing on both their Facebook pages and website. Happy customers can be seen happily conversing with the Blackmilk team and showing off their latest purchases on the pages of the site. In return, the Blackmilk team gets instant feedback and direction, straight from the people wearing their gear.

Final Note

An online store can add an extra line of revenue to a business and it doesn’t even have to be the end of the physical shop front. Caravans Plus in Queanbeyan operate both with an offer in their ecommerce checkout that allows customers to order online and pickup in person, a perfect setup for the grey nomad travelling through that part of the world. No freight!

If you are interested in creating an online store, get in touch with Tropical Coast Web Design and have a chat about what is possible for your business. We can create ecommerce stores for all types of businesses, large and small.

 

Three Key Reasons Why Fresh Content is critical for your website

Three Key Reasons Why Fresh Content is critical for your websiteThere is nothing more frustrating for a website visitor to come calling on a business site and find that the website is filled with out-of-date content.

Business prospects are instantly “turned off” any chance of actually becoming clients of the business and current clients will quickly become frustrated at the lack of online support for products and services.

In an age where consumers expect to have information available right at their fingertips, an out-of-date website with poor content could easily mean the difference between success and failure, both online and offline. Here’s three key reasons you should keep your website up to date and “fresh”:

Send the right message to your prospects

As the saying goes, “First Impressions Count”, and your prospects want to be impressed. An old website with content that is no longer relevant to them sends out the wrong message immediately and says to the prospective customer “we can’t be bothered to update our website and we put the same amount of effort into the rest of our business” (even though this may not be true).

Try to hook potential customers with engaging information, tutorials, videos, product demonstrations or free downloads all about the products or services that you want to sell them. This attention to detail will pay off in “bucket-loads” as they realise you are serious about what you do and that your business is the one they want to work with.

Provide your customers with the support they expect

Your current customers deserve to be looked after as well. You want them to return time and time again and this is possible with the 24/7 support that a well-structured website can give them. If they have problems outside (or inside) your business hours with your products or just need to find out how to use them effectively, your website can do this with downloadable how-to sheets, videos, customer forums and help desks.

In a generation where everyone is looking online for what they need – your website needs to be supportive environment where YOUR CUSTOMERS can get what they need – when they want it!

Google!

Not only is a freshly contented website good for impressing prospects and helping customers, it is also very good for the website itself. Google’s search ranking algorithm has a special fondness for sites with updated, relevant content, promoting sites with these higher on search results.

Once ranked, Google re-visits your site every few weeks and checks the content it finds against the content from its last visit. If it finds the same old information each time, you will see that your business website will begin to drop down in search rankings – possibly below that of your competitors.

A new article in your blog, added photos in a gallery or testimonials from customers are easy to add and make Google “happy” with your website.

As you can see, it isn’t too hard to keep your website “fresh”. Simply dedicate a few minutes each week (or day if you can) to adding new information that is relevant to the customers that you have and the ones you want to attract. Integrate a website content plan into your everyday business operations and reap the benefits as your online visitors begin to see your business as passionate, supportive and above all, operating with your finger on the pulse of your industry.

Tropical Coast Web Design