As technology becomes more integrated in the way we live and work, businesses are finding a way to become more digitised in order to adapt to ever-changing trends in consumer behaviour. Now with estimations of 1.8 billion people purchasing online worldwide, with forecasts of $4.8 trillion to be spent on just ecommerce sales alone by 2021, it’s vital that business owners look to take their business online as other competitors vigorously look to take the same approach.
According to reports by the media agency, UM, it is estimated that 76% of people on average do research on a product or service prior to making a purchase. Finding information in the form of a product review, a brand’s background or a company’s portfolio is used by most as a form of immediate gratification to determine a product’s reliability, which ultimately contributes in their decision-making prior to making a purchase. Without a website displaying any kind of information about your brand or business, you start to lose credibility and deter customers as a result.
If you don’t have a website already, below are some key reasons as to why you need a website in 2021 (and why you’re missing out if you don’t!).
1) Brings in New Customers
A common argument seen over and over again from people who are adamant about not setting up a website is that they have enough business already, and that they don’t see the potential of a website bringing in more customers. That can be further from the truth.
3.5 billion searches are being processed by Google daily, with a significant proportion of these search results coming from those trying to find a solution to a problem that your business has the potential to solve. Not having a website means that potential customers who would’ve otherwise looked to purchase from you wouldn’t even be able to. Most new emerging business nowadays are being discovered online, so optimising your website to reach your target audience allows for potential customers to find your products or services more easily. Additionally, having a website also means your business is always available and online, even outside of your working hours – you have that central point for customers to make contact with you and send you enquiries in their own time.
2) Gives your Business Credibility
Websites can build the credibility of your business with the use of testimonials, reviews and a portfolio of your work. As discussed earlier, the majority of customers now tend to do research on a product, service or a brand before they commit to purchasing from or working with them. Having an online presence not only helps build your reputation, but makes your business appear more professional and established, creating a strong first impression and helps you to stand out from the crowd.
3) Shows off your Best Work
If you run a service based business, for example cake decorating, house designing, wedding planning etc, it can be tempting to rely on word of mouth for new business opportunities – but word of mouth just isn’t enough to compete with rival competitors growing exponentially who also look to use the digital space to their advantage to grow their business.
Uploading pictures or samples of your best work can let customers know what to expect when it comes to the kind of projects you’ve completed previously as well as to what standard of quality, allowing them to make the decision of it suits what it is they’re looking for. Most customers looking for a product or service will already have an idea in mind what it is they’re after, so guiding them in the right direction by showing excerpts of your work can speed up their decision making process for them to make initial contact with you. Overall, customers always want to know they’re getting value for the money they invest, so putting your best foot forward gives customers a sense of confidence in your work, and gives you a better chance of winning them over.
3) Answers Questions Customers May Have
Having a website gives you a space to present valuable information to your customers. For example, your customers might be looking for a full list of ingredients for certain cosmetics or food prior to making a purchase which could be easily uploaded to a website. They might also be looking for general information like shipping and delivery times, return policies, contact details etc. Having a page dedicated to key pieces of information gives customers a sense of immediate gratification and leads to a higher conversion rate. Most of the time, if a customer cannot find the answer to what it is they’re looking for, they’ll choose not to purchase at all over sending you an enquiry.
4) Saves you Time, Money and Energy
Having a website can save you a lot of valuable time, money and energy in the long run for all kinds of businesses (not just e-commerce!) whether that be product or service based.
Websites and social media posts can be easily edited to adjust to growing trends to appeal to the current market, and cater to your audience’s changing behaviours and preferences. Tangible forms of promotional material like leaflets, flyers and brochures cannot be edited once they’re printed and distributed, so need to be re-printed to account for each amendment you want to make every time.
Plug-ins for your website also allow you to keep everything in one place, saving you time and preventing you from having to jump from one place to another. Plug-ins link other key applications or software to your website to keep everything integrated, leaving you time to focus on operating the business rather than navigating through multiple different third-party applications unnecessarily.
5) Using Social Media Just Isn’t Enough
Another misconception from business owners who don’t have a website is that using social media is a sufficient way of displaying their online presence. Whilst social media is a powerful marketing tool, algorithms are constantly changing, meaning that pages or posts which may have done well previously may no longer be reaching the right kind of people, or enough people in the future going forwards.
Additionally, depending on the kind of service you’re operating, social media might not be presenting your business in the best limelight, and can seem more casual than you would want to present if you don’t have a credible website to refer visitors to where they’d be able to find the answers they need more easily than an Instagram page alone for example.