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How Does an Online Presence change the Market for the Business?

Survival of the Fittest; this phrase is highly relevant in the business world. It is not the strongest of the businesses that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones who are the most adaptable to change. The world is changing faster than ever. Every day a new technological advancement hit the headlines. Therefore Businesses have to fall into step with these technologies as customers are more informed than ever. Everything a consumer wants to know about a product is just a click away. Gone the days when physical boundaries had limited the businesses to operate in a small vicinity, now the whole globe is accessible. There are 4.66 Billion Active Internet Users on the globe and thus a business can create billions of customers by venturing into the world of E-Commerce. Google found that 97% of consumers search for any businesses online. This is how an Online Presence changes the market for the business.

What is an Online Presence?

Having a website is a general notion of an Online Presence but it is far beyond than running a business website. Amid 1,196,298,727 or 1 billion websites if your business can be found via an online search then it is said to have an online presence. Websites, Social Media, Search Engine Optimization etc. are a part of your online presence. It refers to all activity and content that an enterprise has on their name on the internet. It covers all the accounts, assets, interactions, and any snippets of information generated by or about the enterprise.

Source: Statista

Why having an Online Presence is crucial for a business?

Since 3,000 years humankind has been doing business i.e. exchanging goods & services through traditional methods of outbound marketing which are tried and tested. Then suddenly why are we feeling an indispensable need to explore the sphere of online marketing or E-Commerce? The answer is- Digitalisation. Digital World is running parallel to the Physical World. It has united all the humans at one place despite the physical boundaries. And Cost-effectiveness is cherry on the cake. It has tremendous power which is yet to be discovered. Small businesses are cynical about venturing into the online world. As per research, 35% small businesses think that their business is too small for owning a website and 46% did not have a web presence. They find it unnecessary to spend funds on online marketing channels as small businesses have a firm belief on conventional methods of marketing. E-Commerce plays a pivotal role in upscaling of businesses, thus, whether your business is small, medium or large, the digital world has whopping opportunities for you.

8 Reasons why your business must have an Online Presence-

  1. Greater Visibility:

Jo dikhta hai wo bikta hai” (what is visible, sells) — it is just not a humdrum old saying, each word is true in every sense. Your product is visible to the entire world via the internet. KPMG’s research shows that 55% of people will search online for reviews and recommendations before making a purchase, with 47% visiting the company website, 26% checking out the physical store, and 23% of people talking with friends and family.

2. 24x7 Business Operations:

In today’s Digital World the businesses are no more regulated by business hours, in fact, there is no such thing like business hours. Now the businesses can never be truly “closed” anymore. The customers can purchase the products of their choices anytime as per their comfort, there is no need to rush to stores and juggle several tasks at once. A physical store may shutdown but an online store remains open 24x7 without any fail. “Warren Buffet has avowed correctly- if you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” Hence, you can make money while sleeping after venturing into E-commerce.

3. Accessibility:

Over 500 million Indians are now using smartphones and it means that 77% of Indians are accessing wireless broadband via smartphones. Meanwhile, there are 2.71 billion smartphone users worldwide. 42% of sales are generated through mobile devices. The usage of mobile technology for online shopping is gradually increasing. Therefore, a wider market is open to businesses. It is much similar to door to door selling as smartphones have reached home to home. 4. Affordable Marketing & Branding: It is the most affordable and easiest way of building your brand. A sound & strong online presence enables you to build your brand and acquire the credibility that is needed to seek the Customer’s attention. Online presence empowers customers to explore more about your business in an easy way. An online presence acts as a passive marketing channel for your business. Customer reviews and engagement on social media boosts sales unexpectedly. It enables your customers to become familiar with your brand. A website or social media creates a visual identity of the business that customers can acknowledge and trust. 5. Social Media:

Around 53% of Earth’s population is taking advantage of social media i.e. 4.14 billion round the globe. Nowadays Social Media alone has become a whole sole marketing channel. Speaking globally, on an average 2.5 hours are spent on social media daily by Netizens; while Indian users dedicate their 2.4 hours on social media regularly. The Chronicles of Social Media speaks for itself. It gives a strong platform to direct shoppers towards a product or service or an exclusive deal and provides better engagement with the community. Here you can share user-generated stuff to build trust among the community. It’s an incredible way to establish brand loyalty and to develop a sense of community. The best part of having a social media presence is that it ensures two-way communication where consumers can share their feedbacks easily and that’s the worst part too as any bad review will defame your brand, so carefully redress the grievances. Many of your customers will judge you by the active social media presence of your business. 264 million Rural Indians are active on social media; hence we can understand the reach of social media through these figures. 6. Better Communication with customers: Very often Customers use Google search to make purchase decisions. They run a ‘reliability test’ to check how your product is better than the other products available in the similar segment. A week or negative online presence can become a “deal-breaker” in this case. A presentable looking business on the web is more likely to gain customer’s trust in this day and age. Furthermore, even if your business does not sell anything online, a strong & positive online presence results in increased offline sells. By and large, it helps in communicating the business values to the customers in an efficient and effective way. Through social media, emails and other feedback mechanisms, customers can directly approach the businesses. It clinches two-way communication channels with your audience to receive insightful feedback and reviews. Thus it enables you to develop a deep understanding of your potential customers and their wants. 7. SEO:

Search Engine Optimization might sound strenuous but the outcomes are astounding. Bigcommerce says that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the scientific art of optimizing your website around specific keywords in order to rank higher in search results, such as Google. It generates organic traffic on your website. It is observed that 43% of e-commerce traffic comes from organic Google Search. Most of the people do not go beyond the first page that’s why ranking plays a prominent role here. It has the potential to boost your sales & revenue unexpectedly and eventually brings you the tag of the market leader in the respective industry. The recovery rate of investment made in SEO is high whereas its consequences last longer. It can transform your online store into a physical store where you can enjoy the benefits of having a crowded website. 8. Credibility:

Online presence provides legitimacy to the business. Especially for start-ups and small businesses, it is quite difficult for them to get acknowledged as a valid entity in their initial days. Having a solid online presence ensures that people take your business earnestly. Contrary, the lack of online presence can result in distrust among the customers. In a nutshell, for a better reach, your business should have an online presence where the potential customers are searching for you. How crucial is Online Presence during Pandemic? India is the 2nd largest online market on the globe after China. By 2021 India will be the home of 635.8 million internet users. A report from Statista projected that close to 329.1 million will buy products online in 2020; which means that around 70.7% of internet users in India will have purchased something online by the end of 2020. This report forecasts the exponential growth of E-commerce sector. Furthermore, this growth has been accelerated by the global pandemic. Many small and large businesses have ventured online and leveraged the digitalization to its fullest. At this moment of time companies that do not digitally transform will fade away. A study conducted by Crisil proposes that Small Businesses have shown a “Big Digital Shift” to bolster up sales during the pandemic. Social Distancing has become a new normal; we will be practising this tradition for months or years. People are shunning from gathering up at local markets, public places or even at grocery stores. Thus offline businesses can create a passive source of income through online sales. This is why eCommerce and Delivery Based Systems are mushrooming at large. In a nutshell, Covid-19 has catalysed the whole process to an exceptional level. Covid-19 has taught us some hard lessons which otherwise would have ignored. One such lesson is that businesses which learn & adapt quickly will never sink. In the digital panorama, a business can thrive in the midst of social distancing and even during the storefront closure. With an online presence your business is entitled to engage customers, generate revenue, keep workers employed and most of all your business will remain alive. Now an online presence has become an unavoidable need. Whether you admit it or not the world will be more digitally connected than it will be physically even without the deadly viruses. So it is future insurance of your business. How to build an Online Presence? Building your online reputation is a time-consuming process but it totally worth it. A strong online presence will not get created overnight. At the same time creating a fine-tuned online presence for your business is immensely important because through this only the digital population or your potential consumers will recognise you. Your prospects will get in touch with you, explore about you and then the trust is established. An online presence can speedily spread brand awareness, attracts followers & fans & leads, and above all the “customers”.

Here are the basic steps to create an online presence-

1.Develop a fascinating Website:

In this digital age, every enterprise needs a website no matter how they are operating! Despite you are popular on social media already then also to churn out cash from it, your enterprise must invest in a top class website to channelize your potential sales. The website must have certain attributes such as user-friendliness, attractive domain name, aesthetically pleasing graphics and of course “content is the king”. A fascinating website is crucial for catching a customer’s attraction. 2. Social Media Presence: Importance of a strong social media presence is undeniable. Creating a social media account alone is not enough; devising an excellent social media strategy is a must. Even a Digital Marketing or Social Media Marketing firm can help you in devising a full-proof social media strategy to boost up your sales drastically. 3. Demonstrate a high level of expertise: An enterprise has to effectively sell its qualities and expertise to the audience in order to develop trust among the community. Let them know that your enterprise offers the best services in a particular niche. Scrutinize the practicability of starting your own Podcast show, in which you can give a brief of your product & services, valuable tips and conduct interviews of various Industry Experts to spread the Brand Awareness. Creating knowledgeable Blog Posts, creating video shows to answer the queries of customers and engage with them are some other options. Eventually, you can utilise forums like Quora & Reddit. It enhances your credibility and seeks customer’s attention towards the enterprise. Up to a certain extent, it helps in ranking improvement in SEO. 4. Online advertisement: An online ad increases the visibility of an Enterprise. Paid Online Advertisements are less expensive than the traditional channels of advertising such as TV, Radio or Print ads. It gives faster as well as better results in many cases. Many Online Ads operate on the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Model. In PPC Model when and if a person or a potential client clicks on your advertisement then only you are required to pay the predefined amount. 5. High-quality content: An Enterprise should strive to regularly post high-quality content like blog posts, videos, images and infographics etc. to increase brand’s online visibility. Such stuff which attracts audiences and is appreciated by the customers should be developed. It is also known as Content Marketing and it is a crucial part of the Digital Marketing domain. Always remember “Content is the King”. 6. SEO: Search Engine Optimization helps your business in getting higher ranking in search engine results. A strong and sound SEO strategy outstand your site from the rest of the web-crowd. It ensures that you are hitting your targeted audience. An enterprise can collaborate with influencers for a better reach and they can drive traffic on your website substantially. 7. Take reviews from customers: Always remember that customer reviews can in reality have a critical effect on your brand. Up to ten online reviews are read by an average consumer before he/she chooses to purchase a specific product or utilize certain services that the enterprise offers. Use your social media accounts, business pages, and your site to show reviews from past well-pleased customers. Conclusion: In this Digital Era, there is no doubt that taking your business to the virtual world and making it visible to your current & potential customers or 4.66 Billion Active Internet Users on the globe is no more a choice now, it has become the need of the hour; indeed a necessity. One should know that creating an online presence does not mean developing a platform where customers can visit; it’s a real-time experience through which your customers recognise your brand. It opens up a huge market for your business by breaking all the physical borders. Now gear up your business to venture into the online world as you know why an online presence is mandatory these days! It improves your visibility drastically and boosts sales exponentially. Customer is the King and you are the Minister; you can influence their decisions but the ultimate decision is taken by them only. An online presence increases your influential power. The best thing is that a few minutes ago you just went through the process of building an effective online presence- make a website, market yourself on social media, show your expertise, utilise the power of online advertising, give them high-quality content, use SEO and ask customers to give reviews and insightful feedback. All set to go!

Contributed By- Aakanksha Soni, Content Writer at Mitti Ke Rang.

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