These days, it is easy to imagine that most businesses already have an online presence. Yet, there are many companies that could be missing out on the benefits of reaching a wider audience on the internet. How can they do this in an effective way?
How Many Businesses Don’t Have a Website?
A 2016 survey from the Office for National Statistics suggested that only 45% of the UK’s businesses had their own website. More recent figures can be seen in the Ecommerce and ICT Activity UK 2018 report. Among other details, it is noted here that fewer than 13% of British companies sell via a website.
Despite this, e-commerce sales reached record sales of £688 billion in 2018. Also, an interesting statistic shows us that businesses with 1,000 or more employees are more likely to run their own site. 47% of firms of this size sell online and make an average of 28% of their turnover through online sales.
Even some of the companies that have an online presence have only moved part of their business online. For instance, they might use social media but not have their own website. Equally, they might have a website but not be using Google My Business to increase engagement levels.
Why Should Businesses Move Online?
It isn’t just the size of the business that matters. It is also worth noting that certain industries are less represented online. For example, the 2018 survey mentioned above confirms that manufacturing, retail and wholesale dominate online sales.
At the other end of the scale, construction, accommodation and food are sectors that make relatively small amounts of their revenue through e-commerce. However, if we look at the figures for Black Friday in 2019, we can see that 20% of British consumers planned to buy online, compared to fewer than 5% who expected to head out to make their purchases.
This on-going shift in purchasing habits now affects most industries, as people increasingly head online when they need something. So, how can businesses move online in a cost-effective and simple way?
Create a Website for a Sustainable Online Presence
Creating a website gives any business a sustainable internet presence. This is where their customers can find information, register for updates and make purchases. Thankfully, the process of setting up a new site isn’t as difficult as it might appear.
When you look to get started, you will find a wide range of options in terms of website and email hosting for small business clients. These include big names such as A2 Hosting, FastComet and SmarterASP.NET. The starting price is generally modest, and you can typically use a money-back guarantee if you change your mind.
Social Media Advertising as a First Step
Using social media to advertise is a simple first step. This is a relatively fast and inexpensive way to get a brand name noticed by a wide group of people. There are differing reports of how effective advertising campaigns on the likes of Facebook can be. Some sources report this as being one of the top brands discovery methods, with 28% of internet users finding new brands in this way.
On the other hand, other surveys reveal that three-quarters of those asked are tired of seeing social media ads. Therefore, it is certainly a worthwhile first step to gauge interest levels, but it may not provide as big an uplift in sales as expected.
Whatever industry you are in, there is a good chance that there are people looking online for exactly what you provide. Given how easy it is to go online now, it is certainly worth finding out how big a difference this could make to your revenue.