Unless you own a restaurant, there is really no such thing as a purely local business anymore. You may own a store in a small town in the middle of Wisconsin, but you’re still competing with manufacturers, retailers, and other services from all over the world. The internet has erased most of the borders that used to allow businesses to thrive exclusively in a local market. Consumers have a wide variety of choices now, and in order to stay competitive, owners have to find ways to compete in a global economy.
As the old saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. There’s no way to roll back the clock to the days when a business could count on staying local, so savvy business owners are finding ways to compete in a new global economy. There is no better way to succeed in the modern marketplace than by having a robust, well-built online store. An online store offers tremendous benefits that range from the obvious to the frequently overlooked.
Reach Out And Sell Something
The most obvious benefit of an online store is also the most important. A brick-and-mortar store is able to effectively serve anyone who has the means to reach your location. An online store is able to serve anyone on the planet with a working internet connection and a computer, tablet, or smartphone. There is nothing you could ever do to expand the reach of your business so far or so effectively.
For the price of building an online store and setting up a shipping mechanism, your reach is extending from one section of one city to essentially the entire world. An effective online store adds literally millions of people to your potential customer base. No advertising campaign, sale, or promotion will ever generate that many potential customers. It’s the single most powerful tool a business owner has to increase reach.
The More You Know
Having a well-built online store doesn’t just let you reach more customers, it lets you know more about who you’re reaching. One of the great things about an online store is that it provides you with useful data on each transaction. Every time you sell something, you’re gaining valuable information about what works for your business and why. You don’t know just know that you sold, for instance, a new computer monitor. You know that you sold a new computer monitor to a man in Upstate New York, at 4:13 PM Eastern Time on a Wednesday, and that before he bought that monitor he looked at 4 other models.
That kind of detailed transaction data lets you identify patterns which you can exploit to grow your business. It shows you what is working so that you can expand those efforts and what isn’t working so that you can make course corrections and plug holes. Just as importantly, it gives you a huge database of names, physical addresses, and e-mail addresses which you can couple with the transaction data to build laser-focused marketing campaigns and promote repeat business. An online store doesn’t just let you sell to more people, it gives you tools you would never have had otherwise.
Something For Everyone
Obviously, an online store is a huge boon to a business owner. Believe it or not, though, you aren’t the only one who benefits from internet retail. There’s a reason that online shopping has become a multi-billion-dollar industry. Consumers love the convenience, the ability to instantly compare prices, and the huge increase in options that online shopping provides.
Not only that, online shopping gives them a whole set of tools that they wouldn’t get at a physical location. Things like order tracking, e-mail feedback, and a saved order history at your store give them flexibility and freedom that a traditional shopping experience can’t match. They can shop when and where they want, from anywhere in the world, the second they make the decision to buy something.
The Future is Now
If your retail location doesn’t already have an online companion, there’s no time like the present. It is the single best investment you can possibly make to grow your business. The overhead isn’t dangerously high and the benefits so far outweigh the risks that you’d be crazy to let the opportunity pass you by. An online store will not only expand your customer base and dramatically grow your revenue, it will open up new options for your existing customers that will keep them coming back time after time. Don’t let your competition render you obsolete. Embrace the future today.