Regardless of what industry they are in, a business’s online presence can have a massive impact on whether or not it is successful. And yet some businesses still don’t realise that for the majority of customers, if they don’t have a website, they effectively don’t exist.
In fact, according to Statista, it is estimated that global smartphone penetration has reached 78.05%. That means that almost every single financial decision-maker in the world has access to the internet. Other statistics show that 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before making any purchase, with as much as 80% of shoppers using their mobile phone while in a store because they were looking up reviews, comparing prices or searching for another store location.
Of course, the quality of your website can also impact results, as well as giving customers access to features like a mobile app, AI-powered virtual assistants, an intuitive interface while browsing your website and more. Some businesses feel they are not tech-savvy enough to have a website or believe that their store or business doesn’t need a website or other technology for whatever reason.
Sometimes it is the potential cost of technology that makes a business hesitate. But with new technology being developed every minute and old technology adapting, updating and changing as fast as we can adopt it – having a website and integrating technology into every aspect of your business – is becoming more important than ever.
The impact of technology on businesses today
If you go back just a decade and you’ll see a lot of changes in businesses today. Technology has revolutionised how companies do business by offering the tools that make it possible for small and medium-sized enterprises to level the playing field with bigger competitors.
Improved communication processes
One of the main benefits of technology in business is the improved communication tools and methods available to them today. With texting or instant messaging, emails, websites and mobile applications, they enjoy better communication with their customers. By combining more than one type of communication technology, these smaller companies can saturate the economy with their message.
At the same time, it is easier for potential and current customers to give them feedback about their products and services. Interoffice communication improves as well, with teams able to collaborate instantly no matter where they are or the time of day, thanks to social intranet software. By integrating different technologies, a lot of this communication is automated. So when a customer buys a product, the accounting, sales, logistics and manufacturing departments all receive a relevant alert.
The effectiveness of advertising is increased
With the technology of today, businesses of all sizes are able to reach economic markets that may have been out of reach to them before. Rather than only being able to sell their goods and services to consumers in their local market, they’re able to create targeted adverts that can reach potential customers in regional, national and international markets as well.
While eCommerce websites are the most likely to try to reach multiple economic markets, a website gives businesses a low-cost option that potential customers can visit 24/7 – whether they simply have a question or are wanting to buy something. With carefully crafted adverts and intuitive targeting, you can put the right advert in front of the right customer at exactly the right time.
Operating costs are reduced
How technology affects business is not limited to improving communication and advertising. One of the driving forces behind the development of any technology is the desire to make something easier to do and therefore more affordable. The most basic enterprise software allows a business to automate a lot of its back-office functions including accounting, payroll and record-keeping.
By automating these tasks, there is less chance of potentially costly human errors occurring. You also don’t need to hire as much staff to get each task done. Where before you may have needed an entire department to manage your record-keeping, automated software can reduce the need to one or two team members doing the same job in half the time.
Websites: The Main Fundamental of Businesses Today
There was a time when creating a website was a lengthy and expensive process that involved hiring teams with dozens of experts in everything from design and backend coding to SEO and content creation. But with the abundance of user-friendly tools and technology available today, almost anyone can build a website with very little help and at almost negligible costs.
There are solutions for every budget and every need. But, if you still need convincing, here are the top reasons why your business needs a website.
Gives you credibility
One of the main reasons why the importance of a good website for your business can’t be measured is that it gives your business credibility in the eyes of potential customers. There is a good chance that there are multiple businesses offering goods or services that are similar to yours. One way to show that you’re not a risky choice is by building a website that looks good, has relevant information and clearly communicates that you are a high-quality option.
Without a website, people may question how legitimate your business is. But with a website, you’re not just making a great first impression – you’re letting people know that you’re a real business that cares about what you do.
Establishes your brand
Your brand is the image that customers have of your business. It is a combination of who you are, what you represent, and what you stand for. When you consider that 43% of customers spend more on brands they’re loyal to than the ones they’re not, and that 89% of customers say they’ll stay loyal to a brand that shares their values, establishing your brand is vital to your overall success.
But without a website or an online presence where you can show potential customers that you share their interests and values, there is no way you can take advantage of customer loyalty. Your brand can set you apart from your competitors as well. But if the only information about a specific product or service is coming from those competitors, potential customers will likely choose their business over yours.
Another top reason to have a website is that it is a simple way to generate leads for your business. People find you online, are interested in your product or service and contact you because they want to find out more about it (or your business itself). This gives you another opportunity to close a sale and to capture their details for future targeted marketing campaigns.
Every website has a cost, as do data-enabled learning tools. Some may believe that they need the massive amounts of data that websites like Amazon or Facebook generate to be worthwhile. But the fact is that with the right combination of tools, even the smallest batch of data can provide you with valuable insights that help you to increase your ROI and grow your business.
A communication portal with tons of information
Many businesses get calls from customers who simply want to know their operating hours, their address or have a quick question or want to confirm details about an announcement or sale. If it happens to be after hours when they’re looking for this information or they don’t get through to anyone for some reason, you could lose a potential customer.
Answering those calls and the 10 or 20 ‘quick’ questions that may follow distracts your staff from focusing on their actual jobs. If the customer forgets something they’ve been told or gets confused, that only complicates things more. A website is online 24/7. And, with careful planning, it can be a one-stop destination for all those ‘quick’ questions, updates and announcements your customers need to know about.
Your internal productivity is better, and your customers are happier overall!
Makes collaboration and outsourcing easier
With business technology, you can outsource certain business functions to other companies in both national and international locations. By outsourcing tasks you or your employees have no skills with, you can lower your business costs and focus on doing things you are best at. Examples of commonly outsourced business tasks include customer support and IT support.
With the information and communication technology of today, collaborating with other businesses, online influencers and your own staff is simple – no matter where you may be located.
With web-based project management applications such as Slack, Basecamp and Zoho Projects, you have all the tools you need to keep track of projects, delegate tasks, keep clients and team members updated on the project status, share documents or files and more. With the right collaboration, you can expand your business into an economic market that you hadn’t considered or had access to before.
Using your website as a versatile business tool
Everyone knows that it is possible to make money and grow your business with an online presence. But there is no easy or instant win method to get this right, whether you’re a small local business or a multinational organisation. However, one of the often-overlooked tools to generate revenue for your business is your website.
A lot of people treat it as nothing more than a digital brochure that tells visitors only the most basic information – who, what, when and where you are.
But a website is capable of doing so much more for you. With the right analytics tools, you can analyse what type of people are viewing specific sections of your website and thereby create accurate buyer profiles. By reviewing this information along with comments, common questions, and reviews, you can accurately gauge what new products your customers would be interested in.
The importance of technology in business can’t be measured by just one thing. If it wasn’t for technology, businesses wouldn’t be as diverse or as successful as they are today. With technology, businesses of all shapes and sizes can successfully address the differences between them and their competitors.
This leads to businesses being more innovative so they can stand out to potential customers, which promotes healthy competition and results in even more innovation. And so the cycle continues. But all of this begins with website design and branding. It doesn’t have to be the Mona Lisa of websites right away because you can always improve it over time.
The point is that you have to start somewhere, and today is as good a day as any.