Marketing on the Internet is not really a choice anymore, but has almost become a necessity in today's marketplace. No company can afford to ignore the fact that online marketing is now a multi-billion-dollar business. Those businesses without an online presence are missing out on a goldmine of potential customers.
There will come a time when they will lose business, simply because they lack an Internet presence. For many businesses, that day has already arrived.
Can you really afford not to cash in on the ever growing customer base who prefer to shop in the convenience of their home?
Online retail has been thrown into the spotlight like never before in 2011 - and it's about time! Very few sectors can boast forecasts of triple digit revenue growth over the next three years, with sales set to top $36 billion by 2013.
While traditional retail languishes, online shopping is rocketing forward. That's the good news. The bad news is that in the public's view, many of Australia's retailers are perceived as online laggards failing to deliver a superior digital shopping experience. The people have spoken - Australians WANT to shop online.
Establishing an online presence has become more and more affordable. The construction or design of a web site or fully fledged online store does not need to set you back 1000's of dollars! The annual cost for hosting of your website is only a fraction of your weekly rent you are currently paying for your bricks and mortar retail outlet.
Karson Stimson, founder of internet retailing agency WeAreDigital, says Australian retailers have largely been left behind in the digital age and are only just starting to catch up.
“We are starting to see some more traditional retailers such as JB HiFi, Bing Lee, Dick Smith, Big W and Woolworths establishing a strong online retail presence,” Stimson says.
Stimson says it’s critical for companies to get an effective online presence early on. His tips are:
1. Think of your online presence as more than just a website. You are about to open your most profitable store.
2. Form a project team, write a detailed brief, compile a financial feasibility study, set clear KPIs, a timeline, milestones, and define your success metrics.
3. Pick the right partner who understands your space, who has online retail experience and who can cater to your website build and ongoing support requirements.
4. Make rational product decisions. Do you want to put everything online, an exclusive “online only” offering or a single product?
5. Be ready for your customer. Make sure you’ve taken the time to get your product information consumer-ready. For example, does a returning customer really want to be referred to as an “existing user”?
6. Plan infrastructure, technology and operations. If you’re integrating with your POS or stock system, make sure the information within the system is web-ready. Ensure your supply chain, logistics and IT teams are involved early in the process.
7. Remember that online is like any other business in that it will require ongoing resources, constant updating, and refreshes every season. Work out what you want to do internally versus outsourcing.
8. Strike the right blend and balance of content and commerce. This will change brand by brand or business by business.
9. Overcome your fears such as, ‘My customers won’t shop online’ or ‘It’s too costly’.
10. You can’t place enough emphasis on analytics and understanding customer behaviour. Identify insights and constantly improve the user experience, conversion rates and average order value to improve your return on investment.
iSO Network can help you with establishing an online presence - at an affordable price.
Remember: iSO stands for I Sell Online !