Due to the recent fuel scarcity and rising inflation figures in Nigeria, many businesses have been compelled to reduce their opening hours to cut expenses and save money, all in a bid to manage ridiculous overhead costs.
Although it is 2022 and many businesses have moved online, some are still operating out of brick-and-mortar stores, with their only contact with the online world limited to sharing fun moments on social media. Many small businesses are yet to fully grasp, let alone embrace, e-commerce transactions and online payment solutions. With the hike in operational expenses and the prices of commodities, there is no better time than now for business owners to get comfortable with the online space.
Running a business online eliminates some of the huge costs associated with offline businesses, such as diesel costs, electricity bills and rent. Operating a business mainly via a domain name and website hosting package is a cost-effective way of doing business as it comes with the advantages highlighted below:
#1. Wider Reach
Worldwide, there are 5 billion internet users that your online business can reach – all thanks to technology. For this number of people to have access to your physical store, you would need to have thousands, if not millions, of branches scattered around the world. As small businesses, spending wise is the motto. Therefore, making as much impact as possible using available resources is always the goal – because that is what investors love to see. Thus, operating your business online is a much better option.
In a nutshell, you can reach more people online than with physical stores. Don’t be limited by a physical business location. We’re in the 21st century!
#2. Staying Open for Hours
A traditional offline store would need extra resources and staff working on shifts to run for 24 hours. With the issue of insecurity in the country, this option is clearly not advisable. Online businesses have no such concerns as they can carry out transactions even at midnight! If your products are targeted at working-class adults, nighttime might be the best time to unleash well-crafted ads that yield convertible leads as your target audience would most likely be having their “internet time.”
People who are interested in your products in other parts of the world can also reach out and access your online store at any time. Online shopping is generally convenient, as you can take orders at any time without any need for closing or opening hours, unlike traditional stores.
#3. Creates a bond with your customers
Some would say that there is no better way to bond than to physically meet and connect with your customers. However, you would not have the opportunity to meet your customers every day in person. Running an online business means that your customers can stay in touch with you and your business each time you appear on their social media feed and send them a direct message or an email. You can engage with your customers, make and post video content educating them about your various products, ask them to send you any questions, and find out what they love the most about your products.
In addition, having information on your website allows you to make immediate changes and still ensure that your customers stay informed.
#4. Easy to keep tabs on business performance
With analysis tools and plugins, you can figure out the products your customers love, their purchase history, behaviour, reviews, the social media site where most of your customers are on, and lots more. These can quickly help you to make informed decisions about your business.
In a traditional business setting, you might be able to incorporate inventory management tools, but then you would be missing out on granular data like customer behaviour and traffic periods, what customers preferred last month compared to this month, and the mediums where your target audience are concentrated, among others.
Once you get your marketing, branding and advertising strategies right, your online business can increase its visibility and sales, and profit and grow fast unlike physical businesses that would incur more expenses in the process of expansion.
So there you have it, five cogent reasons why your business should go online or engage more in e-commerce. On a general note, online businesses thrive more than traditional ones in times of fuel scarcity, inflation, or even a pandemic!