Browsing a shop’s selection before visiting the brick-and-mortar store; confirming trading hours; making a purchase online; or sending the menu of a restaurant to a friend before deciding where to catch up. Australians are using the internet more than ever when it comes to deciding where and how they’ll spend their hard-earned money, and a business’ website is crucial to the decision-making process.
A recent report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found that 9.7 million Aussies purchased goods or services online in just three months in 2015. In fact, the average number of transactions for internet shoppers in those three months was 11 transactions, or more than three a month!
Interestingly, however, another report showed that just 50 percent of Australian businesses have a website. That means half of all businesses are missing out on a huge chunk of people, including potential customers.
For small business owners in particular, not being where your customers are translates into lost dollars. And that’s a shame because it’s this type of business that can really benefit from having an online home. When it comes to building and promoting your brand and translating that into sales, few things beat having a website.
If you’re starting your website from scratch, one of the things you’ll want to consider is the domain name you’ll use. Newer Top-Level Domain Names, like .melbourne and .sydney, mean that savvy business owners now have more options than ever to target customers. If you’re a café owner in Melbourne, for instance, using a .melbourne domain name means potential customers instantly know where you’re located — half the battle is over!
Does your business rely on selling products? Easy-to-use online platforms like Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, BigCommerce, WooComerce, Volusion and many more, allow you to set up e-commerce functionality with little effort so you can sell online to people throughout the country or even the world.
If your business is appointment-based — repairs or consultations, for example — you can integrate online scheduling services right on your website, allowing customers to interact with your business at their leisure and after hours. This frees up your time to focus on the business, not making and confirming appointments.
Having a website also provides you with the opportunity to capture email addresses. Sending regular marketing emails is a great way to keep in touch with returning customers. You can even reward them for their loyalty by offering special discount codes on their next purchase or for referring a friend to keep them coming back for more.
Finally, even if none of this sounds appealing, and you have no intentions of selling anything online or messaging customers, keep in mind that just because you don’t want to connect with customers doesn’t mean they’re not trying to reach you.
At the very least, having a website with your hours, services, and contact details to get in touch offline means you’re not losing out on customers who have heard of you through word of mouth or are looking for a business that offers exactly what you offer. Why miss out on reaching potential business?