There's no denying it, the Internet has changed our lives - it's allowed the entire world to communicate, share ideas, and do business faster and more efficiently than ever before. From Toronto to Tokyo, people are connecting with one another in ways that just a few years ago would have seemed impossible.
Sure, Windsor, Ontario might not be the largest city in the world, but the fact remains that to stay competitive, a website for your business or organization is practically a must-have. For example, e-commerce has changed the way that companies do business - small, privately owned stores are able to open and operate solely on the Internet, and actually compete with the big brand-name stores.
The following is a compiled list of the reasons and benefits why any company or organization would benefit from having a website:
Getting your business or product to the consumer can be challenging, especially with the high cost of more traditional advertisement mediums like direct mail, newspaper ads, radio, and television. Comparatively, a website is cheaper than these more conventional advertising methods, and will reach a world-wide audience.
Say Good-bye to Reprinting Costs
While printed advertisements are great when they are hot off the printing press, they become outdated rather quickly as new products and services are introduced - as a result, you are forced to spend more money to reprint the advertisement. On the other hand, with a website, information about new products and services can be updated at any time, so your customers will always have relevant and up-to-date information about your business.
You hear it everywhere; e-commerce is booming, and has permitted the entire world to easily trade and do business with one another. Now, setting up an e-commerce site has never been easier - professional web-developers can easily and efficiently set up your website for e-commerce. Essentially, this enables your customers to effortlessly and conveniently browse and buy your products online, and effectively gives your sales a boost with no direct involvement from you.
Open an Online Store for a Fraction of the Cost of a Physical Store
Imagine opening a store without needing to pay for rent, utilities, property and liability insurance, property taxes, repair and maintenance, supplies, and labor costs. Moreover, your store is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and reaches a worldwide customer base of over 400 million consumers - heck, if your suppliers will drop-ship, you don't even need to maintain an inventory. It might sound too good to be true, but that's what a website with an online store can offer - in essence, an e-commerce website allows you to display information about all your products, complete with images, detailed written descriptions, audio clips, and video clips without the need to open a physical store.
Allows your Customers to Check Product Availability
Having your e-commerce website automatically check your product database allows any potential customers to instantly check if the product they want is in stock, or when it will be available - moreover, this will save your sales representatives time by allowing customers to directly check product availability themselves. Fortunately, a web-developer can program your website to do just that, making your e-commerce website a powerful tool for both you and your customers.
Have Increased Brand Identity
Having your own domain name for your business or organization (www.yourcompany.com) will allow you to establish a very strong sense of online brand identity with your customers - moreover, it allows you to set up e-mail addresses specific to your business, so that customers can communicate quickly, easily, and professionally by e-mail with any person of your company (i.e. [email protected]).
The Ability to Reach Specialized Markets
Many customers looking for rare or specialized products, services, and information oftentimes look towards the Internet rather than limit themselves to their local area stores - a website can help you reach these specialized markets because of the sheer number of Internet users.
To Have an Improved Customer Service
A "Frequently Asked Questions, or F.A.Q., is a great feature you can add to your website which allows you to publish your own list of questions that are asked all the time, or even questions that are rarely asked. Using well thought out questions and answers, written in as much detail as you like and exactly as you'd like stated, will provide your customers with immediate help with their questions. In addition, it can provide your own customer service staff with a reference tool.
Provide Efficient Technical Support
No doubt, providing technical support to your customers is absolutely vital, and with a well developed website it can be made much easier. With your website, you can provide your customers with up-to-date user manuals, detailed diagrams, and product specifications - with all this information easily laid-out to your customers, this can also save you the cost of extra technical support staff.
Permits Customers to send Immediate Feedback
The Internet allows you to receive immediate feedback from your customers - using features such as customer surveys, contact forms, and of course e-mail enables you to have feedback straight from your customers. As a result, you can tailor your products, services, and even customer service/technical support based on what your customers really need and want.
Your Competition May or May Not have a Website
Simply put, the Internet is an integrative part of our daily lives nowadays, and not having a website puts you at a competitive disadvantage against your competition if they have a website - remember, at any time, potential customers can visit your website for information or even to buy the product/services you offer.
On the other hand, if your competition does not have a website and you do, then you are at a much more competitive position then they are - they are limited to local customers, while you can literally reach a worldwide customer base with your website.
Give your Customers a Valuable Source of Printable Information
When someone visits your website, they can download and print just about anything that appears on their screen. This allows you to provide your customers with things they can print out, such as product literature, a map to your business, application forms, assembly instructions for your products, dimensional drawings, etc.
Construct a User/Customer Database
When someone visits your website, you now have a new contact that can be saved to build a user / customer database - this allows you to pull up demographic information about people who visit your website. Using this information, you gain a better understanding of who your online customers are; as a result, you can use this knowledge to create complimentary marketing strategies which are customized to their interests. Moreover, having a database of your customers is a great way to stay in touch with them, and enables you to send a follow-up e-mail, or even occasionally send them information about new products or services.
Even More Free Advertising
Undoubtedly, a very important and powerful feature of the Internet is the ability for your website to link to other sites - well, more importantly, the ability for other websites to link to YOUR website. In effect, this permits people to find your website through several different channels - hence, this increases the potential traffic to your website, and essentially is free advertising for your business or organization.
Using your Website to Supplement you're Advertisements
While your company might use more traditional advertising media, such as newspaper ads, radio, or even television, having a website is still a great way to supplement your existing advertising. Essentially, by adding your website into your current advertisements, you are letting your customers know exactly where they can go to get more information about your business, products, or services right away, conveniently in their own homes.
Easily Recruit Qualified Employees
If you have a position open in your business or organization, one of the easiest and most efficient ways to find that new employee is to announce the opening on your website - in effect, the Internet has become a driving force in recruiting qualified and valuable employees.
More and More Customers Now Expect a Website
Nowadays, your customers or clients expect most businesses to have a website, if only to provide basic information about the business, such as product, service, and contact information. Let's face it, most of us have become enthralled with the global phenomenon that is the Internet - the number of people using the Internet has literally grown exponentially, and many consumers look to the Internet for information about a business, product, or service.
The Time is Now...
As you can see, there are numerous reasons why having a website would be beneficial to your company or organization - simply put, the Internet is now a part of our infrastructure, and if your business hopes to remain competitive in today's technologically savvy and fast-paced business world, a well-developed and designed website is absolutely crucial. If you currently do not have a website, it's not too late, the time is now...