Why Every Traditional Business Must be Online

By Hauwa Abubakar

In an increasingly digitalised world, you would think every business has gone online but this is not the case for some businesses that believe their customers are not online. Perhaps you own a restaurant or run a taxi service and you still wonder why you need to be online.

Well, there’s more than just a need for your business to be online. Here are four reasons:

Digital Economy

No doubt, global economies are now largely driven by digitisation. The Internet of Things (IOT) has made it such that the world converges at one central point or the other. Whether it is paying for a subscription, booking a flight or paying your utility bills, the world is hinged on the Internet of Things – where devices are more connected than humans but enhancing our lives at different levels. The Internet of Things lets you understand why the weather forecast is even better these days and how it affects your trip, your bus ride or even your lectures in class. Today, everything in the world is connected.

With this in mind, it is wise to put your business online as well. For instance, a taxi driver may think he doesn’t need to put his service online. However, he has a Facebook page, where he has as many as 2,000 followers. If he told these friends about his taxi service and posted information about it on his page, the possibility of getting more customers is somewhat guaranteed even without hitting the road early in the morning and driving through town to find passengers.

It may be hard to comprehend but the basic fact to understand is that, with social media presence, your business is already online and you are already tapping into the opportunities the internet of things presents. Many traditional businesses are increasingly building an online identity by building websites, online booking sites, establishing social media presence, and so on. It’s never too early and there’s no such thing, as ‘I don’t need it yet’, get online now!

As a traditional business, whether a start up or an established venture, note that with as little as a Facebook page your business has the potential to grow as well.

Reach even more potential customers

A traditional business can use an online presence to reach more potential customers from across the world. Most traditional businesses are located in specific environments and provide products and services mainly for those environments. However, you must consider the possibility of reaching even more customers beyond your physical location. You may be a fashion designer in Lagos, Nigeria but an online presence exposes you to people across the globe and you stand a chance of getting orders to make a product for clients in Kaduna or even Kenya. There are numerous opportunities that being online can expose a business to, and all you need to verify this claim is to have an online presence. However, it’s not just enough to have an online presence, but also about using it as an avenue to promote your brand.

Get customer insights

Many more people go online today than they did a few years ago. According to the Internet world stats, more than half of the world population access the Internet. By assessing Internet usage of the world population, you can get a better understanding of target customers and their behaviours and these include both online and offline behaviours. The Internet is a hive of humongous data; which gives businesses insights to help them build an effective marketing strategy. These data range from favourite foods, hobbies, to favourite locations, movies, music, etc.

Assume you are a food manufacturer in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria and you want to start sales in a new community say, Ibadan in south-west Nigeria. However, your product was developed solely for the northern Nigerian market. With online or web data, you can research and understand what is the similar product to yours that the people in that location enjoy thus, you may process cornmeal (tuwon masara) for your northern customers, but you can manufacture cassava or yam flour meal (alubo or amala) for your potential south-west market. You will also save yourself time and money in research or conducting surveys, by merely using online data. They are readily available and accessible. Social media alone would give you massive data you never imagined. (More on data in another article coming soon)

Learn from others

When you put your business online, it will also help you identify other businesses tapping from online opportunities in order to learn best practices. Many businesses, of course, would not tell you their strategy or secrets however, you can observe their online practices, their customer relation strategies and understand how it helps them to grow.

It doesn’t hurt to have an online presence for a business, especially as it provides a lot of benefits apart from being the latest technology of this time. If you’re still contemplating going online, that’s fine, but ensure that you are not the only one in your industry or target market who is yet to establish an online presence.

Don’t be left behind.

Related Article: Using Social Media to Build a Customer Care System

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