As a local business, you need a website because your market demands it. Customers routinely use the Internet as an entry step in the marketplace for many product and service purchases. Other important reasons include the opportunity to deliver products to a wider market than your local base and to compete more effectively.
The information age of the late 20th and early 21st century means that people not only have access to significant levels of information but they expect that it is readily available. Customers often research companies and product options online, but in most cases, local businesses and chain stores offer the most efficient path to immediate gratification because they have inventory on hand for same-day purchase. By providing a website, a business can offer the convenience of instant information and still fulfill demand for products quickly.
24/7 Access to the WEBSITE
Another major advantage of having a website for your customers is that you provide 24/7 access to information about your business and its products and services. Your business may close its doors overnight, but your website is busy marketing your brand and products to prospects and existing customers. It may show up in search results conducted by Internet users during the late night or early morning hours when your lights are off.
Market Penetration and Expansion
Having an online exposure allows your local business to sell more often to existing customers and reach additional ones. If you offer products and services for sale on your website, you give your customers a chance to buy on their own time and terms. You can improve customer retention by offering personalized accounts that include customer profiles, transaction histories and product recommendations. Plus, your local business may have the chance to become a state, regional, national or even global business if you are willing to ship products to customers outside the local market.
Doing what your competitors do is not always necessary or even wise. However, one important reason you need a website is to stay on par competitively. Since many customers rely on search engines to find products or services, you need a website to have a chance to show up among their search results. If you don’t have a website, you give your competitors the advantage of drawing new business from new customers who might have preferred YOUR products and services if you could publicized them better.