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Taking Your Business Online: Helping Your Offline Business Establish A Good Online Presence

43 percent of millennials and Gen Z consumers are more likely to shop in-store

Brick and mortar stores are making a comeback. In a recent UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Study, 60 percent of consumers made additional purchases in-store when picking up their ship to store purchases. In fact, 43 percent of millennials and generation Z consumers are more likely to shop in-store. However, while offline businesses are gaining ground again, the retail landscape has changed dramatically, now, it is no longer a one-man game. For offline businesses to succeed, they need to adopt an omnichannel approach, blending their offline and online presence to take their brand into the future of retail. The right online marketing strategies can increase customer acquisition, build brand reputation, and even drive offline sales- and it all begins with a strong online presence.

Why Offline Businesses Need An Online Presence

Asian consumers are becoming much savvier with purchases. In a Facebook and Bain& Company report, it revealed that Southeast Asian consumers visit an average of 5.2 websites before they make their purchasing decision. That’s a staggering increase of 1.4 times in one year. With small offline businesses facing roadblocks like limited visibility, an online presence can be the perfect answer to getting your brand out there. Around 85 percent of consumers start their research online before making a purchase. With the right online presence, you can not only help your customers find you but also reinforce your brand. Finally, building an online presence for your business gives you more control over your business, your brand reputation, and your business relatability to customers. For instance, offline businesses can utilize online spaces to showcase how they embracing various backgrounds as an online business or even in-store by sharing offline staff profiles with their online audiences. Customers value brand accessibility and a website or social media account for your business can help you increase that.

Create A Strong And Identifiable Website

One of the mistakes many offline businesses commit is not having a business website or having a poorly designed one. Even if you prefer to sell in-store, a well-designed website can act as a reliable source of information or marketing and feedback platform. A well-designed business website has 3 principles: it has a great load time, consistent in its content and branding and it is easy to navigate. Most customers will leave a website if it does not load within 3 seconds and 80 percent of them will not return to the website for a repeat visit. If you prefer not to outsource to website design and development companies, offline businesses can do it in-house with the help of website builders like Weebly, Squarespace, and Wix. You will also want to invest in a good website host with great technical support, in case you need it.

Get Your Business’ Social Media Use Right

The rise of social media in business is undeniable. They are a great way to engage your customers online and begin to build an online presence. However, not all social media platforms will be suitable for your offline business. Understanding where your products and audience fits in will be key to choosing the right social media platform. In the beginning, start with one or two social media platforms before expanding your social media presence. Once you have identified your audience, you can nail down the kind of content they want to see, which social media sites will be more effective and the tone your brand should adopt on these sites.

Optimize Your Content For Mobile Use

Up to 70 percent of web traffic occurs from a mobile device. In South Asia, 33 percent of the population has access to mobile internet, a figure that has doubled since 2004. However, that varies greatly according to countries. For instance, in Indonesia, the mobile penetration rate is 64 percent and set to reach 69 percent by 2025. This represents a rapidly growing and valuable online space for your business- one that is often overlooked. 

Optimizing your online presence for mobile platforms increases your audience and creates more opportunities to translate your online presence into offline sales. The first thing you need to do is to ensure your website is responsive and mobile-friendly. Website builders and experts recommend removing pop-ups, stripping back to your key content, and using a mobile-friendly theme or template. A mobile-friendly template helps to optimize your website load time (ideally 3 seconds or less) while reducing large chunks of content enables better navigation and call to action placements.

Finally, aim to create a unifying brand identity both offline and online. This means coordinating your content online such as logos, color scheme, and brand tone to match your offline presence. If you are an established offline business, you can easily take cues from the image you have crafted for your business during the years of operating offline. You want customers to associate your offline and online presence with the same brand. Having a smooth transition helps the association process.

Whether your business is purely offline or you are considering eCommerce in the future, there is no question that having an online presence can benefit your business. If done right, it may just the best investment you make for your offline business.

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Lottie W
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Lottie W is a free-spirited freelance writer.

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