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How Struggling Retailers Can Improve Business by Selling Online

By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke

With the many advantages of the World Wide Web and its impact on businesses, you would think the bandwagon impact would be massive.

Apparently, this is not the case as there are still a good number of businesses that are yet to bring their business online. Surprisingly, some of these businesses are struggling and are ready to jump at any ready-made solution to recover. Unknown to them, the solution is right under their noses which is to bring the business online.

There many online businesses that traditional stores can emulate. A good example is Jumia. Jumia is over 5 years in the online business and for these years, Nigeria’s no 1 shopping destination has encouraged millions of Nigerians to shop online. This has, fortunately, being aided by the fact that many customers now own smartphones and can afford the internet, they will no doubt, result to the internet to perform their transactions. Hence, the convenience of an online platform like Jumia is driving a lot of people to purchase, book and order things on the internet.

Reasons you need an online presence

24/7 hour availability

There are very few traditional or offline businesses in Nigeria that can run for 24 hours every day. It is impossible. A key benefit to having a website is that your clients and prospects can read about your products and place orders at any time. On regular business days or holidays. Imagine what being open 3-4 times longer could do for your business.

Better customer support

The diversity of the internet is immeasurable. It allows you to answer questions and solve customer problems in real time. You can also create a video, a product spec sheet or a FAQ (frequently asked question) section once, and you can direct clients to that information. Not only does it save you time, but you’ll be providing better service.

Very low start-up costs

Starting out online means very low startup costs. You have no buildings to construct, no vehicles to buy and few (if any) staff to hire. Simply build your site and start selling. If you are already selling offline, then the transition can be very smooth. You continue selling the same products that you know and have a good supply of. Putting your company online simply gives you a new source of customers.

Your customers are online

This is perhaps the most important reason for building an online presence. This is because your customers are online using search engines to search for your services.

How struggling businesses/retailers can improve business by coming online

Know your market

One of the biggest keys to success with an online business is to know the market. Where do your potential customers spend their time online and how can you reach them? The better you know your market, the more success you will have reaching them with the right message and offering them the right products and services. You don’t necessarily have to be an expert in your market and, you can learn as you go along.

Push your business on social media

Social media is absolutely free except you want to run a promotion campaign. You can also do a free push of your business on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This will definitely give you brand recognition as you continually interact with your customers online.

Own a website

You need a website to complement your social media efforts. This is because search engines now have a huge impact on business because many people usually visit Google or Bing to search for what they want. If your website is fully optimised, then you will get more patronage. This, plus your social media, will help your business recover.

Publish an email newsletter

Capturing the email addresses of your website visitors is critical to the growth of every online business. However, a large and growing list is only valuable when useful and relevant information is sent on a regular basis to these individuals. The goal of an email list is to turn prospects into clients and clients into repeat customers and they will eventually become ambassadors for your company/product.

Keep them interested with content marketing

Content marketing refers to the strategy of marketing to potential customers with different types of content. The content used in this method can vary from blogs to videos; but they all share the same end goal: to convince visitors to your website that they should buy from or partner with you.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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