With the arrival of the Internet, new horizons have opened up for businesses, artisans, and professionals in general. Their visibility no longer depends solely on their location, or on advertising in the local newspaper. To make discover its universe and its products/services on a regional or national scale, even international, is now within reach of all.
Whether one chooses to keep a physical business, to go exclusively through online sales, or simply to be visible on the Internet, digitizing one’s business has become an important step for its development. Hence, the need to ask yourself the right questions.
This article is for you if:
- You hesitate to create a website and want to understand what it can bring to your business.
- You do not know if you need a showcase site or an e-commerce site.
- You wonder what solutions are available to you to set it up, and how much it will cost you.
- You are not sure if you have the time or the skills to take care of the maintenance, the update and the customer service of your site.
What are the benefits of creating a website for your business?
Let’s start with the basics: why create a website? What can it concretely bring to you and your company?
Increase your visibility
By making yourself visible on the net, you potentially become visible everywhere. Your clientele is no longer only local or tourist, you extend your exposure. Depending on your products, you can even use your local presence as a selling point (local products, products made in Reunion, etc.).
Here are some figures on the Internet in France in January 2018*, to understand the impact of the web on your visibility:
- 88% of French people use the Internet, for an average of 4 hours 48 minutes per day.
- 64% of French people prefer to complete their tasks digitally when possible.
- 70% of French people have already done a search to buy a product or service.
- 61% have already purchased a service or a product online.
The French spent 37.90 billion euros on online purchases of consumer goods (an 11% increase over the previous year).* Digital in France 2018″ report by We Are Social
Increasing your customer base
Inevitably, when you increase your visibility, you increase your catchment area and the number of potential customers. People who didn’t have access to your company until now can now be interested in it. Don’t forget that word-of-mouth is still a very powerful tool for your business, even on the web. As the number of your customers increases, so do the number of people who are likely to recommend your products or services to their friends.
Improve the quality of your after-sales service
In case of a problem, a customer will always be more inclined to keep a positive image of your company if the after-sales service is reactive. Thanks to your website, you can enhance this service and offer your customers on Reunion Island new ways to contact you, including outside your business hours. According to agence-communication.re, you can also provide your customers with tutorials and technical sheets, or explanatory videos, so that they are never caught off guard. Even without directly offering a solution, digitizing your after-sales service allows you to respond quickly, to avoid bad reactions. It’s also an ideal way to conduct satisfaction surveys, collect opinions and use all this feedback to improve your services.
To compete with the competition
The Internet provides businesses in Reunion with important advantages. This is true for you, but also for your competitors. Not having a website can put you at a disadvantage vis-à-vis your competitors. Indeed, if a website is a real asset for your competitors, wouldn’t it be in your interest to have one, too? To find out, think of some keywords that your customers could type in Google, and do the search yourself. Do your competitors appear in the results? If so, you have your answer: you should be there too!
Should I create an online store or a showcase site?
Having a website has many advantages. However, not all websites have the same functions: a showcase website allows you to present your activity, an online store allows you to sell your products. So, which one should you choose?
The showcase site
As its name indicates, it acts as a showcase for your business. It is in a way your business card on the web. Its main function is to present your company, your products or services, and to make available the information inherent to your store (schedules, directions, contact, etc.).
A showcase site also allows you :
- To be visible on the net and to set up a digital communication strategy (referencing in search engines, advertising on the Internet, on social networks…).
- To put forward special offers and news of your store.
- To digitalize the customer relationship (after-sales service, contact form, etc.) and to provide essential information (FAQ).
The showcase site benefits your business in Reunion Island by making you gain credibility and by promoting the acquisition of new contacts and customers.
The showcase site is generally indicated for businesses that do not wish to offer online sales, or for service providers.
The online store
With an online store, you can benefit from all the advantages of a showcase site, while allowing your customers in Reunion to make their purchases online. If you want to digitalize your business, this is the ideal option. You can notably :
- Use it as a complement to your physical store, or as your main store.
- Save a lot of money compared to a physical store, if you choose not to have one (lease, rent, insurance, electricity, furniture, telephone, etc.).
- Test your market before opening your physical store.
- Run a business while working from home.
If you intend to sell your products online, or would like to have the opportunity to do so in the future, it is in your best interest to choose an online store.