Though less and less common these days, a most common question that traditional tradesmen “brick and mortar” tradesmen business owners ask is: Why should I take my traditional company online?
FIRSTLY, let’s clarify something. In the case of this post a “traditional company” is normally one with a physical location and sells either in person, by phone, or mail; is essentially a traditional “bricks-and-mortar” business. They may or may not have walk-in customers. Essentially, a business that is not selling physical products exclusively online, like an online store.
In many cases, the steps in setting up an online presence for a tradesmen or bricks and mortar business are very similar to those who wanted to start an online business, there are some things that make an online presence for a bricks and mortar business unique.
There is much said about doing business on the internet or “putting your business online”. To many it may just sound too complicated or too risky. But there are many good reasons to begin selling (and running your business) online. Here are the top nine reasons why anyone should establish an online presence for an offline business:
1. Gives Your Trade Or Service Credibility
Credibility alone should be enough reason to start tradesmen selling online. Credibility is an extremely important factor considering that without a website, blog, or online presence any prospective clients could begin to wonder how serious you are about your business. Today, companies of all sizes and industries are establishing a successful online presence.
2. 24/7 Hour Availability
While some fast food restaurants, supermarkets, and petrol stations manage 24-hour service, it is impossible for many businesses to do the same. That is, without internet access. A key benefit to having your business online or listed with a directory or marketplace, is that your clients and prospects clients can read about your products, services, skills, trade and place an order at anytime— day or night. On regular business days or holidays. Imagine being open 3-4 times longer and what it could do for your business.
Even if you have a traditional offline services type business, you can generate leads and inquiries while you are closed and followup with those prospective customers and current customers once you open the next day.
3. Customer Support
Being connected to the internet allows you to answer questions, give sales vlogs, and action customer problems, requests or issues—all without taking any of your time. You can create a video, a service spec sheet or a FAQ (frequently asked question) section once, and you can direct clients to that information for years. Not only does it save you time, but you’ll be providing better service. Your clients and prospects are looking for specific information, services such as:
- Before they make a buying decision
- To solve a problem with an existing problem or purchase
- Researching alternatives before making a buying decision
With an online presence you can give your prospective customers just the information that they are looking for. This means less phone calls with technical questions and more sales.
4. Zero 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, list on a directory or list with a marketplace and start selling. By adding your trade or service to a marketplace simply gives you additional revenue and a new source of customers.
5. The Internet Was Made for Business
The beauty of the internet is that your prospective client(s) can literally be just one click away from your online listing. Through the internet you can now educate, instruct and solve clients problems. You can accept orders and payments and receive them directly to your inbox.
6. Work Abroad / Work from Anywhere
Are the long cold winters starting to get you down? Are you tired of the constant heat and humidity where you live? Taking your business online gives you the ability to have location freedom so you can live and work from anywhere you want; you’re not stuck to a physical location.
As long as you have a solid internet connection you can live virtually anywhere while you conduct your business. Most people live in one continent, have their hosting on another and their warehouse on yet another. These days tradesmen can rent tools almost anywhere in any town and any city. The world has become smaller giving us all the opportunity to take advantage. You could even move to New Zealand and still run your business in the United Kingdom, South Africa or Australia.
With few exceptions the internet reduces your need to “be” somewhere or be a little more flexible. Live where you pretty much want to, and let your business adapt to your lifestyle instead of the other way around. Each business is different and there will be some limitations but tradesmen such as plumbers, electricians, architects, draftsmen, landscapers, can use the new age technology and evolve.
7. Reduce Operation Costs
Just one single task can make a significant difference in cost savings. For example, receiving orders online reduces the need for customer service staff. With comprehensive sales and product information online, you’ll simply receive purchase orders and payments via Screwit.
A really good sales video, sales description, or online before after video can replace a full-time sales process, it also re-forces trust with customers.
Making use of Screwit can now take all aspects of your business online, such as purchasing, billing, invoicing, order fulfillment and in the future shipping. Other functions can include preemptive customer service—such as answering client questions via a FAQ section or a customer forum.
8. Target Nationals or Global Market
With your brick and mortar business, you are limited to the amount of individuals who can visit you at any given time, let alone find you. With a good listing on Screwit or a directory, you can literally have thousands, of people visiting your profile. Imagine the potential if you could expose your products and services.
9. Responsiveness is key
When you’re listed with Screwit, screwit allows you to focus on the important stuff.