Let me start with the numbers.
- There are 3.77 billion global internet users, equalling 50% penetration.
- There are 1.61 billion global e-commerce users, equalling 22% penetration.
- 84% of B2C shoppers prefer to browse products online before purchasing.
- In fact, even 94% of B2B buyers perform online research before buying.
- Internet contributes to more than $2.2 trillion in annual retail sales.
These numbers clearly indicate that an increasing number of people are going online to find information, search for a business or shop for products.
Online identity is the need of the hour in this digital age, especially if you are running a global business. A digital presence could be through a website, a social media handle, a blog or/and an e-store. What matters is that online customers are able to search for your business on the internet.
Here is why digital presence is critical for businesses operating and competing in a global arena:
Make Your Presence Known
Whether you are selling apparel or IT goods, running a restaurant or a real estate enterprise, or operating an HR consultancy firm or not-profit organization, you need to show your global target audience that you exist. And, having a brick and mortar office, or marketing through traditional channels such as printed brochures, newspapers or trade shows aren’t going to help you achieve that. People are still looking out for your business online. A digital avatar can make your entity more searchable.
Build Your Brand
According to a survey, 56% of customers don’t trust a business without a website. If not a website, then people prefer social media tools to locate a business. This shows that online presence is synonymous with credibility. It increases trust and visibility in your target audience. It gives your business a face. It also gives your business a voice because you can interact with the audience, respond to their queries or address their grievances promptly. You can build personal, long-term relationships with customers. Overall, online identity builds a positive image for your business.
A virtual presence cuts across time and distance barriers. You can showcase your products round the clock, enabling customers to browse, purchase or give feedback at their own convenience and outside your business hours. Your brand never sleeps when you are online!
Grow Your Business
When a business goes online, the sky is the limit. Your business is open a larger audience, and newer markets, customers and clientele that lie across the geographical barriers. Also, internet marketing is cheaper, more cost-effective and better measurable than the traditional marketing. You can even run targeted and personalized campaigns for each digital platform. You can track ROI on your marketing efforts, and analyze what works and what doesn’t. Accordingly, you can re-visit your marketing strategy. If customers are happy with your products and services, they can share their experiences through online reviews or even share links to your website/social media pages, which leads to more people knowing about your business. All of these together lead to the growth in your business.
Online identity can take your global business to newer heights. As Bill Gates says, “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.”