In the earlier installments of this three-part series, Verisign’s Scott Schnell explained how to choose a business domain name and how to set up and manage your website. Today, he shares how to take your website to the next level.
By Scott Schnell
Aside from making sure essential contact information are present and remain consistent including a business address, phone number and email address, small businesses should consider including ecommerce and mobile technology on their websites. Consumers cite convenience and better deals as primary reasons for shopping online instead of in stores, which has prompted many major and many smaller retailers to invest more in ecommerce.
Forrester research predicts ecommerce sales will represent eight percent of all retail sales in the U.S. by 2014, up from six percent in 2009. There is a huge opportunity for small businesses to get a piece of this pie by incorporating ecommerce into their websites.
Ecommerce platforms also allow businesses to collect valuable customer contact information as part of the checkout process. Collecting customer contact information allows you to communicate directly with customers about new offers and promotions, and draw them back to your site for repeat business.
When a small business establishes an online presence, they are essentially opening their store front to a global market. A growing global trend – especially in many European and Asian markets – is shopping from a tablet or mobile device6. In fact, research shows that 26 percent of smart phone users have made a purchase from their phone and that number is expected to grow. In order to streamline the customer experience online, businesses need to have mobile-friendly versions of their websites that prioritize the content that’s important for mobile users to access. Whether through advanced options like responsive design, or easy to use mobile website tools like Verisign MobileView, mobile capabilities can provide a competitive advantage.
Once a business establishes a solid online presence, making smart marketing decisions that get customers to your site is critical. A business’ online presence should be at the center of their marketing efforts. Many small businesses have found success driving visitors and sales to their sites through daily deal sites like Groupon and Amazon Daily Deals. These sites, for a fee, allow businesses to take advantage of large, established user bases to gain exposure and get new customers. Some enterprising small companies have capitalized on the mobile trend by building smartphone apps that easily direct customers to their websites. This technique catapulted Woot into a well-known ecommerce brand.
It’s up to the businesses to garner customer interest, and building and investing in an online presence is one of the most effective ways of doing that.
Scott Schnell is SVP of Marketing, Strategy and Business Development at Verisign. For more information on how to build and grow an online presence, including how to purchase a domain name, visit www.GetA.com or www.VerisignInc.com/smallbiz.