// by Léonie Lacey
1. It’s an opportunity to increase your sales
An estimated 92% of the Irish population has access to the internet, and the latest statistics show that eight out of ten internet users in Ireland purchase goods and services online.
The Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated this shift from in-store to online shopping. From getting your groceries delivered to reserving a restaurant table, most people have gotten used to having the opportunity to interact with various businesses online.
If your small business doesn’t have a website, you’re bound to miss out on a huge number of potential sales.
2. It lends credibility to your business
Websites aren’t only good for e-commerce. Even if you don’t have the means or desire to actively sell your product or service on the internet, you still need a place where customers can learn more about what you do, who you are, and how to connect with you. Social media is helpful, but oftentimes it doesn’t go far enough.
A brochure website answers any questions your potential customer may have and leaves them with a positive first impression of your business. Most importantly, an up-to-date website reassures the customer that your product/service is legitimate, in-demand, and, well, real!
3. It helps you compete
A website is essentially a virtual shopfront for your business. The better it looks and performs, the easier it is to convince someone to shop with you instead of the competition.
When people are searching online for a type of business in their locality, having a website immediately gives you an advantage because you are more likely to turn up in that search than a competitor who doesn’t have a well-established internet presence.
Not to mention, consumers value convenience. If you are able to offer services that your competitor doesn’t — say, click and collect or online booking — you’re giving yourself a much bigger chance of landing that sale.
4. It can encourage people to visit your bricks and mortar store
According to a Google study, ‘88% of consumers who search for a type of business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours.’
Maybe they’re looking for a decent cup of coffee, a last-minute gift, or someone to fix a leak — whatever your industry, having a website makes it much more likely that your business will appear higher up in those searches, converting yesterday’s online query into today’s in-store sale.
Most people begin their shopping journeys online. So even if they’re planning to visit establishments like yours in person, potential customers are still going to be using the internet to research your product/service in advance or to get directions to your store.
An attractive, well-designed website ensures that you’ve made this part of the consumer’s decision-making process as easy as possible.
5. It’s an affordable way to market your business
Unlike digital platforms or social networks where you can only showcase a snippet of your business, a website provides ample opportunity to demonstrate what sets your shop/product/service apart from the competition.
Everything from the words on the screen to the homepage that proudly displays your logo — it’s all yours. This gives you the freedom and scope to market your product in a way you aren’t able to do anywhere else on the web (including in the physical world, since flyers and newspaper ads also have limited space).
And as we mentioned before, showing up more frequently in a Google search is free advertising in itself.
6. It can save you time, money, and energy in the long run
Many small business owners can find themselves bogged down by phone calls and emails from customers who are looking for answers to questions that a website could easily answer.
Queries like these can cost you time and money when they interfere with more important tasks such as closing an in-store sale or simply taking an evening off to recharge.
A well-thought-out website design helps you manage your customer service workload. An FAQ section or an ‘About Us’ page can quickly give your customers all of the information they need, leaving you with the headspace to deal with more time-sensitive matters.
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Here at Ourside, a website design agency based in Ireland, we are well-equipped to help you achieve your goal of designing a website for your small business. Don’t be afraid to get in touch!
Not sure if you can afford to have one? Irish businesses (with little to no online presence and 10 or fewer employees) are eligible to apply for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, where you can avail of a €2,500 grant to put towards the design and development of a website. Contact the relevant LEO in your area for more information on how to avail of this voucher.