The COVID-19 pandemic is taking its toll on the global economy. With more people staying indoors and non-essential businesses closing down, profits for companies are low, and around 1.6 people billion around the world or half of the world’s workers are expected to lose their jobs because of this.
But compared to corporations and large companies, small businesses have a higher chance of closing down because of the economic downturn. Before the pandemic, only 80% of small businesses survive their first year, and only half of those will survive the next five years, and only a third of those that remain will make it past 10 years. But because of the pandemic, it’s expected that around half of small businesses may shut down in 2020.
Having an online presence has provided a considerable advantage for small businesses prior to the pandemic. But with the economic decline, having an online presence is now essential to staying afloat during these times.
Become Visible to Potential Customers
In an age where smartphones provide instant online access and information, people are now more impatient and want assured results each time they do something. This is why around 88% of consumers do their research on a business – both online or brick-and-mortar stores – before making a purchase.
This means that if your business does not have an online presence, they either won’t know about your business or find enough information to do enough research about it and skip your business over in favor of a competitor that has an online presence.
With many businesses temporarily and permanently closing down, it can be difficult to know if a brick-and-mortar business is closed before a consumer goes out to visit. Having a website or social media platform can provide your consumers with the means to see what your new business hours are. Having aGoogle My Business can put you on the map as well as list your operating hours and any new policies implemented due to the current situation.
This is important especially for businesses that require customers and clients to physically go to their place of business to make a sale. While some businesses can survive purely online, businesses like salon services or renting out venues like Disneyland really require customers to know the changes in their schedule and operating policies.
Drive Up Revenue
Revenue may be down for brick-and-mortar businesses because they have either closed down or because they do not have the same amount of foot traffic that has kept their business afloat. By setting up an online shopping and delivery platform, however, they can continue to provide their products and services to customers while providing a safe and contactless business transaction.
Even after the pandemic, having an online shopping platform can help boost sales. As of 2019, there were around 1.92 billion digital buyers which make around 14.1% of purchases around the world. By 2023, it’s expected to rise to 22%, providing you with a much larger market to reach compared to limiting yourself to your physical store.
Bare Minimum Is No Longer an Option
Because going online has become a crucial move for small businesses, it’s not enough to just buy a website and create a social media page and call it a day. Your online presence also has to be active, competitive, informational, and engaging if you want your business to succeed online.
For instance, you may have to invest in digital marketing if you want your business to show up on relevant search engine keywords your potential customers are searching for. And even if you are appearing for relevant keywords, you want your website to rank higher than your competitors.
And if you don’t know the difference between web development vs. web design, you’re better off leaving it to the professionals. Because if your website doesn’t make a good impression within the first 20 seconds or takes a lot of clicks to get from the homepage to the checkout page, it’s a huge turn-off for would-be customers or can dissuade customers from making another purchase or referring your business to their network.
The future is digital, but if small businesses want to stay afloat in the current declining economy, the future will have to come sooner. Going online and investing to create a strong online presence can help your business survive by widening your target audience, increasing invisibility, and allowing potential customers to make purchases without ever having to leave their homes.