Still considering moving your business online?
In 2015 I attended a seminar on the impact of a digital age on India. Google with the help of Deloitte had done an extensive research on the topic keeping in mind the Indian small and medium businesses. The summary for the report is here.
The sector is broken down into 4 stages of the digital revolution. The first or offline stage consists of a staggering 36% of small businesses. This means that they don’t have a broadband connection and do not use emails, social media platforms or any digital tools for their business.
The second stage was the basic digital experience. This involved having a basic or static website and using some social media platforms. The website might only have minimal information of the site and have an online direction using sites like Google Maps to get their customers into their store. This stage is about 31% of small to medium businesses. My jewellery business is part of this category according to me. There is also a difference between B2B and B2C when it comes to the first two stages. The B2B sector is slower to act and have a higher percentage of businesses offline.
The third stage belongs to the businesses which have an intermediate digital experience. 22% of the companies are in this category. These businesses are generating sales online either through their own websites or using the services of eCommerce platforms like shopify. The remaining are in the fourth stage and have about 10% of the small and medium business sector. These companies have high levels of digital engagement with their customers and use sophisticated digital tools and have mobile capabilities both internally and externally.
There is a direct correlation between the digital experience of a company and its growth. Offline businesses were reporting a decline of 8% while advanced digital companies were reporting growth of 19%. Which is almost a 30% difference between the two!
Businesses are moving online, if you are not making headway in that direction you are going to be left behind.
The second report I read was conducted in 2014 in the United States of America by Acquity Group, which is a part of Accenture Interactive. This surveyed the B2B landscape to see how the online world was affecting them.
This report also had some discoveries that questioned how I was thinking about my B2B company. Over 90% of the buyers do some form of research online before purchasing a business product. When the billing is more than $5,000 the buyers spend more than 3 hours researching products. While researching the products the buyers use various platforms. The most popular is the suppliers website (83.4%) followed by Google (77%). Even though the suppliers website is the most popular, buyers we not satisfied with the information that was provided.
Customers are doing online research before they buy, why are we not creating information on our websites?
Another interesting fact was that only 12% of the buyer actually wanted to meet someone to take them through the entire process. 16% will prefer talking over the phone, but the rest prefer to do some form of research on their own (72%). While doing research buyers of all ages are doing research not only on computers but their phones and tablets.
Then there is the kicker to the report. It stated that when price is not a factor, 71% of the buyers would change suppliers, if the overall digital experience was better with the other organisation.
These reports should give us a clear direction to head towards. It is now obvious that we have to:
- Build a website for our company.
- Focus on providing useful information to serve our clients.
- Keep in mind that phones and tablets are a big part of the online experience. Think responsive websites.
- We have to start using various social media platforms to bring awareness about our company.