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Online Success Factors for Businesses

Integration of the web into the core of what company does

Businesses have moved beyond the traditional marketing activities; print a flyer, place an ad in the newspaper, and advertise on the yellow pages. New mediums are getting more traction and better results. However, most businesses are yet to adopt and adhere to the online way of doing business.

In an effort to determine how to build your business online, you need to rethink your business model and internet strategy. You should find the answers to the following questions while planning to take your business to the internet.

  • How the internet can be used to market and sell your existing products or services?
  • How can you use the web and the internet to build interactive relationships between prospects, customers, resellers, employees, and suppliers?
  • How to leverage the internet capabilities with your company’s core expertise?
  • How can you reduce costs and increase service level by making the most of the internet?
  • How can you use the internet to make it easier for your customers to do business with you?

Running a successful business online is more than just creating a web presence, putting a catalog of products online and listing on the web. Many companies still do not have a website strategy. A strategy for your company’s web presence is a cornerstone for transpiring your company in this online business environment. Your website should cater to meet your business objectives whether that is brand recognition, or promotional web presence, or selling your products, or servicing your customers.

Focus on how the company adds value for its customers

Online merchants must have speed, best price, rapid delivery, and customization to thrive on this fast-pace online economy. The competition will constantly be moving to develop service that adds value in the face of new developments and increase customer base. Having a website or performing transaction online, at a lower cost, is not nearly enough. A successful business must add tremendous value, inventing new features and services that smooth out the process and lead to a new surge in buying and selling. In other words, businesses must find new ways to delight their customers.

As more and more companies are going online, you have to more than just offer more choices or at low costs. In global economy such as ours, a business cannot compete on price alone; competitors can easily imitate and remove your competitive edge.

Focus on creating the best experience for each customer segment your serve

It is important to focus and know which of your customer segments will be most profitable to serve online. You cannot stand for something if you chase after everything. It is important to identify your most profitable customers and create the best experience when serving them by building a better more comprehensive website.

Besides enhancing existing relationships, the need to retain customers is still a primary concern to most businesses. After all, it costs more to acquire new customers than retain existing ones.

Customers are different and their needs are different. One-size-fits-all philosophy does not work anymore. Segmentation is crucial to improve retention and generate revenue by cross-selling or up-selling to your existing customers. To improve customer retention and better serve them, companies need to invest in customer relationship management systems and specially by integrating their sales and service processes.

Website differentiation is another important factor. What would you do to give your customers a good reason to keep coming back to your website? In other words, how would you differentiate from the competition?

One way to differentiate your website is to localize content to grab user attention and customize to their affinity. Therefore targeting your customers according to both affinities and segmentation creates consumer loyalty and the potential for highly targeted advertising and commercial sales. Online storefronts can build affinity easily.

Tip
Think about which customers you want to target and which ones you really want to keep. In addition, use web technology such as your website, your CRM system, your email marketing campaigns to serve them and retain them.

Make it easy for customers to do business with you

The internet makes it possible for companies to create affordable, formerly expensive solutions that help grow your existing business. The key is to make virtually effortless for the customer to purchase your products or services.

Focus on improving customer’s experience across channels of interaction

To compete in this global economy created by the internet, success depends on the product and service you are providing to your customers as well as on how you make it available to your customers. This means you need to have integrated information systems (online & offline) throughout your company to provide and build strong customer relationship by leveraging the information you hold.

Offline storefronts are not the only channel available for customers. There are many alternatives, websites, mobile smartphones, email, call center, fax, and kiosks. With all these channels proliferating, customers are demanding multi-channel service integration. In other words, customers need to be able to call in or log into any system of a company, immediately be recognized and have their requests or purchase processed satisfactorily.

Even though many companies have their businesses online, for the business to survive companies must treat the internet as one of many communication channels and seamlessly connected and leveraged by all other channels.

Summary

  • Rethink your business model and internet strategy.
  • Plan to take your business to the internet.
  • Focus on adding value to your customers.
  • Identify your most profitable customers and create the best experience when serving them.
  • One-size-fits-all philosophy does not work anymore.
  • Invest in web technology such as your websites, CRM systems, email marketing campaigns to serve your customers.
  • Differentiate your website from your competitors.
  • Make virtually effortless for your customer to purchase your products or services.
  • Treat the internet as one of many communication channels and seamlessly connected and leveraged by all other channels.
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