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Do Brick-and-Mortar Stores Really Need An Online Presence?

The short answer? Yes.

The reach of the internet is so enormous it's difficult to truly comprehend. To give you an idea, here are two statistics that may put things into perspective:
  • There was an average of 3.5 billion Google searches every day in 20181 
  • As of year's end 2018, there were 7.6 billion people in the world2
This means that every day, there were almost as many searches as half of the world's population. People spend a lot of time on the internet.

That's why it's so vital that businesses have an online presence. I'm not referring to selling online (although I'll make a case for that as well). Businesses often overlook one of the largest decision-making factors when people make a purchase: information.

Being Found in The Age of Information

Author Arthur C. Clarke said, "getting information from the internet is like getting a glass of water from Niagra Falls." He's not incorrect - when I was writing this post, I Googled "internet information quotes" and got 433 million results. It can be incredibly overwhelming, and usually, people go for one of the first things they see that fits their criteria. I know I did: Clarke's quote was on the first page.

What this means is that in the age of millions of Google results, consumers don't want to go hunting for what they're looking for. People have become used to having information about anything and everything at their fingertips, and this absolutely impacts brick-and-mortar shops. Even if the store doesn't actually have a point-of-sale online, shoppers look at online reviews and do research into what they're buying. Every month, people visit 1.5 billion destinations related to what they searched on Google3, and a third of searches include the phrase "near me"4. If you don't have any online presence, none of those searches will result in customers finding your store.

Once people can find your location, you also need to ensure they feel they can trust you. Consumers are putting increasing importance on online reviews of both businesses and the product they're thinking of buying. Without any reviews, even established businesses can struggle.

 Not sure about that? Well:
  • 88% of shoppers characterize detailed product content as being one of the most important factors in their decision to buy5
  • 42% of online shoppers want to view testimonials and consumer reviews before they buy 6 
  • 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation7
  • 81% of consumers do online research before buying a product8
Even established businesses need to provide information and reassurances. 86% of consumers will take online reviews into consideration for established local businesses9. Amongst 18 to 34-year-olds, who make up 25% of the American population and have $1.3 trillion in annual buying power10, it's even more important: 95% read local business reviews. If a store doesn't have the right visibility, a review system set up, and product descriptions available, they are essentially disregarding an entire demographic’s revenue and falling behind the future mindset of retail.

Having one or two reviews are not enough; consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before they feel they can trust a local business11. Whereas in the past a consumer might physically enter a shop with no online presence to learn more about it, younger generations are simply ignoring those shops, resulting in stores missing out on the sales of an entire demographic. Stores should be proactive in this regard and start building their online presence now in order to stay ahead of the shifts in consumer behavior and preferences.

Building an online presence is easier said than done. Figuring out how to provide this information, setting up systems to help you be found, etc. can be difficult and time-consuming to do by yourself. Luckily, there's a solution.

Samyata

Broadly speaking, there are three reasons businesses need a strong online presence:

  1. To allow customers to find them within the sea of competitors.
  2. To assist customers in feeling that they have enough information about a product to actually make a purchase.
  3. To make customers feel comfortable with the store based on positive reviews.

Samyata provides solutions for all three of these:

  1. Our location-based technology only shows shoppers stores that are near them, removing the information overload that comes with Googling a keyword or product. 
  2. Samyata's inventory system is an easy way to provide shoppers with all the information they're looking for. 
  3. Shoppers rate the store after every purchase on Samyata, increasing the number of reviews and building trust between you and shoppers.

Being mobile friendly is important as well, as 50% of all web searches that are done on mobile12. Samyata is a mobile app, ensuring your information is optimized for someone shopping on mobile.

Interested in Samyata? Sign up and see what Samyata Store can do for your business.

Looking for other ways to increase your web presence? We're a Google Partner and would love to talk to you about some of the products and services Google offers to optimize your online presence, develop a website, and be found by customers. To learn more, email us at marketing@bodaty.com.

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