Does my Local Business need the Internet ?
By Mark Munday
The value of the internet to businesses with a global market is now well
established. Being online means that you can deal with customers in
different geographic locations. But how important is it for businesses
with local target markets to have an internet presence?
In the past, the internet has been
used to do business remotely. Businesses deal with clients over vast
distances, using e-commerce technology that makes geographical location
irrelevant. This means that these businesses have access to enormous
markets and customers have buying choices they never had before.
Finding Products and Services
Using the internet to find products
or services is very easy. All the information you need is only the touch
of a button away. Finding this information is certainly a lot easier
than scouring shopping malls, combing through the yellow pages or
speaking to numerous people who may have made similar purchases.
Convenience is of paramount
importance in the fast-paced society we live in. Online shopping through
supermarket websites is already well established. And it
is only a matter of time before consumers demand the convenience of the
internet to support all their local buying decisions.
There are three compelling reasons
why you need to harness the internet as a marketing tool in your local
- Consumers spend about 80% of their disposable income within 30 Kilometres of where they live.
- 70% to 80% of households have an internet connection.
- The internet is rapidly becoming the preferred source of information.
Local Spending Patterns
The reality is that consumers spend
most of their money close to home. The population is well educated and it
is becoming increasingly dependent on the internet for information.
General use of the internet to support local buying decisions seems
When I am looking for information,
the first thing I do is search the web. I usually find what I need,
easily, at no cost and in the comfort of my home. Unfortunately, if I
need information on local businesses, I won't find much on the
internet at this stage. If I need to contact a restaurant, hairdresser,
plumber, panel beater or any other local business, I have to scrounge
That will change very soon. In the
near future, when people move into a new area, they will search the
internet to find out about the most convenient local businesses. They
will also examine the websites of these local businesses to help them
decide on which ones they should use.
All this means that not having a
website will make you almost invisible to a rapidly growing portion of
your target market. And having a good website will give your local
business a powerful competitive advantage.
The bottom line is, if you want your
local business to survive in the long-term you are going to have to
"get online". You will have to learn how to harness the power of the
internet or risk losing your market share to competitors in your area
who have a web presence.
The Strategic Plan Wizard.
As a Business Strategist and Coach, Mark Munday works with business owners to
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