The way people do business has changed over the past decade. From the way we buy our clothes to our ability to locate a plumber, ordinary people no longer head down to the high street for their basic services. However, while Joe Public may have found his place in the new digital society, have small businesses managed to keep up with the shift?
The innovation in major business practices has been described as nothing short of a revolution. Yet what exactly is the online revolution, and how has it altered the way businesses and customers interact with one another?
Welcome to the digital future
Small children now know that information comes from their iPad as much as it does from their teacher or mother. In fact, most people now rely on their PC, laptop or mobile device for most of their daily information. This ranges from accessing the weather report when they get up in the morning to finding the cheapest flights or hotel prices when they go on holiday. From booking a cab and checking restaurant reviews to impulse purchases of everything from electronics to fashion, the internet is the go-to place for our general needs.
Keeping up with trends via social media
We even use the internet to communicate with our friends, arranging meetings or dates via social media sites and getting our latest dose of celebrity gossip via Twitter or Instagram. Supermarkets offer us recipes and meal ideas via scannable apps, and financial investors now rely increasingly on the speed of the digital highway to ensure they are always up to date on the latest stock-market trends.
Ensuring you have an online presence
However, small businesses seem less enthusiastic to join in this trend. Indeed, a 2014 survey has found that just 65% of UK small businesses have a website of some kind; of these, only 6% were optimised for mobile devices.
This means that an incredible 35% of small businesses are missing out on a huge number of potential customers simply because they have failed to create an online presence. This is a real shame because getting online is nowhere near as complex as many people believe.
Expert sources estimate that a small business that does not have an online presence is losing more than £25,000 a year.
The UK’s digital economy is booming
Online businesses are now among the most successful in the UK, and the digital economy has experienced rapid growth in the past few years at a time when global economic insecurity has caused ripples throughout almost all sectors.
What are you waiting for? Buy a domain name and create a website. Consider mobile apps or how you could use social media to your advantage. At the very least, get your business noticed on Yelp or Google Maps with a Google Plus account.
In addition, don’t forget to stay up to date and competitive with digital media news, ensuring you are on top of the latest trends and innovations in online marketing and technology.
With the internet and mobile apps now integrated into the way we live our day-to-day lives, it is vital that small businesses also integrate them into their own strategies if they are to survive.