I've had conversations with clients, potential client and friends about the importance of having a solid online presence and selling their products and/or services online in conjunction with their normal selling methods. The truth is many don't see the need to do so or figure its too costly. Fact is, it may cost you more to be reactive (do it now before it becomes the standard) than proactive (after it becomes the standard) in this case. Lets talk about it.
Here in Jamaica, the internet is used for a variety of reasons. Some use it for social reasons, leisure reasons or for informational reasons. A lot use it to find the products they need. Unfortunately, most companies in Jamaica aren't online in an effective way for customers to see if the product they need is available locally. There are a few that have a mild presence, but ultimately it acts more like a flyer and a source of information for the company than a way to do business. The trend in most of the internet using public is to research product(s) with regard to price, availability, warranty and service after the sale. Sometimes, they will still visit the store for the site that has the product armed with a print out of the page from the store's website or just make the purchase then and there in the comfort of their home.
Another good reason to have a online presence is that your customers can have access to your store 24 hours and day, 7 days a week. Think of the electricity bill you would have to pay on a monthly basis if you were to open your doors 24/7, let alone the salary, security and other costs you now have. It wouldn't be cheep. But being online makes your store/company available when its convenient to your costumers which means they won't need to take their lunch break to drive in traffic to buy something from you (that saves them time and fuel).
If your still not convinced that online is the way to go then consider this. I'm sure you know the company MailPack or have an account with them or know someone who does. This company and all other companies who provide the same service here in Jamaica would not exist if Jamaicans weren't able and willing to shop online. Think about it, your allowing us to shop online with companies outside of Jamaica and not you and we're OK with paying the additional cost of duty and service fees they charge us. Why would you let that happen?
There are a number of people in the market, that would defiantly make it worth the investment for you to take your store online now. If your not online, selling online that is, you losing on a lot of revenue that could be channelled to you instead of away from you.
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