Consumers rely on the Internet to search for products and services to meet their personal and business needs, and like the convenience of doing so from the comfort of their home or office. And businesses who have realized the power of the Internet have used it to influence customers and to market themselves successfully around the world. In fact, India has seen a surge in numbers of consumers and businesses embracing the Internet, and is now ranked fourth with the highest number of Internet users in the world1 with more than 81 million Internet users2 today.
A simple keyword search for "handicrafts" can result in over 10,000 matching categories on popular search engines. As a result, consumers today have limitless choices in this extremely crowded online market. So for any company doing business online, the key challenge is to attract visitors to their site and then persuade them to do business. In essence, moving them from ‘clicks’ to ‘customers’.
An important first step in conducting business on the Web is to select and register a domain name. Since this domain name will represent your company’s brand and identity, choose carefully and register it as soon as possible. Just as your location in the physical world is important for the growth of your business, the right domain name can be for your online success. A .com domain name, for example, offers your business with instant recognition, visibility and credibility. Best of all, com is the most widely used domain name extension around the world1.
Because of convenience, consumers are now doing more online, like making travel reservations, buying movie tickets, and banking with financial institutions, proving that the Internet is providing many opportunities for businesses to bring in more customers. In fact, India’s ecommerce business jumped by more than 80 percent in 2013, and the momentum is expected to continue for the next five to six years.
A survey3 on online buying attitudes reveals that a website needs to actively engage its audience to provoke them to buy. To do so, here are three tips to consider:
When a prospective customer lands on your site, ensure the most interesting and unique features of your products and services are showcased and highlighted. As a general rule of thumb:
The menus and navigation on your website should be intuitive to your audience and offer information with minimum clicks. For example, if you own an air travel booking business, your site’s homepage should highlight key offers you’re promoting, information on all flights and a clear link to the reservations page. You may want to consider linking offers directly to your reservations page so a prospective customer can receive all the details and book tickets all at the same time.
Keep in mind that “less is more” is the cardinal rule when selling online, which means the fewer the clicks, the better. A 2006 Marketing Sherpa4 study confirms this, concluding that online shopping carts are abandoned close to 60 percent of the time due to poor website processes and designs. That translates to a considerable amount of lost sales!
Creating customer confidence in your business can be a challenge. And in the online world, your website needs to be safe and secure to build trust with your audience and credibility in your brand.
As an example, if you own a hotel business, your site should provide all the information an inquiring traveler would want to know before booking a reservation, like a robust picture gallery of available rooms, an “About Us” page, media and client reviews, and services and amenities offered. And if your website offers the option of making transactions online, gain their trust by deploying a sound secure payment system.
Welcome to the Internet World!
1From the article ‘Can India lead the mobile-internet revolution?’ by Laxman Narasimhan dated 8 March 2011 available at http://www.silicon.com/technology/networks/2011/03/08/can-india-lead-the-mobile-internet-revolution-39747100/
2 www.internetworldstats.com, June 30, 2010
3 Accenture survey in 2001 among 450 Internet shoppers from around the world available at Converting Online Customers
4 Survey carried out by Marketing Sherpa, a marketing research firm, across 1,100 ecommerce marketers; 2006