Whenever it comes to writing about online businesses, there’s a famous quote by Bill Gates that comes to my mind. “If your business is not on the Internet, soon your business will be out of business,” says the Founder and CEO, Microsoft.
His words became a prophecy of sorts and came alarmingly true as the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic continues to shake America and the rest of the world. You might have surely heard about some iconic and large businesses in the US filing for bankruptcy or closing shop altogether due to the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic.
So What Does This Prove?
Watching large businesses that have flourished for years flounder and fail within a couple of months due to COVID-19 brought to line one common theme within all of these businesses. Most of these businesses had zero or limited online presence. Furthermore, a large chunk of these businesses depended heavily on offline processes to run and manage their organization.
In stark contrast, we have seen online businesses such as Amazon or those having a significant online presence such as Walmart and Target, among others, record a boom during the COVID-19 pandemic and its ensuing emergencies, lockdowns, social distancing and other related issues.
All these facts prove one thing: that investing in an online business is the best way to do business in 2020 and beyond.
Reasons to Invest in Online Business in 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely changed the way we live and the way we shop. Therefore, here’re some strong reasons you should invest in an online business in 2020 and beyond.
Online Businesses are Pandemic Resistant
The COVID-19 pandemic will end at some point, but none of us know when or how as of this writing. One thing is for certain though and that is that the pandemic has changed the way we live. People are increasingly aware of the need for social distancing and higher levels of personal hygiene.
Hence, you can safely assume that shoppers will reduce their visits to brick-and-mortar stores and supermarkets. This trend will also prevail among industrial and commercial buyers and sellers or what we generally call B2B trade. Instead of visiting a plant or showroom to view some piece of machinery, buyers and sellers could use holograms and Artificial Intelligence to showcase their products and their features online.
Therefore, whether you’re a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) or B2B business, it’s worth investing in an online business in 2020. Even if you’re a budding or fledgling entrepreneur, an online business can prove very useful to counter issues that COVID-19 is causing and any such unfortunate events that may arise in the future.
Opportunity to Offer Affiliate Marketing
The ability to offer extra sales channels is one of the prime reasons why online businesses such as Amazon, Airbnb, and others succeed and sustain themselves during economic turbulence.
One superb sales and marketing channel to consider is affiliate marketing. About 60 percent of all sales on Amazon.com and its other global websites are through affiliate marketing links provided by bloggers and other businesses. In fact, a glance at every successful online business would clearly indicate that affiliate marketing ranks as one of their largest marketing and sales channel.
Why’s that? Because companies pay a small commission to every affiliate marketer from whose link is used and a purchase is made. Amazon, for example, pays between two percent and 18 percent, excluding taxes and deliver charges, as affiliate commissions.
America is home to an estimated 31 million bloggers. Understandably, not all of these are active or use digital marketing for any number of reasons. Yet, that leaves a very large number of bloggers that utilize affiliate marketing as one or their main sources of income.
Invest in affiliate marketing for your business. This is a wonderful sales and marketing resource where you get the publicity first through the affiliate posts and then pay later when a sale actually occurs for your business.
Free & Paid Marketplaces for Your Business
When we think about investing in online businesses, the first thing that comes to our mind is a website. Undoubtedly, it’s fantastic to have your own website for the business and provide necessary information and the ability to purchase online. In fact, a business website gives you tons of control over your business and the direction it takes.
It’s not expensive to set up a wonderful website. A good domain name, hosting, and other necessary resources cost less than $100 per year, which is a rather insignificant amount if we consider the returns.
However, if you don’t wish to launch your own website for any reason, there’re still superb ways for your business to go online. Simply invest in a marketplace on large ecommerce portals such as Shopify.com and Etsy.com.
While Shopify allows you to sell almost anything through your own marketplace, Etsy.com is primarily for exclusive and handcrafted products. In fact, I would encourage you to check out various marketplaces on Shopify and Etsy to see how their owners present their products and services.
There’s also an amazing free resource available for your online business and that’s the Facebook Marketplace. You can create a page for your business for free and use the Facebook Marketplace feature without paying anything to run it. The only flip side with Facebook Marketplace is that your products and services will be visible only to people within your area and sometimes just a little beyond.
Another service that Facebook offers is known as Facebook Business. This isn’t a free resource, however. Instead, it comes at a very reasonable price and offers a large number of features such as free and inexpensive advertising of your product related posts and offerings.
Possibilities to Work From Home
The year 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the world to the importance of working from home. Lack of mass transit systems, health curfews, lockdowns, the need to shun crowded places and maintain social distancing all forced companies both small and large to provide work from home options to their employees.
There are various online businesses where you can work from your home and still make good money. You don’t need to invest in buying or leasing an office to launch your business. This helps prevent exposure to possible contagion and can help overcome further challenges in the future. In fact, millions of businesses worldwide let go their dependence on office space to adopt the work from home model.
Tap into Best Talent Pool
When you invest in an online business in 2020, you can also tap into the best talent pool. The US boasts of having the largest freelance workforce in the world of more than 47M highly skilled and qualified women and men. This accounts for nearly 49 percent of the total American workforce. With nearly 20 million freelancers, India has the second largest freelance workforce on this planet.
Instead of hiring fulltime staff and increasing your payroll, you can enlist the help of these freelancers for specific tasks and specific periods. Since these freelancers work online and make decent money, it’s possible to recruit the best talent from anywhere in the world and there’re superb websites such as Upwork.com and FlexJobs.com where you can get best freelancers for short and long term work.
Social Media Works for Online Businesses
Look around Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media platforms and you’ll be surprised to find that even the largest financial institution, those multinational FMCG companies, as well as your neighborhood pizzeria are all have a presence there. That’s because social media has become the favorite and top choice of every organization to promote its business.
Social media marketing also serves a lot more purposes than merely promoting your online business. For example, an amazing Facebook page with interesting and engaging posts about the business and its offerings can collect countless likes and followers. Social media pages thus serve as a funnel which allows you to provide information about your online business rapidly.
You can also listen to consumers through their comments on your social media posts. In fact, listening to consumers helps your business to adapt or innovate offerings to suit the needs of the market better and there are infinite chances that your social media posts could be shared and collect more followers.
Email Marketing Becomes Easier
A lot of business people wrongly believe that investing time and effort and some resources on email marketing is sheer waste. They believe that email marketing is a thing of the past, archaic, and has no relevance whatsoever in today’s world. I can assure you that email marketing is as important in 2020 as it was in earlier days and this importance will only increase in 2020 and beyond when people cut their social engagements and outdoor activities to some extent.
To further elaborate on this: any person will give you their email address when your business is online and offers something interesting to them that they find valuable. They want to remain updated on discounts, seasonal offers, promotions, job postings and engaging content they can relate with about your business.
When your online business offers something of their interest, they’ll subscribe to your emails and this email list is very useful in letting people know a little more about your business and its various activities.
As people shun outdoor activities due to the need for social distancing, they’re less prone to view physical ads on billboards and street-side posters. Instead, an interesting email is more likely to attract attention, get leads, and convert into business.
Become Part of Global Growth
Globally, e-commerce is growing at a rate of 14.1 percent to a whopping 24 percent, depending upon the region where you are located in. The global e-commerce industry is projected to cross the $4.27 trillion mark in 2020 and touch $6.6 trillion by 2023. By investing in an online business in 2020, you can grab a slice of this large e-commerce pie.
Statistics from various sources also reveal that most purchases will be made using apps from smartphones because of the convenience and ability to buy from anywhere. Going online enables your business to attract clients through apps and mobile devices. That’s also the reason for all large companies offering their own apps and mobile-friendly websites.
As you can see, there’re at least seven major benefits of investing in an online business this year. In fact, an online business isn’t merely relevant. It’s the need of the future. While offline businesses will remain, they’re expected to cater mainly to the online market.
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