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Why Go OnlineThere are many reasons why businesses choose to go online.
Advantages of online business:
Save money, lower costsSome businesses are able to make a great deal of money through their web site by increasing the ease of connecting people with their services and lowering staff costs.
Many businesses still rely on the traditional methods of fax, phone and handwritten notes to accept orders and respond to customers.
Some key areas where you may be able to reduce costs include:
- Providing information: If the information is easily accessible your staff are freed up to concentrate on other business activity, rather than responding to enquiries
- Providing marketing material: With an up to date web site it is possible to save money on printed materials and other marketing materials
- Reducing cost of handling sales: With no keying of information, and reduced processing and handling times, orders can be accepted and processed faster
Increase salesIn the early adoption phase of the Internet, there was considerable hype about the use of online stores to increase business activity and sales. When the promised activity failed to materialize many people became sceptical about the benefit that online activity could produce.
The reality for most businesses is that, if done well, a properly maintained and functioning website can contribute to increased revenue, either by direct means such as accepting a sale from outside a businesses normal geographic area, or indirect ones such as providing better leads and customer contacts.
Having an online store that can accept an order available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week gives a business another edge that a competitor may not have. It also makes it faster and easier for the customer to order compared to ordering over the phone or by fax.
In April 2002, 49% of all households in Australia had an internet connection, and in the six months to Sep 2001, 64% of Australians had purchased online. (NOIE).
Improved marketing and promotionA web site can provide some unique benefits:
- A web site is available from most places on earth, providing the customer knows the address.
- You can display multiple colour images, animations and even video about the product that may not be possible in a brochure.
- It is easy to collect and analyse information from a web site rather than waiting for information to be sent from a particular company.
- Targeted promotions can be used to offer special discounts through direct mail or online advertising to increase the visitor rate to the web site
- Newsletters can be easily sent to all customers of a particular business, notifying of a new product or special offer.
More InformationThe National Office of Information Economy is an Australian Federal Government that has direct responsibility for the development and coordination of advice to the Government on information economy issues. It provides a number of resources for businesses considering setting up online activities.
The eBusiness website guide provides a considerable amount of information for businesses looking to set up online facilities: www.e-businessguide.gov.au
The NOIE state of play contains statistical information relating to online activities: www.noie.gov.au