Advances in technology have made it possible for the offline to go online for a spectacular and successful future. Offline businesses can now make a mark in online marketing and even online sales. After all, the World Wide Web is not just a place for techies. It’s a place for everyday shoppers and the businesses who market to them.
Ease of Use (For the Technological Uneasy)
It’s easier than ever for offline businesses to go online because recent technology makes website creation easier than ever. A professional is always preferred to get a website up and running, but offline business owners can manage it without much fuss using web creation software, blog creation software, search engine optimization (SEO) tools and app creation software.
If they don't want the trouble of a website, wildly popular social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are even easier to manage. Regular updates, promotions and consumer engagement are what attracts followers, increases marketing potential and increases profits. Professionals can even be hired for just social media marketing.
Longer Reach (Without the Extra Manpower)
Online, businesses can reach national and international customers. However, if they want to move into online sales, the shipping and storage can get complicated and pricey. Shipping services offer storage space and shipping services. You send large shipments to them, they store it, your employee then orders and the shipping service handles the order fulfillment.
These warehouses are also looking at a cheaper and more effective future with automated handling of orders. Completely automated shipping warehouses are in the beginning stages of development, but the advantages are clear. The cost for manpower in these industries is going lower. Limited automation for use with inventory is available for smaller, offline businesses too.
Expansion (Partially or Completely)
There are a number of big-name franchises going online. Walmart is an example. They now ship orders from warehouses, allow in-store pickups and still sell offline. They are expanding into the online market all the way. Offline businesses can expand onto the Internet in this fashion. They might even become like an online-only distributor that ships internationally.
If something like that seems too much, offline businesses that stay offline can still expand into new areas. Marketing online brings in customers beyond your neighborhood. Listing inventory online makes customer trips shorter and more focused. The creation of local listing and review sites like Yelp and Foursquare put you quite literally on the map. These are all opportunities for expansion and advancement online, and they’ve all been brought about by rapidly advancing technology.
Right now, the smartest business move for offline businesses is to establish an online presence. That's where a large portion of customers exist for many markets. They surf the Internet, share pictures, tweet updates and 'like' pages. They spend hours on the World Wide Web searching for services or products. You can be the seller or service they find. Advancing technology makes it possible.