Wednesday, November 04, 2020 / 04:30PM / By
FCMB Business Zone / Header Image Credit: FCMB Business Zone
Out of 37million micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria only a few have registered websites says a report by Small and Medium Enterprises Development Association of Nigeria (SMEDAN). The problem is the wrong notion that digital platforms are meant for large organizations only, while others argue that they do not have the expertise and finance required to manage such platforms. The COVID-19 pandemic has poked a finger in the eye of such arguments as small business owners are increasingly coming to terms with the need to have a digital foot print in the business of the 21st Century, size has become irrelevant or at best a mild constraint.
Several businesses have sped up efforts to own digital platforms as customers shift to the use of online malls to shop and do business, while others embark on digital transformation initiatives to ensure that they thrive within what has become known as the new normal.
As a small business owner in the 21st century, you should have no doubts about having a digital presence. Here is why:
As a small business owner seeking to compete in a world already dominated by medium and large-scale enterprises, attracting customers is much easier when you are able to showcase your brand through digital platforms. With over 100million internet subscribers in Nigeria alone your presence online makes it easy for customers to connect with you, learn more about your products & services and take action easily. In addition, your digital platforms enable you continuously portray elements of your brand which distinguishes you from competitors.
Studies have shown that though shoppers may have their usual suppliers and vendors offline, they still like to conduct research online before placing an order. This is because customers often like to compare prices and seek options before making a decision. Thus, being amongst the businesses present where they generally make findings and seek clarity about various product or service of interest gives your business a higher probability of being patronized.
Control your Brand's Narrative
With your own digital platform, the power is in your hands. You have control over the content you share and can define how you want your audience to see you and your business; which further leads to more engagement and increased brand loyalty.
In a digital-first environment, it is important for brands to control their brand narrative, and share the experiences of others using their products and services. According to Kaley Halliburton, brands that create compelling and meaningful narratives elicit much more social conversation, engagement, and ultimately, sales.
24/7 Lead Generation
Regardless of how big or small your business is or the industry that you operate, an obvious benefit of owning a digital platform is that your business becomes accessible to anyone, anywhere and at any time. Your platform is like a show room that is open 24 hours daily and 7 days a week, compared to when you have only about 8hours daily to operate a physical store.
Essentially, with your digital platforms, you can constantly attract customers and spend less time having to explain details about your product/service to every customer that connects with you. All you have to do is have in place processes that enable you respond speedily to requests such as having auto-responses for your emails and direct messages.
Beyond the benefits of having a digital presence as explained above it is important to note that credibility, consistency and customer experience are key to ensuring your business gets the best from its digital investment.
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