Back in the good old days, all it takes to get a business up and running was to have your product, the necessary paperwork, and a place to sell. Everything was so pragmatic and fundamental. All people had to worry about was maybe their mortgage or product supply. But with the onset of the internet, businesses also began using websites to support their physical stores. Not all companies had them, but some did. Fast forward a few years, even more brick and mortar shops would use the internet to spread their name further and make transactions with customers online. Fast forward even more to the present day, companies without a brick and mortar shop exist. Not only do they exist, but they’re a booming industry that moves money in amounts barely dreamed of before.
The internet removed barriers to accessibility. Now, transactions can be done completely online with little to no contact with personnel. And as long as the business owner has the product, there’s very little reason for interested buyers not to get it. We have arrived in the future, and evolution is necessary to survive in this time.
Existing in the Online Age
Utilizing the capabilities of the internet would benefit a lot of small businesses. Everything a business owner would need, from raw material suppliers to product design, even to delivery, is available on the platform. Failing to utilize readily accessible services online simply makes your work a lot more inefficient and inaccessible. Inefficient because you’ll end up doing most of the leg work on your own, and inaccessible because many services that offer business-to-business services (like delivery apps) also host their own business-to-consumer platforms where they either explicitly or tangentially advertise the business they work with.
If you already use the internet to aid your business, then great! It’s the great equalizer that gives most a fighting chance, be it a small business owner or multi-company mogul. However, if you’re not savvy enough to find the most effective way to make a presence online, then worry not, you don’t need to be a web developer to do that. All it takes is a little bit of looking around and putting your name out there.
The Age of the Online Store
If, for some reason, your business didn’t have an online store before the pandemic, you probably would have realized how much of a waste it is. Because of the current situation, people have switched most of their purchasing methods to online rather than physical. Everyone predicted this would be the case, but nobody expected it would come sooner. Now, everyone online is a potential customer, and it’s up to you to find a way to reach your target audience. But the question is how- the internet is vast, and your demographic is scattered. What you need to do is to be aware of where they are and go there.
Sell on FB Marketplace
Facebook, as a platform, does many things. From picture-sharing to forum-style discussions, from videos to online stores, Facebook does it all. Recently, Facebook implemented a ‘marketplace’ feature where you can put your products for sale- for free. It’s as easy as posting your product and waiting for someone to purchase it. Their algorithm allows grouping of similar products, so if someone’s looking for a couch on Facebook marketplace and you happen to be selling one, they have a chance to see your product. There are paid options to advertise your products as well.
Advertise It on Reddit
Reddit touts itself as ‘the front page’ of the internet, and with many of the Internet culture bits originating from this online forum, it’s hard to argue with it. Reddit supports forums for different kinds of topics, from science to languages, from niche hobbies to professional industries. Reddit allows for specific targeting, so knowing your product and what kind of people it attracts is good, but advertising it on a site filled with the exact people you’re looking for is genius. It’s a unique social media platform that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to advertise in.
If your product is of a certain make or aesthetic appeal, then Etsy is definitely for your business. It’s among the top online marketplace that caters to handmade or vintage items, and its customers know and understand what they’re getting into. For niche products that look for a niche audience, Etsy is a convenient place to sell in.
Besides business-to-business services that can help make your job easier, the internet lets you connect to the people who would want to buy your product. If your business got by before without relying much on the internet, now is the right time to bring it a step further by making your presence known in a virtual space where thousands of your customers are.