Online business is growing, and growing fast. Ever since the earliest days of mainstream internet use, there were predictions from experts and analysts about the way the technology would affect our lives and the changes it would bring along. Now we’re living through those changes and it’s proving a very interesting time to be in business. It’s also throwing up plenty of new challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs.
It’s entirely understandable that social changes should come about as a result of the introduction of new technology and it’s been seen time and time again throughout human history. Indeed this relationship between our tools and our social structures is at the heart of Marxist Historical Materialism. The observation right at the crux of this philosophical theory is that when we get create new ways of doing things or new bits of tech we restructure our society accordingly; thus when the industrial revolution came about we created factories and a new class structure that our community had to fall in line with.
So it is today with the internet. The tool has completely changed the way that retailers and customers relate to one another as fewer people go to shops and peruse products and more people shop online and order products to be delivered to their homes.
This all makes it sound as though success through the web is inevitable. Unfortunately, this isn’t quite true. It’s still important that a business knows what it’s doing and gets the online interface right. The website is the new shop window, the images the new mannequins, the delivery and returns service the new smiling shop assistant.
How do you get it right then? Well, let’s say you want to buy something that’s quite in vogue at the moment like crushed velvet beds. A business will typically set up a page specifically for that product. They’ll show the product in the best possible light and make all the deals that are available very clear for anyone who hasn’t visited the site before. It’s not rocket science but it’s not a walk in the park either as it’s actually quite easy to get this wrong.
There are thousands of websites out there that are frankly atrocious. A lot of businesses that grow out of blogs are bad for this, and without wanting to name and shame, something everyone has come across at one time or another is a blog or online magazine kind of product that takes forever to load and isn’t even clearly defined. Sometimes you can be on a page for minutes before you’ve even worked out what exactly is on offer, never mind buying a product or taking a further interest in a service!
Of course, another important point to make is that the mobile internet aspect of the modern shopping experience is also crucial. If a website can’t be accessed and easily navigated on a smartphone then that’s a huge chunk of the market lost, as these days it’s when people are waiting for trains and fiddling around on their phones that they’re doing their shopping and making their wish-lists.