Why online is the new landline

By: Guest contributor

Date: 18 March 2015

Why online is the new landline{{}}Consumer behaviour has changed. As a shopper, I literally cannot remember the last time I went into a supermarket superstore.

Virtually everything that I buy I purchase online. My behaviour is not exceptional and I don’t think that the evolution of my buying habits is especially unusual either.

Even if I am, arguably, more ecommerce-active than the average consumer, it seems to me that my online buying behavior will soon become the norm. The shift to e-commerce is utterly inevitable.

And yet, many businesses are stuck in the past.

UK government stats show that in some sectors as many as half UK businesses don’t yet have a website at all. And of those that do, almost half are non-transactional.

The research suggests that e-commerce penetration of the total UK business population is about one third. In other words, two out of every three businesses do not have a transactional website. These are incredibly alarming findings.

There are many reasons why business people choose not go online. Typical comments that I hear include:

  • “I have enough business already, I don’t want/need any more custom”;
  • “I don’t know how to do it”;
  • “Yes I use the internet but my customers don’t”.

And yet, not one of them would argue with the need for a telephone landline.

I know from firsthand experience, having run the business division of O2, that just three years ago the majority of UK business owners were adamant that having a landline phone number was essential to being in business.

Online is the new landline

Today, British businesses should consider having a presence online as even more important than having an office telephone number. In other words, online is the new landline.

A landline number used to be a mark of authenticity for businesses. The move to a digital economy has meant consumers are now more likely to trust a business with a website and they will consider a business more credible if they offer the ability to transact seamlessly online.

Irrespective of a business’s appetite to win more customers; regardless of the business owner’s desire and ambition to scale-up; in the digital economy I passionately believe that:

  • every business now has to have a website, whatever business they are in.
  • there are no exceptions. None.

Being online is not just about doing business, it is about being found. It is about saving time (for both you and your customers). And most importantly, it is about being trusted.

Copyright © 2015 Simon Devonshire. Simon is the Government’s entrepreneur in residence and director at Wayra Europe. You can find out more about online opportunities on the government website.

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