As I have mentioned so many times, a company really needs a website if it wants to continue to be competitive in today’s era. Setting up a website need not be difficult- you can even engage a college IT student to do it for a low cost in exchange for a good portfolio (having developed website for a good and known company would definitely put the graduate at a distinct advantage over other applicants).
Websites can be set up so easily nowadays- one can even use the most popular blogging platform, WordPress to set up the site. That is why sometimes I don’t understand why a company can’t even spare a little budget to just set up a website and keep it running.
An example I would like to discuss today is Hinode shop- the shop that sell most of its product for RM5 each (similar to Daiso). From what I can see, the company does not have an official website (if it does, I am not able to find it online). Visitors looking for more information about Hinode online ended up in my other blog, where I happened to write an article about Hinode. They even ended up on a blog that writes about Daiso, their competitor.
Below is a screen shot taken in April 2012 when I did 2 Google searches:
On the screen shot above, you can see that when I type in the phrase “hinode shop branches” (I select the phrase because the Google auto suggestion appears that), 2 of my blog posts actually appears on the first and second Google ranking respectively. The first two result were:
Both of these articles are written by me and published in my Visit Malaysia blog- which I was sharing from my visit to the outlet. Because the company did not create a web presence, the traffic ended up getting redirected to my site.
A second search on “Hinode Malaysia” as shown in the screenshot below: the 3rd search result Hinode- shop selling items for RM5 is also from my blog.
Actually I was not aware of this until some visitors dropped comments to seek clarification on Hinode. Aside from that, I’ve also received personal emails from them. The visitors who genuinely wanted information, was not aware that the blog is not the official site of Hinode.
The search results may change over time- that’s why I’ve included a screen shot to illustrate my point- I did not make any alterations to the page.
I’ve stressed again and again on the importance of any company needs an online presence. It is a 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, rain or shine relatively low cost and effective Marketing tool. For example, Hinode Malaysia’s site would find putting the following very helpful to its visitors and thus increasing the number of visitors going to the Hinode shop:
- a complete and up to date directory of all its outlets and phone numbers. For example, Hinode in Carrefour Subang had shifted upstairs and for a long while I thought the outlet had folded until one day I happened to visit the top floor- only then I realized the shop had shifted (I visit Hinode as I like to buy their creative notebooks- but lately I’ve noticed the stocks did not change much so I’m buying from other bookstores. And Hinode One Utama does not have notebooks).
- “Contact us” and “Feedback” form. It can choose to designate the customer service function to a dedicated personnel or team or to be handled by the outlets. Regardless, companies would need to have an avenue for customers to be able to contact to ask or feedback something
- Online shopping cart- it may not be necessary as the company would need to set up secured online payment system and develop a logistic structure for delivery. But if the company wants to expand to service overseas potential buyers, it can look into that possibility. If it is budget conscious, then setting up an Amazon or eBay account can help.
These are my humble suggestions. Today, everyone would just google whatever information they want. Most people also have very short attention span, hence, if they are not able to find what they’re looking for, they would just go to other sites- most often, the site of the competitor.