Does your online presence determine your sales?

I was in Abuja recently and I shopped at a clothing store for traditional clothes. I don't live in Abuja and when asked by the owner on how I got to know about the business, I told her I was an avid follower of the designs they posted online and since I was in their city for work, I decided to drop by. She looked surprised, but pleased.

This got me thinking about how, for the past eighteen months, I have regularly patronized businesses I found online in 5 minutes or less for my personal shopping. I also particularly like to try out new restaurants in unfamiliar cities based on online reviews and I am not alone. In the last decade, a lot of consumers have resorted to finding their 'plugs' or what they need online. So yes, if recent statistics are anything to go by, your online presence can significantly be a deal breaker or maker in your sales - either offline or online. More than ever, your business needs to have an effective digital presence to drive sales and grow.

An online presence denotes every single thing your business has under its name published on the Internet. This encompasses accounts, interactions, information etc. created by or about the business and published over a variety of online platforms - social media, email, website etc.

Thriving businesses feed on healthy producer - consumer engagement. Your digital presence is the ideal platform to communicate with your customers and set the narrative of what your brand is about. For your business's success, it is essential that you work actively on and keep open the communication channels between you and your customers. These back and forth communication/engagement is what leads to sales. A great online presence can also help build your brand's reputation. How many times have you chosen a product over another because of a raving review online? The more presentable your business looks on the net, the more customers are to trust you. Customer trust can translate into customer loyalty and customer loyalty equals increased and continued sales, not to mention referrals.

99.9% of the time, your business's digital presence, if managed well does your business more good than harm. So here's a little something for you to chew on: Can you find your business in a minute or less online?