You may have noticed we recently published a blog titled "Is your website designed to help keep you in business?". This was the first in a series of posts designed to help you better understand why it's so important for your business to have a strong online presence. When we published, I anticipated some curiosity about why we jumped into this topic so this message is an explanation to help put our initiative into context.
First, I wanted to start by putting our industry situation firmly in focus. The market is shrinking and the market for heavy-duty, high-end copier machines is shrinking a lot faster than other parts of the market. The implications on dealers are serious, both to the top line (revenue) as well as on the cost of doing business, particularly with regards to the cost of running a service organization.
Underlying the shrinking market are fundamental changes in customer behavior, as workflows change and the digitization of document production takes an ever-increasing hold in the market.
More and more customers who purchased or leased copier machines in the past are now considering alternatives. As they do, they are far less likely to call you with questions because they are independently researching their options online.
- We cannot change the trend toward document digitization.
- We cannot ignore the trend toward fewer pages printed.
- We cannot deny the overall market is shrinking.
- Unless you are capturing a bigger slice of the market or successfully moving into new products and services, your revenue must also be shrinking.
Given these circumstances, we have concluded that dealers who do not understand, or who choose to ignore, the impact of the customer transition toward searching online for answers, will experience dire implications on their business. Whether it be an end consumer researching for an answer on how to do something, or an employee researching different options to help make their business run better, the first place everyone now goes for answers is online.
This, in a nutshell, is why we have entered the debate about the importance of our customers' online presence.
When a potential buyer searches online for an answer, unless your business appears in the search results, you are not likely to be considered as an option for fulfilling that searchers requirements.
As we've already established, your top line is likely to be shrinking whether you are losing customers or not. However, if this wasn't enough to contend with, you must now layer in the impact of not showing up in online search results. Think about this in the context of your existing customers. You already know they must be independently searching for answers online but, what you no longer know are the questions they're asking. In the past, they may have called you for an answer but, today, that has become much less likely.
Furthermore, as your customers' search online, chances are the answers to their questions are not ones you have crafted. Instead, it's increasingly likely to be answers your digitally savvy competitors have prepared. This situation amplifies the already harsh impact of market shrink by introducing the incremental threat of customer churn.
These circumstances combine to compound an already critical situation on your top line and your cost structure, because you begin to lose market share in a shrinking market.
I am passionate about this market and I am passionate about the survival of the independent dealer community in our business environment. Unfortunately, while I can't do anything about the shrinking market, what I can do is:
- Provide you with the business intelligence needed to help you manage your costs.
- Deliver insights necessary for you to prepare for the tsunami of upcoming changes in billing practices, and;
- Provide you with access to the business technology needed to help you elevate your online presence that's necessary to start appearing in search results.
These three factors will combine to help you, not only reduce the threat of customer churn, but also, over time, start to increase your market share. This will help mitigate the declines in print volume that will otherwise eventually kill your business.
If you'd like to learn more about our Web Presence Management services then please click the button directly below.
And, finally, to make sure you don't miss the upcoming posts in this series, if you're not already signed up please register using this link.
Wes McArtor President, Nexera