This week saw the world wide web turn 25 and while on a personal level, it’s difficult to imagine what life would have been like without Facebook, online shopping and search engines, it is arguably businesses which have gained the most from Tim Berners Lee’s invention.
To mark a quarter of a century of the internet, we take a closer look at how the web has boosted businesses.
1 Flexible working
Flexible working is becoming increasingly popular with both employees and employers as a way of getting a better work/life balance and keeping costs down, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the web. Thanks to the internet, many employees can work from anywhere at any time and are able to keep in touch with the office via email and access all the documents they need through the cloud.
Before the web, many businesses were limited to selling their products and services to people who lived in their local area, or were willing to travel, but now people from across the globe can purchase your wares with just a few simple clicks. Having an online store also means that you are open for business 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week, plus you can keep running costs low if you don’t need a bricks and mortar store.
3 Improved communication
Think about the ways you keep in touch with your colleagues or clients. We bet most of them are web-based, whether it’s email, instant message, Skype, VOIP or via social media. The internet means we can get in touch with virtually anyone, located anywhere in the world in an instant, and often for much cheaper than making a telephone call.
4 Increased visibility
Before the web, businesses had to resort to traditional and often costly marketing methods such as TV and magazine ads to get their name out there, while smaller firms relied heavily on word of mouth to boost their customer base. Now many businesses focus most of their marketing efforts online, whether it’s email marketing, SEO or social media. Even just having a website significantly increases a business’s visibility and ensures that customers can find out valuable information about your products and services with just a few clicks.
5 Global customer base
There are millions of consumers across the globe and thanks to the web, doing business with them has never been easier. Even the smallest of firms can go global and sell their products throughout Europe or as far afield as China and America without having to leave the comfort of the office.
6 Information at your fingertips
Before the web, how did people find out what products their competitors were selling, or whether there is a gap in the market for a particular product? Today, there is such a wealth of information available on the web which is easily accessible and making use of it can save businesses a lot of time and effort.