Technology is evolving at an incredible rate and offers a world of opportunity.  Imagine it, Africa can skip over 10 years of fixed line issues and arrive in the mobile internet era.  “Mobile devices in use, including both phones and tablets, will grow from over 7.7 billion in 2014 to over 12.1 billion by 2018.” Source: The Radicati Group, Inc., Feb 2014.  That was predicted over 2 years ago, if you’re not online already you can’t afford to wait any longer.  The accessibility to exponentially increased markets is just a few clicks away.  There is a software bundle offering that I’m taking a look at offered by Sage Online Tools that will help any company get online and begin the digital journey.

To be without an online presence is to be invisible to the market of the future.

“Time spent on mobile apps exceeded desktop web access for the first time in 2014” Source: Marketing Charts

To be ‘online’ isn’t as simple as just having a website, that’s not good enough.  Your website is a platform for your business to launch into the digital space, it must interact with your audience and allow feedback.  Your website has to be a multi directional platform allowing for marketing, information sharing, and of course sales.

Sage Online Tools is a fully hosted website (SAAS) that allows you to setup an online product catalogue and allow online credit card or EFT processing.

Sage Online Tools product integrates seamlessly with Sage One, Sage Xpress Advantage, Sage Partner Advantage and Sage Evolution. It allows you use the information that you have already captured into your accounting system to populate a website so that you can avoid having to replicate your data capture between your accounting system and your website. As you receive orders or quote requests from clients or potential clients, these are automatically imported into the accounting system and as you change information (e.g. product prices) in the accounting system, these are automatically updated on your website. Therefore it is a bidirectional system, both pushing and pulling data from your accounting package sitting on your server and the online website.

  • Mobile Responsive website

    The software platform used for the website will detect what device your customer is using and adapt accordingly.  This greatly increases your users experience and your search engine ranking

    41% mobile users have turned to a competitor’s website after a bad mobile experience Source: Google

  • Manage your social media interaction

    Link posts and/or comments to your social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc) to increase awareness.

  • Customer SMS or Email campaigns

    Traditional mailing campaigns or customer info shares.  Track customer interaction to increase the chance to close sales.

  • Business Software Integration

    Direct integration with your company business software allows for a much smoother processes affording you more opportunity to increase and manage your sales.

The websites are fully hosted and template-driven allowing you to easily create a professional website without the need for in-house web-development skills in your business. While the template-driven approach makes it easy for anyone to create a E-business website, more advanced users can also customize the appearance of their websites in many different ways.

Additional benefits of Sage Online Tools:

  • It can be used as an online shop or catalogue for clients to view your products/services from anywhere in the world.
  • Unique Log-in’s and Pricelists will allow you to use the system as an ordering system between sales representatives or various branches.
  • You don’t need any web-coding knowledge.
  • It is quick and easy to set-up
  • Shipping costs can be automatically calculated
  • Very cost effective

50% of consumers expect transactions to be easier on mobile than they are on a computer. Source: IBM

After looking at everything that’s included in the Sage Online Tools offering, I’m impressed.  They’ve catered for all the basic fundamentals for an online presence, and more.  It’s easy to use and the functionality that’s available to the user was previously too expensive for SME’s to obtain, great job.

It’s never to late to embark on this journey, unless you never begin in the first place.

Regards

Brian

About the Author

Garth Kahn – who has written posts on End 2 End Business Solutions.