Businesses that invest in their own e-commerce websites benefit from an increase in customer transactions and sales, according to entrepreneurs who participated in an Aug. 31 webinar organized by GoDaddy, a domain registrar and web hosting company. 

Honest Junk, a healthy snack line, gets 43% of its sales from its website, with retail partners contributing an additional 12%. The brand launched its website in June 2018, several months after relying on Google Forms. 

“We wanted to carve out a place on the Internet, and then from there branch out to brick-and-mortar retail partners,” said Christina T. Lagdameo, co-owner of Honest Junk. “Our website is the biggest proponent for our sales. Everything falls around it. Once they [customers] get to the website, it’s a captured audience.” 

Social media’s primary role, Ms. Lagdameo added, is to drive customers to the business’s website.  

Pearl Janine De Guzman, owner of marketing service company Staffz, compared having a website to fishing in one’s own pond and relying on social media platforms to fishing in a pond that’s not yours. 

“When that pond gets saturated, you’ll need to find another one to fish in. Why not create your own?” she asked. A website, she added, allows a business to nurture customer relationships through lead magnets — content given away in exchange for contact information — such as e-mail newsletter signups. 

She advised small businesses that aren’t tech savvy to use a hosting platform that makes it easy to maintain the website from the backend.  

Finding one need not be costly, said Jade Christian Tamboon of GoDaddy. 

“Product-based businesses probably need a bit more of an investment because of the [digital] infrastructure required, but any business owner can benefit from having a dot com,” he said. “A domain can cost less than P1,000 a year.” 

GoDaddy’s senior security analyst Ben Martin, meanwhile, said security should be a priority from the get-go: “Most don’t think about hacking until they get hacked, and then the sky falls and they panic.  

While GoDaddy takes care of the server security, businesses are responsible for website security and reducing security threats such as phishing, malware, and credit card theft. 

Compromised websites are blacklisted by antivirus companies and penalized by payment processing firms. Businesses that own them also suffer from a damaged reputation. 

“Clients won’t trust your website anymore, and that’s what it comes down to at the end of the day,” Mr. Martin said. 

According to GoDaddy’s 2020 Global Entrepreneurship Survey, Filipino entrepreneurs are looking to learn more about digital technologies that can help drive sales for their businesses. Forty three percent (43%) of survey respondents expressed interest in having a website, while 38% said they are interested in e-commerce portals. — Patricia B. Mirasol