If there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught businesses, it’s the power and impact of an online presence. Due to the limited contact and activities during the pandemic, traditional businesses have struggled to make sales and maintain their presence. However, another means of reaching customers have succeeded during the pandemic.
Online shopping has continued to grow, and we see no signs of slowing down. Last year, the annual retail e-commerce sales surpassed $14.9 trillion worldwide, and experts are predicting that even if the world is returning back to normal sales will be up to $5.5 trillion.
With the growing number of online shoppers, businesses must grab this opportunity to transition from a brick-and-mortar to an online presence.
However, if you are used to traditional methods of working on your business, transitioning to online is scary. You don’t have to worry. We have simplified how you can move your business online so you don’t have to be intimidated by it at all.
Why Move Your Business Online?
Business online will cut back on other expenses like warehouse, staff, and inventory. You can have a supplier manage your inventory or stock them yourself since it doesn’t take up much space. Furthermore, when you have your business online, your suppliers can also take care of delivering or sending out your products. Therefore, you reduce shipping time.
A physical store requires you to operate at a certain time, and then you’ll need to close it because there are no customers in your area and you need to rest. However, having a business online is different.
Online business will allow you to operate 24/7, which means customers can visit your store anytime without the need for you to be present always. It will be convenient for customers to read about your products, browse them, and make an order.
Starting and running a business can be challenging. When you operate online, though, you may save a lot of worry and difficulty. This is a common way to manage a business these days because it is straightforward, convenient, and cost-effective.
Furthermore, you can also access your business anywhere you are at any time.
Good for Niche Products
Operating your business online is beneficial if you provide specialty products. People looking for a specific product may readily find and access your services, which means you can profit from a larger number of customers than if you had a brick-and-mortar location, where you would only be accessible to a restricted number of people.
Reach More Customers
If you have a physical location for your business, you are limiting your audience. Your products and services will be confined to a specific group of people. You won’t have to worry about these limits if you move online. You can expand your offerings across the country and even beyond.
These benefits of moving your business online can help your business grow and get more sales. Now that you are ready to move online, here are ways you can smoothly transition.
How to Transition Your Business Online?
Build a Website
The first step to moving your business online is to create a website. A website can be a central point where all your products and services contain the information that your consumers can read to make a purchase.
You can establish a positive first impression on your online customers by having a clear, well-designed, and user-friendly website. Make sure you’re checking your site for logical errors, misspellings, and erroneous information on a regular basis. To maintain effective contact with your consumers, you should also check to see if you have the basics for your small business website.
Usually, the website you will build for your business depends on what you sell. If you have physical products, you’ll need to build an online presence with an e-commerce store. If you provide services, you can create a website that has online booking and so on.
You can create your own website by using build-your-own website software like Website X5. If you have no idea how to create a website, you can hire a web developer and web designer to take care of it.
Work on Marketing Strategies
After building a website for your business, you need to market your shop to get traffic. There are multiple ways you can market your business when you go online.
The traditional form of marketing is expensive and limited, while online marketing has more options and it’s cheaper than traditional.
Some options for online business marketing:
- Search Engine Optimization: You need to optimize your website to meet the requirements of search engines like Google. For SEO, you’ll also need to conduct keyword research, work on fixing web issues, and so on. Furthermore, backlinking is another SEO strategy that you’ll need to practice to build your SEO marketing.
- Pay Per Click: This is a paid marketing strategy on Google. You’ll need to use relevant keywords and then bid, so it can appear on Google ads. There are also other paid marketing techniques that are not similar to the PPC method.
- Social Media Marketing: With social media having millions of daily active users, it is possible to find customers for your brand. There are multiple ways to create engaging content that will drive traffic to your website.
- Email Marketing: Email is an old method of marketing, but it is one of the best techniques that you can use for retargeting and for converting leads.
Make Sure Customers Are Safe
Cybersecurity is a bigger threat for online businesses. It can cause a business to lose its data, spend thousands of dollars from the attack, and ruin the reputation of a business.
Making sure that your customers are safe should always be a priority. There are many ways you can secure your customers and business data.
- Use SSL certificate
- Use a trusted payment processing provider
- Do not store your customers’ information
- Collect necessary data for marketing processes
- Keep your website’s backend, software, and devices updated
- Use antivirus software to keep your device, email, and all data secure. Some antiviruses to use are Vipre Business online, Kaspersky Small Office, and Total Bitdefender.
- Educate employees on everything about online security.
Promote Your Business
Of course, once you are online, you need to market your business. We have mentioned strategies or online marketing techniques you can use. However, you can even promote your business or new product further by trying these methods.
- Referral programs: Inform your customers or audience that you will offer incentives when they refer your business to others.
- Coupons or discounts on newsletter sign-up: You can find leads and build your audience by focusing on your email list. Newsletters are a great way to share your knowledge and build trust. Furthermore, it is an option to promote a new product or provide offers and discounts.
- Tell Stories: You can share content online that can draw potential customers to your site. Telling stories like customer experience, behind the scenes of a product, and so on will spark interest. You can create a video, write content, or post a photo to tell stories and connect with others.
- Network: You can create meetups or build an online community where you and your customers and others can connect. By creating a community, you can meet people that can share your business with others.
Make Customer Experience Easy
It’s easy to start a business online. After you have set up your website and promoted your business, you can start gaining traffic. However, you have to make sure that you can convert the traffic that enters your website.
Just like physical businesses, people who enter your store show an interest, but there is something that is hindering them from buying your products. Unlike traditional businesses, when you have a business online you can fix the issue by creating an easy and better customer experience. Furthermore, you can retarget these leads and turn them into paying customers.
Customer experience begins the moment someone clicks on your website. You can make sure that it is clean and all buttons are functioning. It is also vital to make your website mobile-friendly since most traffic online comes from mobile users.
Another way you can improve customer experience is to provide all the details about your product, use clear pictures from different angles, and add an explainer video. Explainer videos are highly effective and about 84% of customers make a purchase after watching.
You can also provide easy checkout by allowing customers to save their info if they return, provide multiple payment options, and more.
Communicate with Customers
An offline business makes communication with customers easier. But that doesn’t mean you can’t communicate with your customers when you go online.
You can make your communication with your customers sound more real and personal in your approach by commenting on photos they share about your product, answering their questions, and even building a community or group where you can host physical or online events to get to know your customers.
Remember to avoid making sales pitches all the time, instead try to create content that they can connect with.
Transitioning your physical business to a business online can require a bit of research and time. But when you get to accomplish the basic requirements, things will go smoothly. Moving online is one of the best decisions you will make for your company. You can market your brand to more customers, save more money, and let it run 24/7 without spending all of your time being physically present.
Get started today and see how your business grows.
Need a website? Have no coding skills? Try Website X5 to build your website and start your online business today.