Today, online businesses are expanding while brick-and-mortar companies are struggling. The coronavirus pandemic has led to the closure of many retail stores and restaurants, and some will never reopen. If businesses want to succeed, they should consider moving some or all of their operations online. Mike Ionita explains why you should adapt your business to an online model and how this can help your company grow.
Rising Online Sales
In 2020, online retail sales are up by as much as 44 percent compared to one year ago. This means that there is an increasing opportunity for new business in e-commerce.
The coronavirus pandemic drove many people to shop online due to closures and worries over catching the virus. This trend is likely to continue even after the virus has eased its grip.
Customers like to shop online because it is more convenient than going to the store. They can perform their transaction on a laptop or smartphone and receive their items without having to leave home. Customers are also attracted to online shopping because they can’t get certain items anywhere else.
There is a great deal of competition online, so stores keep their prices lower than brick-and-mortar locations. Having a lower price point means that online stores need to move more product at a lower margin, but buying and selling in bulk provides an advantage.
Online stores have a huge variety of items. Customers enjoy having many choices of color, type, and size of the products they want. This can also drive them to shop online rather than in a store.
How to Adapt Your Business for Online Sales
These activities can help your online venture succeed, bringing a new audience for your ideas and a new focus for your company.
Build a Website
The first thing that your business needs in order to adapt to online sales is a strong, working website and payment system. There are some turnkey solutions available from various providers, but it may be best to have your site purpose-built. If your website does not look and feel professional, you will lose some credibility in the public eye.
You will need to make sure that your customers can search, browse, and learn about your items as well as making your payment system simple, accurate, and easy to use. It is absolutely necessary to make sure that your website is usable on both PCs and smartphones. If your website does not have mobile functionality, you will frustrate your customers and lose sales.
Look at Your Business Plan
Even if you are not running a standard retail operation, you can move some or all of your business online. Restaurants can move their takeout operations online, and grocery stores can provide home delivery systems.
Consultants and other business services can also move online. Today, many people are unwilling or unable to attend meetings, but they still need services for their businesses.
Adapt Your Services
Even if your business offers only in-person services, there may be ways in which you can safely continue providing those services online. Many companies are moving to a curbside or contact-free service model. This means that businesses can continue to work even under demanding pandemic conditions.
Offer Tutorials and Training
Many companies are turning to video calls and chats to enhance their customer service. One of the best ways to use this technology is by offering service as a personal experience. Building a relationship with your client is key.
Offer Online Learning Opportunities
A creative way to move your business online is by offering online learning. Sharing your knowledge helps you to establish yourself as an authority. This means that your brand will have greater visibility and attract new clients.
One of the easiest and least expensive ways to do this is by starting a podcast. A podcast can offer a creative way to encourage listeners to use your business’s services.
For example, tax preparation services can start podcasts about the ins and outs of filing taxes. Listeners will receive important information and keep your company in mind when they need help.
Make Personalized Product Kits
Many businesses like salons have found it extremely difficult to stay in business in 2020. Successful businesses have added revenue streams to make themselves stand out. Some salons have offered DIY hair-coloring kits for their patrons to use at home, along with online or video chat instruction. This has helped some salons get by while bringing people a service that they want.
Learning and Incorporating New Technology
Businesses that want to increase their online success have to move with the times. It is necessary to keep up with all of the technological changes in their industries and beyond. When businesses adapt to an online model, they will be able to meet today’s challenges with creativity.
Mike Ionita encourages business owners to make these necessary changes in order to save their companies from the damaging effect of the pandemic and shifts in how consumers get their products and services.
Interesting related article: “What is eCommerce?“