Originally Posted On: How Can I Expand My Offline Business To Achieve Online Gains | BIZCATALYST 360°
The world is evolving, particularly for small business owners. Whether it’s due to the pandemic or advancements in tech, consumer mindsets have changed. Companies must consequently learn to adapt with the times or face the prospect of falling short. Frankly, most entrepreneurs will now find that online selling is essential. Even when they have previously been able to resist the digital revolution.
Expanding to the digital arena won’t necessarily mean that the brick and mortar operations will close. Meanwhile, some of the blueprint used for the original venture will translate well to the online playground. Nonetheless, the transition to the world of Ecommerce will require a dedicated strategy. Here’s how you can ace the planning process to achieve truly stunning results.
Remember Your Audience
Adding eCommerce strands to the business will feel a lot like starting a new company. However, some elements are already well established. None more so than the target demographic. While the online customer base may come from a wider geographic location, their backgrounds are likely to be the same. The age, gender, financial status, political standpoints, and other differentiating features all remain.
In turn, this can give you a significant head start as you bid to build the online audience. From using paid target marketing with defined parameters to choosing the best social media channels, those steps are key. Aside from giving you the best chance of reaching the right people in a quick and cost-effective way, it will boost your confidence. It is a factor that will show and inspire trust from clients.
On a side note, if you want to inspire trust from new audiences, your existing clients are a great asset. With positive reviews and testimonials on your side, leads will know that the business is legit and provides quality products.
Secure Dedicated Support
The fact that you can’t run a business with just one pair of hands is one of the first lessons you learnt. The sentiment rings especially true when handling the move to the digital arena. Teaming with an Ecommerce consultant to devise a strategy for building a successful online venture is advised. Data-driven decisions that use a combo of the latest trends and an understanding of your place in the market will boost your hopes of success.
Dedicated support from experts in the field allows you to avoid the threat of following outdated ideas. Moreover, it will free up more time, thus enabling you to focus on the tasks where your skills are needed. You hire people, internally and externally, to assist you in a wide range of business matters. Any thoughts that you could enter the modern digital marketplace without the same level of help would be naive to say the least.
Put Security Measures In Place
Building a successful business is far from easy. So, when you do achieve a level of achievement, allowing outside threats to undo the good work you’ve achieved is not an option. Unfortunately, those dangers are out there. As such, you will need to take the initiative to give your venture the protection it deserves. Otherwise, the fallout of a breach could harm your reputation as well as the finances.
Clients, business partners, and employees all need to know that their data is safe. In today’s advanced online climate, mobile security is as important as protection for on-site systems. So, a dedicated digital security strategy that includes threat detection, 24/7 monitoring, and care across all platforms is key. The harsh reality is that over 40% of all cyberattacks target small companies. You cannot ignore it.
It is also commonly stated that 90% of all breaches are caused by human error. As such, all employees and contractors using devices or digital channels need to be taught about the newest threats. Like the oliche states, prevention is the best form of protection.
Invest In Client Support
Building a strong team is an essential ingredient in any successful business model. And you will need employees to represent your company well in each facet. When expanding to the online arena, though, it is particularly important to focus on the customer support elements. After all, a lack of human face-to-face interactions will naturally construct a few obstacles. Having the right agents by your side can help pull them down.
A plethora of tools can be used to upgrade your level of customer care. This includes adding Live Chat to your website or social media channels, as well as call redirecting and site FAQs. Providing clear info on returns policies, deliveries, and payments will deliver clarity for all visitors too. Whether first-time users or regular supporters of the brand, the ability to gain clear solutions to pain points will be telling.
Know The Path To Conversion
While the fundamentals of Ecommerce and offline selling are very similar, there are clear differences. The path to conversion is one of the most common. Setting a great first impression through branding and marketing is vital in both arenas. Nonetheless, the time it takes to get a sale can be greatly different. Once you get a consumer into a brick-and-mortar store, they are probably in ‘purchasing mode’. That’s not always the case online.
It will take at least seven touchpoints to secure the sale. Therefore, a dedicated marketing strategy is vital. You should ease leads through the various stages. They are Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Intent, Evaluation, and Purchase. The harsh reality is that there are a lot of moments where a consumer may abandon the transaction. If you do not maintain the enthusiasm at every stage of the process, it will show.
Similarly, you must prevent allowing too much time to pass between interactions. When you strike the balance between allowing clients to discover info while also giving them the info they need, success will follow.
Consider Third-Party Selling
Convincing new leads to purchase directly from your website can be a challenge. This is especially true when targeting audiences who are new to online buying. They are not yet 100% confident about spotting signs of scams or counterfeit sites. Thankfully, you can still reach this demographic by using third-party platforms like Amazon. And once they have gained trust in the brand, they will more than likely transfer to your site at some stage.
Mastering Amazon, eBay, Etsy, or other channels is another task where consultants are valuable. There are literally thousands of other companies and independent sellers on those sites. So, if you think people will find your store by luck, you are mistaken. Knowing the market and outperforming what’s already available is key. This can be supported by extra revenue streams via content creation and advert opportunities.
Add New Payment Methods
When a consumer enters your brick-and-mortar store, it’s likely that they will pay with cash or card. You wouldn’t ever dream of turning customers away because they want to use notes or coins. Likewise, losing an online sale due to the desired payment method would be nothing short of a disaster. This will be particularly important if you are planning to add international sales to the agenda.
As well as accepting credit and debit card payments, adding Apple Pay and PayPal should be considered essential. Meanwhile, repayment plan platforms can help increase your audience base. They do this by converting sales from people that can’t pay for the items outright. When doing this, though, you need to know that the right credit checking facilities are in place. Otherwise, bad debts could cost you dearly.
Ultimately, the sales figures are the most important barometer of success. Ensuring that the right systems are in place to facilitate them will give you the strongest platform to build upon. When supported by the other steps above, the expansion will be as smooth as you deserve.
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