How to Effortlessly Take Your Business Online
Brick and mortars should embrace a hybrid approach to build sales – learn how to take your business online effortlessly to boost retail sales right here.
For those that run brick and mortar stores, keeping their profits high can be a struggle due to competition from large companies such as Amazon which dominate the market. However, taking your business online can improve your profits by giving you access to a wider target audience, allowing interested consumers to purchase items outside of your local area, and can grow your brand recognition. Entrepreneurs should not put their eggs in one basket, and with copious amounts of people now shopping online, your business should not forego the opportunities that the internet provides.
1. Speak to a Business Coach
If your business is long-running, or you have previously used traditional methods to run your business, you may find it challenging to set your company up online, from creating a website to marketing on digital platforms. Whether you are struggling to set your business up professionally online or are unable to juggle this with the demands of a brick and mortar store, speaking to a business coach can help you through the transitioning process. For instance, Angela Henderson Consulting is a small business coach who can help you to understand the online market and the adaptations that you need to make to stay relevant to the changing selling dynamics. By offering business advice and planning strategies to aid your businesses’ transition, small business coaches can give you all the individual information that you need to succeed online.
2. Choose the Right Platform
When setting up an e-commerce store online, the first thing that you need to do is choose the right website and selling platform for your business. For first-time businesses looking to go online, the rise of third-party marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy may be the best option, as they have their own established customer base. Rather than organizing the selling platform and website, all you need to do is focus on your digital marketing techniques to drive customers to your marketplace page. If you want your business to have its own personal website, you should choose combined e-commerce platforms such as Shopify that are easily navigable and allow customers to buy your products straight from your website. Although traditional websites builders such as WordPress are suited to blogs, they are not always the right option for e-commerce stores, as you have to download an additional plug-in for these selling services.
3. Make Your Website Mobile-Savvy
As a business looking to take your products online, it is essential to know that in 2018, over one-third of sales were predicted to be made on mobile phones, whether on apps or web pages. It is crucial to stay up-to-date with these fast-growing changes to the market by ensuring that your website is mobile-adapted. This is especially important for businesses that have brick-and-mortar stores, as residents or visitors to your local area will then be able to search for your business online from any location. To prepare your website for mobile phones, you need to ensure that your website automatically switches to an established mobile view, has fast loading speeds, and that its graphics are not too large as to crowd the page or be unable to load on mobile devices.
4. Prepare for Cart Abandonment
However, transforming your brick and mortar store to an online platform brings a host of new problems with it, including cart abandonment. Cart abandonment occurs when consumers place several items in their basket and never proceed through the check-out process. To decrease the risk of cart abandonment, you need to ensure that your website supports a wide range of modern payment options such as credit and debit cards, Paypal, and Apple Pay, which is particularly popular with mobile phone users. You can also make it easier to check-out by offering the option to store credit card information or to create an account, which will speed up the process on their next visit. Many popular online stores also offer quick buy options, where regular customers can purchase items in a click of a button.
5. Install Security Systems
However, just as you need liability insurance to protect visitors to your store and your employees, you need to take measures to protect your customers when they use your online shop. A lack of security for your online store is a common problem for businesses and can leave customers vulnerable to fraud and theft. This can highly damage your reputation, and so it is crucial that you take measures to stop these crimes. If you store information off your personal computer, you should always download a firewall or security scanner to support your activities online, and ensure that your website and check-out process is encrypted and password protected. You should make sure that your website is on a secure server with an SSL certificate, and if in doubt, you should hire an IT professional to manage your security online.
6. Conduct Online Market Research
Unlike an online store, you have likely conducted market research in your local area, discovering the needs of the residents and visitors who frequent your town or city. However, the interests and demands of customers online are entirely different, and so it is important that you conduct new market research on digital forums to avoid the most common issues known to businesses. One of the most popular ways to do this is to create an online survey, which is sent to recent customers and broadcast on social media. You can also gather intel by asking for reviews and feedback from your customers after a purchase, as this will allow you to recognize what you need to improve and allow you to acknowledge the first-hand experience of your store.
7. Utilize Digital Marketing Strategies
However, now that you are an online business, it is vital that you have digital marketing strategies in place to attract your much larger customer base to your store. Once you have set up your website, one of the best ways that you can do this is through increasing your SEO. Search engine optimization can be performed by creating a list of target keywords and building high value content around these terms across your website. This will allow you to be shown higher up the search rankings for your business, drawing more traffic to your website. Other ways to increase your digital marketing include managed SEO services, utilizing social media, creating a blog or video content, using influencers, and PPC advertising.
Taking your business online doesn’t have to be difficult. Start by structuring a plan based on these simple steps. If you’re a startup looking for a professional business presence with minimal effort you can even get A Free Theme for your startup company with everything you need to grow your business.