A wise man once said, “Change is the only constant”. And today’s business environment couldn’t define this more aptly. Until now, businesses resisted digitization and continued to operate conventionally. And they were doing just fine. However, the unprecedented pandemic has fast-tracked the digitization of business operations, locking many office doors which couldn’t adapt as quickly. If you’re still confused about whether or not you should shift your business online, this article is devised to solve that confusion. Let’s get started.
Digitization is here to stay; whether it is ecommerce or shifting of operations online for effective business processes. Brick and Mortar has now proven to be quite an unsteady approach to conduct business and post-pandemic scenarios rule out every possibility of businesses going back to the way they operated. Hence, digitization is unavoidable if you want to sustain a business that breaks even or even makes some profit.
Apart from the threats imminent in the current business environment, this also serves as an opportunity to gain competitive advantage. While your industry rivals may be busy figuring out a solution that avoids the digital approach, you can take this time to focus on long-term profitability and shift online, gaining better market share. Even if you face some initial hiccups or setbacks in setting up an online business platform, you might hit the jackpot and multiply your profitability in the long run.
Even though changing the course of business and moving online may seem uncertain in the beginning, it has its own benefits.
· An online business can be operated from anywhere. Once you have an online business, you are not bound to go back to Brick and Mortar to run your business. Even during unprecedented situations as the current one, you can run a business easily since all you would need is a good Internet connection and some online tools.
· The cost of operating an online business is much lower as compared to a traditional Brick and Mortar. The expenses involved in getting a space, paying monthly rent, taxes, utility bills, the salary of your staff are greatly reduced.
· When you shift to an online business, you are no longer restricted by the limited number of service hours. You now have the freedom to operate your business 24/7 and allow your customers to shop as per their convenience.
· You become accessible to a large percentage of people and your brand starts gaining recognition.
· Your customer base is not confined to a certain street or city residents. Anyone having an Internet connection can access your services. Geographical boundaries stop being business boundaries.
· Shifting business online allows you to have a presence on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This, in turn, allows you to promote and market your products or services to a greater audience. It also helps in building a brand image of your site.
· Another benefit of moving your business online is the convenience of tracking the growth, gaining better insights in customer behavior, and better decision-making processes.
How to move?
1. Make a website
When you think of shifting your business online, the first and foremost step is to create a website. Creating a website is quite easy nowadays with the Internet at your disposal and various tools such as Wix and WordPress. If, however, you seem hesitant about designing a website, opt for simple website design and upgrade it later as your business grows. Make sure that your website is attractive and informative. It must cover complete details about your business such as what is available, how are your products better than others or why should your service be preferred over the other contemporaries, etc. Try to design a user-friendly website that provides ease to your customers in terms of navigation and comprehension.
Once the website launch is done, you can start offering your products and services online. For this, you need to integrate a payment gateway for safe online transactions. This option is indispensable if you want to attract customers and sell your products or services using your website. Providing multiple payment options such as card, upi, PayPal, cash on delivery, or mobile wallets such as Google Pay provide convenience to your customers, elevating their experience.
3. Offline operations
No matter how much you digitize, there are various operations that can only be conducted offline. Having limited staff help with that keeps the entire process running seamlessly on both ends. Further, having a few operations offline also relieves pressure of having to constantly upgrade cyber-security measures and important data can be backed up effectively.
4. Social media traffic
Online businesses demand having a viable digital presence. Depending upon your business relevancy, you can create profiles on social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. With many people active on these social media platforms, browsing and shopping from online sites is a rising trend. You can leverage these platforms to reach a wider audience. Actively posting and updating your business’ profiles with the latest products, running offers and discounts, loyalty programmes for members, etc. can ensure better visibility and reach.
5. Email ID
Once a business is moved online, it is a must to share your official email id on the website. Having an official email id makes you accessible for customers to reach in case of any query regarding a purchase or a prospective order. This also means that any email that you receive must be responded quickly with the required information. You can also use this id to share your upcoming offers or services available on your site.
6. Customer Relationship Management
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is the go-to platform for online businesses. CRM works brilliantly by keeping a record of customer information, their past shopping trend, providing insight for possible business avenues, analysis of business performance in a certain period, etc. It offers insightful marketing ideas for business expansion. You can make use of CRM to analyse your business growth trends.
7. Employee tracking devices
As business moves online, work from home is an uprising trend among most employers. In such a scenario, it becomes difficult to monitor the performance of employees and ensure higher efficiency.
Making use of employee tracking devices proves useful in keeping a check on the performance of employees.
Even though this may seem a gigantic task, it is quite easy once you start implementing it. Furthermore, it is giving you an opportunity to sustain your business during a crisis. This itself is a motive enough to consider moving your business online, if you haven’t done so till now.