Online shopping continues to grow, with no signs of slowing down.
There are several comprehensive steps that you’ll need to follow in order to successfully transition your brick-and-mortar business into one that operates online. Modern small business owners are usually subject to shifting conditions as well as changes in consumer expectations and the demand curve.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen the limits of traditional business activity and the obstacles that they face. Also, transitioning to an online business will help you to keep up with changing consumer demand. So keep on reading and we’ll take you through the top tips for transitioning to an online business that you need to know about.
1. Build Your Business Website
Creating your business website is one of the very first steps that you need to take when you move your physical business online. Organizational sites are a central point of information and communication for online companies.
Having a clear, well-designed, user-friendly website will allow you to make a good first impression with your online customers. Make sure that you are constantly auditing your site for logical mistakes, misspellings, and incorrect information. You should also check to see if you have the basics for your small business website to ensure you gain proper engagement with your customers.
Transitioning your business online may mean different things for different styles of business. For traditional brick and mortar retail business, it may mean building an eCommerce website that allows for ordering and payment of physical products while for service providers it could mean having an online booking form. Or maybe it is simply updating all of your service offering pages in lieu of having a salesperson meeting clients face to face.
In order to make sure that it’s of professional quality, you might want to think about outsourcing the development of your website to a professional web design agency. In addition to designing your company’s site, these agencies can also help you navigate the best cloud or decentralized web hosting services to run the website along with building clear calls to action to have customers engage with your site.
2. Find Profitable Products To Sell
Before you can officially open your online business, you’re going to need to identify more profitable products that you can sell. For new eCommerce business owners, one of the best ways to find and distribute products is via dropshipping. For existing businesses, you’ll want to go through your products and decide which items make sense to sell online.
While you transition your business to the internet, you can expand your product offering and, thus, your customer base. With a dropshipping model, you can find profitable, high-quality items for your online store in a matter of minutes.
Dropshipping is when a store doesn’t actually keep its products in stock. Instead, you buy the item from a third-party seller and then they ship it directly to the customer. With this model, you never have to handle the product directly.
With dropshipping, you won’t need to own or stock inventory. Instead, you buy your inventory as needed from a manufacturer or wholesaler in order to fulfill orders. You may be able to set up that relationship with your existing suppliers as you won’t need to carry products in-store if you are only offering items online.
Eventually, you’ll be able to automate your dropshipping process. This will allow you to scale your business, set competitive prices, and personalize product offerings. Building an eCommerce specific website using a platform like Shopify or WooCommerce will help this automation process.
3. Grow Your Digital Audience
After you successfully source your products for your new online business, it’s important that you look for ways to grow your new digital audience.
Even if you have a loyal customer following for your current physical store, you’ll need to be constantly searching for new ways to expand and grow your digital customers.
As an online business, you no longer have geographic limits. This means that you can serve new customers all over the world.
Harnessing the power of SEO (search engine optimization) can benefit you greatly. With SEO, you utilize reliable and affordable marketing strategies to rank higher on search engines, like Google.
You can also make use of social media, blog posts, video content, and online ads. All of this will help you target your main demographic and get your products in front of the right eyes.
It’s best to start small with online marketing and figure out what works and doesn’t work as you continue to expand.
4. Identify Payment Processing Solutions
After you’ve come up with a business plan for your online business, it’s crucial that you figure out your payment processing solutions. Without a good payment processor at your disposal, you won’t be able to process business transactions through your platform.
Many eCommerce business owners will make use of secure payment gateways in order to process digital transactions. These solutions let online shoppers use the payment method of their own choosing. Shopify, PayPal, and Stripe are all solutions worth looking into.
At the same time, a secure payment gateway will let your customers know that their information is being kept safe.
5. Make Your Digital Business Fit
After you’ve built and planned your online business, you’ll have to make sure that your online business will fit with your current one. Even with a profitable and well-organized online business, you’ll still have to figure out what to do with your offline organizational structure.
Depending on how successful your online venture is, you may decide to make your temporary eCommerce store a permanent addition to your business. When you utilize this strategy, you essentially move your entire business into online, eCommerce based operations with the benefit of an in-person retail experience for customers who prefer to shop in that manner.
Just make sure that you have enough time and resources to give your new online business the attention it deserves.
The Importance of Knowing How to Transition to an Online Business
Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a better understanding of how to transition to an online business. Making this transition will allow you to cut costs and become more efficient. Plus, you can reach a wider audience and truly scale your business.
Do you need help getting your online business off the ground? If so, then contact us today and see what we can do for you!