Tips You Can Follow to Move Your Offline Business Online
March 23rd 2019 at 12:27pm Published by sharpshooteradmin
Change is the only thing constant in this universe. As humans, our ability to change what we do defines us and separates us from going towards failure. The formula to success is different for every change, and what worked for you or your ancestors in the past wouldn’t work for you in the present. Running a business is all about embracing change in its purest form and making sure that you can implement these changes for the cumulative growth of your brand and your business.
The concept of embracing change is all too true for most businesses. Entrepreneurs often enter a deadly comfort zone and do not put in their efforts to step out of that comfort zone. Being in that comfort zone has its repercussions and can put you under extreme pressure.
If you wait for the situation around you to change, then you are already too late and need to speed up the process. The process of change is all about identifying patterns beforehand and grabbing the spotlight when it matters most. The best time to realize the need for change is before it becomes necessary.
Hence, if you want to move your business online, you should try to do that before your customers ask you or want you to move online. By the time your customers need you to move online, you will have already lost them.
Moving your business to the online world is a step that you will eventually have to take for success. We understand that you must have become accustomed to selling in the offline world, but there eventually will come a time when you might have to move online. Many of your competitors might already be online, which is why you might be losing out on possible selling avenues by not being present in the online market.
Just like Rome wasn’t built within a day, your online business would also not be built in a day. You would have to invest a lot of time and effort in your online business, after which you can move on to the world of online selling.
Knowing that you might be a bit short on ideas to implement for moving online, here we mention some tips that can help you in selling your goods online. Follow these tips to move your business online in the best manner possible.
Polish Your Website
Before you head online, you need to invest your time on your website. Your website will act as your store and storefront in the online world. Just like you were particular about details with your store location and front, you would also have to be particular about details here as well. The website is going to form an impression in the eyes of your viewers, which is why you should be particular about the impression that you give to your customers.
Before you move to the online world, you should make sure to polish your website. By polishing your website we mean:
- Correcting all typos, misspellings and design flaws. Everything about your website should be flawless. The last thing you want is for your customers to identify an error in the content that you have on your website. Such a glaring error can destroy your repo and lead to a plethora of problems.
- You should have a responsive web design. The design for your website should work across all devices seamlessly. Gone are the days when customers would just access your website through their desktop. Now, customers want the best experience from the comforts of whichever device is more accessible to them in the time being. You should identify the needs of your customers and should cater to them accordingly as part of your website design. The website should work across all platforms, and should also have an interactive design or these platforms. The customer UI for mobile devices should be different from the UI for desktop devices so that customers can find and open the page they are looking for easily.
- It is also necessary that you incorporate your brand image within the website design you’re opting for. Some brands go for a completely different brand image online, which can indirectly impact their marketing strategy. If you have associated your brand with the color red in the eyes of your customers and have positioned it accordingly, then there is no need for you to change the color scheme in your online design. The key aspects of the brand image should be the same as they are with your offline selling and marketing strategy. You should try to keep the similarities same because that is how you would extract the most benefit.
Your website design is a key factor in your overall website design, which is why you should look to ace this strategy for the best results.
Don’t Reveal Website Soon
A proper website where you plan to sell goods will take some time before it can be rolled out on the internet accurately. During the developmental stage, the website might be online, but you should keep your customers away from the website so that no negative impressions are formed.
With websites, we can tell that the first impression almost always happens to be the last one. Not many people take the time to visit a website a second time if they were disappointed during their first visit. Customers can easily get dissatisfied with poor loading times and also poor graphics online. If your website has any of the above, then you too would suffer at the hands of poor customer reaction as well. You should make sure that you don’t reveal your website until all work has been done on it. If you haven’t yet done all the work on your website, it is best to take some time and let the natural processes happen over time. There is no sense in revealing your online website if you don’t think it is ready.
You might be rushing to go online as a brand, but let us warn you that taking a couple of days or even a week more before going online is better than risking poor consumer response. You should only take the walk to the online world, once you’re assured that the website design is perfect and that the website can handle the traffic coming your way.
Keep It Simple
Well, we have all have dreams, and it is okay to wish or dream something for your website or brand as well, but we believe one should wish what they can get. Don’t try to overwhelm yourself or your resources trying to get the most out of the entire experience.
You cannot simply go from having no online presence one day to having a full-blown social media campaign with interactive displays and content on your website the next day. Since the whole process transpires one step at a time, you need to be careful with the steps that you take.
Before taking the jump towards selling on your online page, you should try to see how the best design can be created, and what themes match your style. Take a step-by-step approach and make sure that you have the right answers to your questions.
Also, do not just jump to a complex design or theme straightaway. We think you should first go for a simple design, and should only go to a complex design later when you are sure that the simple design has lived its due part. Remember that too many colors and lit fonts can make your website mundane or hard to look at. What you should instead look for is the best rustic and simple look.
Going to the online world is not a onetime effort or responsibility that you won’t have to look after on a routine basis. Instead, we cannot delve into how important it is for you to maintain your website flawlessly. Your website should be maintained without any flaws because even the slightest flaw can damage your reputation and lead to a negative rapport.
Once you’ve set your website, you should make sure that all safety protocols are duly added and everything is maintained on time. To make your customers trust you and your website, you should offer them the right security features.
The payment process is an important part of getting customer trust online. You cannot seriously expect your customers to trust you, until or unless you are giving them the trust they want to buy from you. If you want to sell online, you should look after three things in particular: The item image you go for, the description for that image and the payment processes.
If you work with reputable payment processors that have a proven track record for giving customers what they are looking for, you will experience better results. Customers will want to have safety with their financial transactions online, and you should realize this need to give them exactly what they are looking for.
Don’t Fight Big Guys
It is easy to get blown away with excitement after you first start your online journey. You are all excited about the prospects that await you, and just want to get your journey started with, without any further delays. While it is okay to make sure that delays are limited and everything goes smoothly, we believe that things take a turn for the worst, when you try to go fit the big guys in your excitement or haste.
The big players like Amazon and eBay have been in the market for quite some time now, which is why they have significant experience with them. You cannot seriously look to rival them after first starting. Well, you can outdo Amazon or eBay when it comes to the niche you operate in, but you need to realize that the ultimate cards would always be played by the big players. The big players have plenty of experience in the field and know just what they need to do to cement their place further. You should also look to take your progress in a limited manner right now. Rather than targeting the big guys, you should try to cement your position in the industry.
Keep the Rates Aligned
The latest trending term for brands that have a brick and mortar and an online presence is ‘bricks and clicks’. The term finds inspirations from the phrase brick and mortar, with the latter part being substituted with clicks, which is the equivalent of shopping online.
If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you should make sure that the rates for your shop are properly aligned and that you aren’t charging different rates across multiple establishments. You would preferably want your clients to pay the same rate in both of your selling centers; online and offline.
Some brands offer different rates online and different rates offline. This isn’t the right policy to follow, as wild discrepancies in the selling pattern can turn your customers off. You should make sure that your online merchandise and rates are kept in check and updated, and that your customers get the right rates on both platforms.
Develop a Return and Refund Strategy
Once you go online, you will have to think and consider strategies for simple processes such as return or refund. If your customer wants to return a good that they just purchased, how do they do so? Without a proper return and refund strategy, your customers will not return the goods that they purchased from you. You need to make prior adjustments for your customers and should have a comprehensive return and refund strategy ready.
You can also expect the online world to collide with the physical world in this regard. If someone wants to return a good for whatever reason, while keeping within your prior sales agreement, then they can do so by heading to your physical sales outlet. Both the online and offline world help each other out for the best results here.
Prepare a Budget
While going online requires a lot of physical and mental effort, we believe that generating funds is also one of the most important factors that should be considered here. Your budget will dictate your exploits on the online world, for which you must have the required funds available.
Most entrepreneurs don’t think that much about creating a budget for their move online, but we believe that special considerations should be taken as far as the budget is concerned when you move online.
These special considerations include:
- You will need to hire the services of a professional website design service if you want to move online and create the perfect selling space. A good website design company with better services would charge you more as far as services are concerned. This is why you need to be careful, and should make sure that you have funds allocated for the cost.
- Once you go online, you will need more working capital to handle the costs of online web maintenance and inventory management. Online orders will also be managed, and you will have to improve your inventory management for better services.
- Moving online also requires a lot of marketing. You should properly advertise your shift to the online market so that all of your customers know that you are present online as well now. If your customers aren’t aware of your online presence, they will not head to you for buying the goods and services they want. The marketing you do online will cost you a significant investment as well.
Hence, you must create a budget for yourself before you move online. Transitioning your brand to the online world is all about innovating and creating new beginnings, which is why you should have a budget ready with you.
Now, if you don’t have the right funds with you, you can get de-motivated from moving online altogether. You might feel that the expense is a tad too much for the business currently and is something that you can live without. However, we believe that no business should say no to innovation.
So, what do you do if you want to move online and don’t have the required funds available with you at the right time? What you can do over here is to go for small business funding because these funding come with a lot of feasibility for the customers. Small business funding from private funders online happen to be quite popular with businesses because they have flexible repayment terms and can be availed with poor credit as well.
Online funders understand your situation and make sure that you are given funding option that you can conveniently pay back to the funding individual or company.
Banks aren’t the preferred choice for businesses when it comes to external finance today. Banks have only themselves to blame for this perception because they have set strict qualification criteria for businesses looking to get the desired funding for your brand.
Don’t Undersell Yourself
You have to be very clever with the pricing strategy that you follow online. Most brands use penetrative pricing techniques when they first move online to attract customers. We don’t believe this is a good strategy, as you can only attract genuine customers by selling your products at the right price.
Brands that undersell themselves when they first go online experience customer withdrawal and shock, when they bring their prices back to break even or cost plus profit methods. If you have conditioned your customer base to accept lower prices, they will have a hard time coming to terms with an increase in pricing.
Hence what we recommend is to be consistent with the pricing strategy that you follow. If you want to cut down on your profits online, select a price that should remain constant in the long haul.
Explore Social Media
Once you move online, social media is all yours to explore. Let us tell you that exploring social media is one of the best things you can do while online. There is just so much to explore with social media. You can try different images and styles on Instagram, or can also go for trendy looks on Snapchat. Facebook, which was the first of all social media, is now considered as a more formal medium with a broader audience, so your content strategy should be formal and consistent here.
Instagram and Snapchat are when you can be a bit funky or trendy. Try to show your manufacturing processes in a new light and make the most out of the experience.
Keep Your Eye on the ROI
ROI or return on investment is one of the best metrics to follow for tracking your social media success. Once you start selling on social media, you need to make sure that you track your Return on Investment to know just how that investment went.
For instance, if you invest some dollars into a Facebook ad campaign, make sure that you follow up on the amount invested to see how it weighs against the results. You would want to carry on with processes that happen to have a seemingly better ROI.
Selling in the online world can either be a daunting or exciting prospect. It can be daunting if you fail to realize the opportunities at hand and it can be exciting if you jump to the challenge and explore the opportunities to connect with your target market.
Once you go online there is no coming back, so make sure that you compliment your online store with your retail outlets so that both your selling spaces are merged for the best results.