The effects of the COVID-19 crisis has opened the eyes of brick-and-mortar business owners.
Back in the day, having an online presence is just a side dish for generating foot traffic and revenue to their physical shop.
Because the COVID-19 led people into staying at home for fear of getting infected, the brick-and-mortar stores are getting very little foot traffic and are reeling in pain.
Are you experiencing the same issues right now?
Are there only a handful of people walking into your store to buy from you?
If you want to keep your business afloat, you need to adapt to the times and transition your physical business online so you can target more customers.
To move your physical store to the internet seamlessly and painlessly,
Here are some useful tips for Brick-And-Mortar Business
1. Use a reliable e-commerce platform
Not all e-commerce platforms are created equal.
Some have abysmal monthly subscription fees, while others will cost you an arm and a leg.
However, don’t choose your e-commerce platform based on price alone. This is a common mistake made by entrepreneurs who are new to the online scene.
Instead, carefully study and write your current needs as a business as well as the possible features you’ll need once you scale your operations.
From there, look for a platform that covers all of the needs in your list and check the reviews of the platforms you shortlisted.
What to look for in an e-commerce platform?
If you’re not sure what to look for, be mindful of these points (aside from its price) when choosing your e-commerce platform.
- Easy to set up and navigate
Is it easy to create your online shop? Does the interface make it easy to search and buy your products? Ensure that your shop doesn’t just look good, but it should also be user-friendly.
Even if you’re just a new online store, you want to make sure buyers can find you. An SEO-friendly e-commerce platform will allow you to add your domain name, blog section, and customer reviews section which will help your shoppers find you organically.
Be sure your customers can easily browse and shop using their smartphones. Look for an e-commerce platform that also optimizes for mobile.
- Safe and secure
Look for a platform that supports HTTPS/SSL connection to ensure that your online transactions are safe and secured. Simply look for the lock icon beside the URL.
These are the basic characteristics of an e-commerce platform that your store should have when you move your business online.
2. Automate your business
When you move your physical store online, you will realize that a lot of processes that you manually do, will now also be happening online.
For example: when a customer comes into your store, you take the order, punch it in the register, and then complete the order by packaging and handing it over.
Now that you’re online, everything will also happen online—and some tasks can be quite time-consuming for store owners.
That’s why you should incorporate automation in your business processes so you can do more with what you have.
What can you automate?
When you move online, here are some business processes that you can easily automate.
You can set your purchases to automatically order once your stocks hit a certain number. Purchase order tracking is also much convenient and organized.
Automated inventory management will allow you to properly keep track of all your stocks for your online store.
Many online stores and e-commerce platforms are now incorporating live chat to make customer service more manageable.
For your customers, this improves their buying experience since they can receive answers to their questions whenever they need it.
Scheduling your social media posts and retaining customers through nurture campaigns will be efficient and targeted with marketing automation tools and programs.
One example of using automated nurturing campaigns is through email service providers like MailChimp.
For example, email service providers allow you to easily create and send emails to promote your products to your email subscribers. Just look at MailChimp’s ready-to-send catalog of e-commerce templates.
Incorporating one or more of these automated workflows when moving your business online can help make your business more efficient, convenient, and cost-effective.
Additionally, you won’t have to hire more staff once you automate some of your processes as the tools will already do the work for you. Your current staff can also work remotely since all the tools and processes can be accessed online.
Use business management apps as well that help you automate your workflows, streamline your operations, and increase your productivity.
3. Hire freelancers
If you will have to hire someone for your new online business, freelancers are your best resources.
Freelancers, aka independent contractors, are self-employed individuals who do not commit to a single, long-term employer. This means they can work for several clients or on several projects at the same time.
From accountants to social media managers, you can find a freelancer for most positions needed for business functions.
But why should you hire a freelancer for your online shop?
By nature, freelancers are more cost-effective than a full-time employee. After all, they typically charge by the hour or by day.
If you would only need a few hours of help in a day, or a few days of work in a week, then hiring a freelancer would be an ideal option for you.
Aside from that, freelancers are used to working remotely, so you also won’t have to worry whether they have a laptop and good working space.
Lastly, freelancers are great additions to your business as they are typically already experts in their field, meaning you don’t have to train them that much.
You can leave the work in their hands, making them a valuable part of a team.
As the pandemic currently shapes businesses and workforces, Upwork’s CEO Hayden Brown says that moving forward, the workforce will now include a combination of in-house office staff, full-time remote workers, and freelancers.
Countless online freelance platforms allow you to easily find the right freelancer from anywhere in the world.
Also read: Great Email Marketing
The thought of moving your business online might be daunting. After all, a lot of elements need to be considered to ensure a successful transition.
However, by following the tips we covered, your transition will run smoother and become more efficient for you in the long run.
With an online shop, you experience fewer headaches with automated solutions and the time it takes you to set up shop online is a lot lesser.
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