Pre pandemic not everyone needed to be online, However, it is vital for stores now to have an online presence as there has been visible growth of new customers navigating the online space. The pandemic opened up a new market of middle-aged consumers who had never shopped online before. Moving your business online can be an effective strategy for continuing to drive revenue for your business during the pandemic. It can also open the doors to new opportunities in terms of creating a permanent revenue stream once the pandemic is over.
Uncertainty of not knowing what will happen is one of the challenges many businesses face when taking their store online. There is no correct formula when making this move because what works for one business may not work for another. However, here are important tips to keep in mind to ensure a successful shift to the online world:
1. Get the basics right – build an eye-catching and user-friendly website
Your website is the most vital part of going online; it’s a way to build your brand and establish credibility thus making it critical to invest time and money in improving its curb appeal. You have a few alternatives when it comes to website design. You can design a custom website from the ground up if you have a web developer on your team. In terms of functionality, creating your own website provides a lot of freedom. However, it can also be time-consuming and expensive. Another option businesses can opt for is a website builder with customizable templates or drag-and-drop design features like Squarespace or Wix. This is a great alternative to get a functional, well-designed website—without the extra time, budget, or hassle.
2. Look out for a business coach – you need one (and here’s why)
Business coaching is a valuable service for businesses of any size, and it's especially effective for new companies that are just getting started. As business coaching involves regular communication between the coach and the client, it allows you to stay on track toward reaching your goals. A good business coach will also constantly help you refine your vision for your company as it continues to grow and change over time, helping you keep up with industry trends and best practices.
“I got myself a fantastic business coach and it was a gamechanger. It was something I’ve never done before. Getting a business coach gave us a definite gameplan, opened us to a bigger network of amazing people and really helped us grow our business.”
— Lisa Allen, Founder of Freez Clothing
3. Experiment with different digital channels
With so many businesses competing for attention, it is increasingly difficult to stay ahead. As a result, if you want to shift your business online successfully, you will need to locate, connect with, and sell to your target audience. This is where digital marketing channels come into play. Many businesses have been completely relying on Facebook ads, but this is changing, so it is critical to diversify your marketing sources. You need to do a little bit of everything, whether it is email marketing, Instagram, or Tik Tok, constantly roll out content to keep your audience engaged across platforms.
“I don’t think there’s a proven formula that works. It’s just a matter of trial and error. There’s not a moment that you can sit back and go “wow, that’s working”. It might work today, but tomorrow it might not.”
— Lisa Allen, Founder of Freez Clothing
If you're just getting started, it can be hard to know where to begin. There are so many things to learn and master when it comes to starting a business online. Here are some of Lisa's best tips for beginning your journey as an ecommerce entrepreneur:
- Research your product, find out what’s going to make your brand stand out from the crowd. Do not simply replicate someone else’s business plan.
- Price for value, not for cost. You could save money by underpricing your competitors, but the most profitable strategy is to find the sweet spot between what customers will pay and what it costs to produce and deliver your products.
- Make sure you have a trustworthy supplier who will prioritize your business. Once you find the right fit, ensure you continue to have a great relationship with them.
- And most importantly, find the right people who will fit in to your team and business.
For many businesses, the transition to selling your products offline to online can be simple. For other businesses, the transition will not be so black and white —they will need to get a little creative. It’s important to always be ready to adapt to changes in the marketplace to continue thriving and Freez Clothing continues to see incredible growth because the brand does just that.