Taking Your Business Online
Taking a business online has never been so easy, and yet, it’s still a challenge to run an online business successfully. What does it take for small businesses to thrive online?
Have a point of view and unique product offering
Commodity businesses such as books and electronics were the first to see e-commerce really squeeze out the traditional retailers. If you want to buy a copy of the latest bestseller, then purchasing from an e-commerce giant like Amazon is a clear choice even if there is a shop down the street that sells the same item. Amazon may be able to deliver it to your door before you have time to go to the store.
The more difficult industries for Amazon and others to compete in are those with high degrees of differentiation and low degrees of uniformity. Your offering must stand out and be special or your business is unlikely to get off the ground. This maxim is true for both e-commerce and traditional retailers.
Logistics are key
Consumer expectations today are heavily influenced by companies such as Apple, Amazon, and Uber. Consumers want products and experiences that are intuitive, operate smoothly, and arrive virtually on-demand. Once customers take the leap and buy from your store, restaurant or even a dry cleaner, it’s important you don’t lose their trust with a bad delivery experience. Items need to arrive in perfect condition, quickly, and nicely packaged. It is no longer enough to just offer the product, whether you are a large or small business, the consumer expects a lot from the start to finish of their purchase experience.
Embrace the omnichannel
Your brand is your brand, wherever customers experience it. Cultivating a brand identity is critical for a small business. Whatever the client sees or experiences becomes your brand. That means your site, app, social media, and in-store aesthetic should be consistent. A customer should immediately recognise the look and feel of your website, it builds recognition and repeat rate.
Always be on their minds
There are more ways than ever to be in touch with your customers. Social media is an essential communication tool for a company to engage with customers on a regular basis, and so is email. For brick-and-mortar stores, an online presence is also a way to cross-promote.
See what else is out there – and use it
As a result of technology, services that were once only available to multinational companies with millions of dollars in revenue are now only an app away for small businesses. Small businesses shouldn’t shy away from using these types of services to grow their digital footprint.
Is your business effectively positioning itself through its online presence?
Adapted from an article by Dan Reich, Forbes.com