As COVID-19 reshapes our society, people are increasingly turning to online shopping for their needs and wants. Although the impact of the pandemic has now decreased significantly, the change has not stopped. Many retailers expect online demand to continue to grow throughout 2022 and beyond. A survey by McKinsey found that companies are now three times more likely to do 80% of their customer interactions digitally than before the pandemic.
This trend makes now the perfect time to develop an online presence and stay ahead of the curve. However, transitioning from offline to online business can be challenging, especially for those who are not digitally savvy. Here are 8 important things to consider before you get started.
1. How will you manage your data?
Data is a valuable resource and the foundation of digital transformation. Can give you useful insights about your customers and their behavior, allowing you to make smart business decisions that drive your brand forward.
As you move from an offline business to an online one, the amount of data your brand collects increases dramatically. How you manage this data is very important. First, determine what data is authentic, useful, and accurate. Next, invest in a data science platform or a customer data platform (CDP) to collect and unify all your data in real-time.
2. What you know about your customers
An online business offers an opportunity to review and expand on what you already know about your customers. Consolidating your data in a CDP allows you to develop a 360-degree view of your customers and better understand their behaviors, preferences, patterns, and trends, creating more accurate customer profiles.
To stay ahead of the competition, use AI technology to enhance your data analytics. Machine learning tools can dig deeper into these insights to create effective customer segments that you can target with relevant ads and offers. You can also use machine learning to predict future customer behavior to focus on high-value customers.
3. Advantages of a multi-channel approach
Going digital means your customer acquisition channels will multiply. In addition to your e-commerce site, these will include social media, mobile phones, email, apps, and more. Instead of interacting independently with each channel, today’s customers expect unique channels. The company provides a consistent experience across all channels. Therefore, adopting an omnichannel approach is essential to win over today’s consumers.
Omnichannel marketing is customer-centric. This involves understanding all the channels your customers use to interact with your brand, and when and how they use each. When a potential or existing customer switches between your online and offline business channels, each interaction is taken into account and requires consistent and personalized content to ensure a seamless experience.
4. How will you integrate new technology into your online business?
The transition to an online business can be complicated as new technologies come into the mix. Integrating these new technologies with your existing systems, such as CRM, inventory management, billing, and customer service, will be the main challenge. Executing correctly is critical to generating business results and delivering a great customer experience.
It is essential that you choose suitable systems and solutions for your business and goals. Think about what you need, from a content management system (CMS) to marketing automation tools.
5. The best way to build an e-commerce store
Setting up an online store requires careful planning. There are two main options to consider: a domestic third-party commerce platform or marketplace such as Shopee, or Lazada, or an international one like Amazon, or Alibaba, or build your own website from scratch. Each has its own pros and cons The best way to build an e-commerce store
Third-party e-commerce platforms already have large customer bases, so they can help your brand reach more customers. They are also easy to manage because things like logistics and marketing are often taken care of. By comparison, setting up your own may take more work, but the strengths are greater control, a stronger brand image, and a dominant competitive edge.
6. Your supply chain and logistics approach
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the supply and logistics inefficiencies of many online retailers. They simply aren’t set up to handle the spike in orders associated with the closure of overseas suppliers. They also cannot cope with delivery delays due to increased demand.
To make your business more agile, think carefully about your supply processes. Will you use international suppliers or keep everything local? Will you deliver domestically or abroad? What will your return policy be? Also, consider investing in smart inventory management tools so you can make more accurate demand predictions.
7. How will your customers pay
When you do business online, you will no longer be able to make over the counter payments. Instead, you need to set yourself up to accept online payments through various payment methods such as credit and debit cards, e-wallets, affiliated banks, etc. choose better.
For this, you need a payment gateway and merchant account. Payment gateways facilitate online transactions and allow you to process them securely. Merchant accounts hold and verify payments before sending them to your business account.
To make things easier, some website platforms already have a payment system in place that doesn’t require you to set up a merchant account.
8. Importance of online security
Cybersecurity is one of the most important things to consider in e-commerce. It protects your customers’ private and sensitive data, keeps your funds safe from fraud and financial fraud, and ensures secure payments.
Without a recognizable online security system and a trust badge on your website, customers may be wary of buying from you and look elsewhere. In fact, one study found that 60% of customers don’t make a purchase because there is no credible evidence on a website.
Moving from a brick-and-mortar store to an online business model isn’t easy, but it’s the key to staying ahead and in the game. Careful planning is very important. By considering the factors above, thinking about your overall business strategy, and measuring your approach, you can make a smooth transition.