Moving your brick and mortar business to the internet can be challenging. If you don’t know enough about how to transition, you’ll have headaches figuring out what’s possible and what isn’t, how to do things, etc.
Because of the COVID-19 crisis, a lot of business owners who run a physical shop ar forced into this transition. They gained a deeper understanding of how crucial the internet is, and how much potential it brings.
This is something that they had an inkling before, but because there was no trigger or they had no real and glaring reason to jump online, they parked the thought of transitioning to the internet while leaving the idea to rot.
Now that the COVID-19 has come, they are forced to take out the idea, reflect on it, and truly take action because they see the obvious benefits. If you’re wondering how the internet can help you move your business online, then read this guide.
Crucial points to consider when running your business online
- Have a buyer persona. Put together all the information you acquired about your ideal customers to create a buyer persona. Having one is crucial for creating an effective marketing plan and even designing products.
By looking at the traits of your buyer persona, it helps you weed out the marketing materials, content topics, and methods that you shouldn’t be using.
- Invest in marketing. Make no mistake; the internet is loaded with opportunities for people who want to make a lot of money. However, the competition is also fierce — very fierce.
Don’t take marketing lightly. Invest in it. Pour your money into it if you can.
Effective marketing can make or break your success online.
- Provide tons of value upfront. When you provide value upfront, your customers get a glimpse of how reliable and worthy you are of their time and money, which ultimately makes it easier for them to buy your products.
To provide upfront value, share helpful content, discounts, freebies, etc. Figure out what’s important to your audience then offer it to them.
How the internet is helping store owners move online
With the help of all the resources the internet has to offer, moving your physical store to the internet can be streamlined. Here’s what the internet offers to help you transition smoothly.
Access to a wide variety of tools
The internet has a chock-full of tools to help you move and run your store effectively. It has tools for product integration, accounting, community management, etc. What’s more, a lot of these tools are free. Move your brick and mortar business online efficiently by using the myriad of tools the internet offers.
Bonus tip: Before buying or opting for a paid subscription on any tool, do a quick Google search first and look for discount coupons. A lot of online services offer discount coupons to their customers, you just need to find them.
Instead of doing the same tasks repeatedly, use automation to free up time while still getting things done. To complete your tasks, set up your automation workflow once, then leave the platform to keep running the same sequence repeatedly based on triggers.
Here’s an example automation workflow from Omnisend that’s used for abandoned cart recoveries.
Avoid manually sending emails to people who abandoned their virtual carts. The automation workflow can do it for you, 24/7. Other tasks you can automate when running your store online are order fulfillment, generating reports, customers support, scheduling and publishing your social media content, etc.
Bonus tip: Be sure to track your results. Automation tools often have data and analytics features you can review to get a better glimpse of the health of your online business.
Access to bigger pools of talent
Hire a virtual freelancer to help you move your physical business online.
There are countless experienced, competent, and trustworthy freelancers on job posting sites.
For example, if you don’t have a website yet, then hire a web developer to create your site so you can’t forget about the hassle of having to learn web development.
Fiverr is a good place to start.
They have thousands of freelance web developers.
Also, Fiverr doesn’t just house freelancers that focus on web development.
There are other skillsets you can choose from that you’ll find useful when moving your business online.
With competent freelancers helping your move your physical business online, the whole process becomes a lot easier.
Bonus tip: Give very clear instructions to your freelancers. Their perception of what you need and how you want things done can be very different from what you have in mind. Since you might be working with freelancers from other countries, your difference in cultures can cause a big disconnect between both of your perspectives.
Access to thousands of prospective customers
“Be where your customers are.”
Seasoned marketers and business owners take that statement to heart.
Not only does it makes sense, but it’s also a sound guiding principle to anchor upon when choosing which platforms you ought to invest your marketing efforts on.
Not what you’re moving your business online, you are truly staying where your customers are since we know that just about anyone spends loads of time on the internet.
Because of the internet, geographical boundaries have now been broken.
If you’ve only been serving the people within your local area, you now have the opportunity to expand your reach worldwide, gaining more access to a wider customer base.
For example, if you’re into selling baby and kids apparel, you can target thousands of people who are following baby-related pages.
The results on the screenshot are just a glimpse of the number of people you can target. The figures above are based on one search query only.
If you typed in other search terms, you’d get even more results.
This highlights how massive the potential is for businesses to grow online.
Bonus tip: Don’t be all over the internet. If you create business pages on all the platforms you can get your hands on, you won’t be able to manage them effectively. Choose your top 2 – 3 channels and invest your time establishing your authority on these platforms.
What struggles have you been facing on your transition?
Are you stuck somewhere?
If you have questions, ideas, or even suggestions that you’d like to share, add them in the comments section below. Cheers!