Having an online presence has long been an important extension for businesses. But when brick and mortar businesses face a crisis, moving online can be a critical lifeline.
- Moving your business online allows you to continue providing products and services to customers when faced with disruption.
- Having an online presence is crucial to branding and maintaining a competitive edge.
- Brick and mortar businesses need to implement a comprehensive strategy in order to make the transition to online.
However, businesses that have conducted all of their operations offline can struggle to make the shift. To continue to make profit and compete with competitors, small businesses need to create effective strategies for moving their business online.
Learn about the benefits of moving your business online while taking actionable steps to becoming an excellent online company.
Why You Should Make the Shift
In this current environment, having an online component is a requirement rather than a nice bonus. With search engines such as Google putting more emphasis on local search, not having a functionable website and online profiles can cause you to miss out on potential customers. Being online also connects you with your customers, allowing you to keep them in the loop about business developments and offerings.
Whether your business has been placed on hold for remodeling or an emergency or you are making a permanent shift, your customers appreciate having an avenue to reach out and stay updated. Even if you can’t move all of your operations online, social media profiles and a website can make a huge difference in branding.
Other important advantages of moving your business online include:
- Getting ahead of your competitors
- Having an alternate means of selling products and services
- Building your brand and generating awareness Now that you know the whys, we can move into the hows of moving your business online.
3 Steps Towards Forming Your Online Business
Analyze Your Business
To create your strategy for moving to an online business, you need to consider your business needs, budget, and the market you are in. Ask the following question:
What Does Being Online Look Like For My Business Type?
The process of moving online for a retail store is different for a bar while there are benefits for both.
A retail store might find value in adding an ecommerce element or becoming a full on ecommerce site. For a bar, legal restrictions make selling alcohol online difficult. Instead, bars can use online extensions of their business to promote coupons, deals, events, or keep in touch with frequent customers.
Depending on your budget and needs, you may need to get creative with the ways you make your products and services viable for a digital environment. If you have a physical pilates studio, for example, consider using teleconferencing technology to teach online and offering subscriptions.
Revamp or Create Your Website
Once you have evaluated your business and what it would take to move online, it’s time to work on the focal point of your new online business – your site!
If you already have an older website and need to revamp it or are getting one for the first time, your site should reflect your brand in both design and content.
When getting your site up and running, focus on making your site functional, secure and simple to use while offering solid content and making sure your products and services are accessible in their new digital form.
There should be methods for customers to easily contact your business and make secure payments and purchases if needed.
Spread the Word
Finally, you need to make your audience aware of your completed online transition! Whether it is through social media, press releases, influencers, or email marketing, get the word out!
Transitioning to an online business is just the beginning. Even when a current crisis has passed, maintaining your online presence and staying competitive will continue to help your business provide excellent service and strive for success.