The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a huge uptick in the number of online businesses. Some businesses have been forced to close their storefronts, and others simply saw the opportunity to make a digital change. Regardless of the reason, more and more businesses are looking to move their products and services online—even as things start opening up.
Thankfully for all of us, the technology we have access to makes it extremely easy to provide your customers an excellent shopping experience all online. It also means you have a ton of options—which is a great thing, but it can also be pretty overwhelming. We can help, though.
How Will You Enter the Market?
First things first, you need to decide how you want to transition into the online marketplace. This will depend on a lot of already established things, like your industry or your products—but your choice will also come down to personal preference.
Do you want your own independent website, or do you want to utilize one of the many online marketplaces out there? If you make handmade products, maybe you could start by opening an Etsy shop. Or, if you bake macarons, you could partner with an established online delivery service like DoorDash. Your best option could be to partner with another online marketplace like Amazon.
Think about what your business has to offer, and the best way to offer it!
Whatever payment service you choose will be the backbone of your online business. You’ll need to make sure it can handle everything you need, and doesn’t offer extra things that you don’t. Make sure you consider the pros and cons of each payment service to figure out which will do what you need! Each one will handle different things, have different fees, etc.
Optimize Your Social Media
Some marketplaces, like Amazon and Etsy, will drive some traffic for you. Others will merely host your products or services. Regardless, you’ll want to use social media to drive traffic and sales. Not only will you need to tell your existing audience that they can now shop with you online, you’ll also want to use social media to engage new customers who might never have heard of your physical storefront!
Whenever you post about your products or services, always give your customers somewhere to go. Link back to your website so people can take action. Social media is also a great place to answer common questions, show behind the scenes content, or share rave reviews from your customers.
Track How Things Are Going
Taking something physical and transitioning it into the online world is daunting—there are a lot of things to figure out, and a lot of new territory to navigate. But there are so many benefits. One of the main pros? Practically everything online is trackable. That means you know exactly what’s working, what’s not, and what you need to change to progress. The insights you’ll have access to will be game-changing.
One of the greatest mistakes you can make when moving your business online is failing to analyze your performance. You can monitor your social content, your marketing efforts, which products are selling the best, how often people click on certain things, and more. Basically, you can make important decisions for your business—all backed by data.
In Need of Some Support?
Birmingham is full of like-minded entrepreneurs navigating the same problems you’re facing now. If you’re interested in joining a network of local business owners, consider joining the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Birmingham chapter. Click here to learn more.