The consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic have impacted every industry and resulted in the closure of various businesses. Since the situation is slowly getting better, many businesses are now considering shifting their businesses online to survive in these severe and challenging economic conditions.
Online presence is more important than ever, with most shops shut and a drastic change in consumers spending patterns. Since the lockdown, many people started adapting to the new normal and are making online purchases to fulfill their necessities. The pandemic situation acted as a catalyst to bring in this new trend of shopping.
Why do you need to move your business online?
The pandemic situation impacted the businesses resulting in huge losses and even the closure of most of them. The best course of action to survive in this competitive business environment is to start an e-Commerce business.
The following are a few reasons why offline retailers need to consider starting an online business
- Pandemic situation
The traditional retail businesses started diminishing day by day, and the Covid-19 situation almost halted the business operations and impacted them in many ways. Most of the offline businesses and stores are shut and left with no revenue. This is the ideal time for retailers to start an online business because this situation turned out to be a golden opportunity for online sellers with a long term boost to their businesses. Many people still prefer online shopping for almost everything. According to a report from e-Commerce 360 an international business consulting agency, it was evident that online sales increased by 76 per cent during and after the pandemic situation.
- Changing consumer trends
There is a drastic change in the customer’s shopping pattern over the past decade. E-Commerce has taken over the traditional shopping pattern. With the evolving consumer trends in online shopping, you need to keep up with the latest shopping trends to sync with consumers. Changing shopping patterns and customer trends is one of the primary reasons to start an online business.
- Low start-up costs
The internet was made for business, and as a retailer, you need to be aware of this fact. Unlike traditional business, e-Commerce enables you to sell your products and services throughout the world without any limits. The start-up costs of online businesses are low, and there are very few chances of loss or risk. Start-up businesses can opt for e-Commerce as there is nothing to lose, and it is low on budget.
- Easy access to customer
With the evolving online businesses, customers these days mostly prefer online shopping from the comfort of their home, rather than traditional in-store purchases. Online businesses provide an opportunity to the customers to easily access their products on the company’s website and make the purchase anytime from anywhere according to their interest and preferences.
Steps to move your offline business to online
To move your offline business to online, entrepreneurs need to follow specific steps. The steps that are required to set up an online business are as follows:
1. Purchase a suitable domain name
Your brand’s first impression with customers is your domain name. It is considered your digital identity. It is the first step to move your business online. You can search the name of your business through a domain buying platform to purchase a domain name. Before selecting the most suitable domain name for your business to improve the audience’s online experience, you need to identify the target audience you want to attract online.
2. Find out your infrastructure requirements
Everything is automated in the online world. Before setting up an online business, figure out all the requirements of infrastructure components that you will need to set up and run an online business. These components include file storage, databases, queuing system, caching, scalable servers and others.
3. Invest in cloud
Investing in cloud computing is an essential and smartest investment to be made while shifting your business online. Cloud technology is the best technology to build an innovative and flexible business environment online. Cloud service reduces your total ownership cost by reducing liabilities for infrastructure, making your business economically efficient.
4. Create and set up your website
After all the backend operations, setting up a website with a framework that suits your business needs is the next step to be followed to set up a business digitally. This framework will determine the journey of your customers with your brand, products or services.
5. Creative website design
Website design is a crucial factor, which decides how the audience interacts with your brand. Designing a unique and appealing website design will help deliver an enhanced online experience to the audience. Your strategy to provide a better user journey will be elevated by an attractive web design.
6. Set up a payment ecosystem
Providing multiple payment options on your business website is always the best way to go. When the customer arrives at the final stage of purchasing, unsure or unfamiliar payment options may lead the customers to drop off due to these unsure options, or the payment flow takes too long to respond.
7. Create a progressive web app-enabled mobile alternative
In this present era of inter-connectivity, giving a digital presence to your business is a great way for business success. You can build your brand’s accessibility. You can create a progressive web app enabled alternative mobile app which cultivates deeper customer loyalty and continues to give you brand intelligence to enhance user experience.
8. Curate an engaging content
Creating relevant, keyword enriched, and well-articulated content is a vital part of your business success. The digital content of your business should engage your target audience with the right brand message and information.
9. Marketing and SEO planning
Once you create your online presence, the next step is creating brand awareness and visibility. Users are constantly bombarded with information, ads and promotions on the internet to catch their attention. The best way to attract your potential customers is by setting up an effective SEO system to optimize your website discovery. You can also engage the audience through social media amplification, mailers and other online marketing methods.
10. Check tax compliance
The last step in creating an online business is to ensure that you are accounted for all legalities needed to move your business online. You need to follow and ensure that all the online legal rules and regulations are taken care of.
Benefits of an Online Business
Some of the benefits of moving your offline business online are:
- Feasibility and flexibility to operate from anywhere.
- No time boundaries.
- Easy to track the performance.
- Low operating costs.
- Scalable and easy to reach a broad audience group.
Moving your offline business online is a one-time thing. Planning and analysis are required at every level of setting up an online business. First, be clear about what products you want to sell, have a business strategy, understand and identify your target audience, and maintain or update your inventory and warehouse regularly.
Transition in consumer purchase patterns and market conditions leads to an increase in demand with the present unpredictable market condition. Therefore, extending your offline business to online helps you reach new customers and increase your business productivity. With the online presence of your business, you will be able to provide 24/7 services to your customers and develop your content marketing strategy.
This helps you build your brand identity and increase the credibility of your business. With the help of latest technology, it is even more comfortable to switch your offline business online. This leads to improved customer service and reach new heights in business growth.