These days many businesses are moving away from in-person sales and into an online environment that is more cost effective and can reach a broader range of customers and clients. If you’re considering doing this in your own business, there are many points you will need to consider. Read on to learn about some of them.
Establish a Platform
Your first task in moving online is to establish a solid online platform. You’ll need to think about improving your website for one thing. Since most of your sales will be directed through your site, it should be easy to navigate and fully secure. Customers should be able to find what they need and order it in just a few clicks.
You’ll also have to pay attention to how you store your data. Perhaps you’re using an in-house network at the moment. In that case, cloud migration is in your future because your files will need to be accessible to you and your employees from wherever you work. Choose a cloud platform that is secure and that offers the features and space you need.
Shift Your Employees
As you shift your business online, you must also think about shifting your employees online. Talk to them about this early so that they can get used to the idea. Then set up a way for everyone to communicate easily. A program like Slack allows for efficient teamwork, and a document sharing system helps with shared projects. Make sure that your employees know how to use these tools as well as video conferencing software. Set up frequent meetings to smooth out the transition.
Reach Out to Customers
This shift will also involve your customers. Let them know in plenty of time that your business will be moving online, and listen to their comments. If some have concerns, you might print up a how-to sheet with instructions about searching and ordering from your website. Assure customers that service will remain high quality and that you’ll always be there to answer questions and provide assistance. You might even offer a special promotion or discount to encourage customer loyalty.
Adjust Your Marketing
With a move online, you’ll have to market in new ways. Your website will take a central role, but social media pages will also become more important. Use these to provide updates to your customers, letting them track the progress of your move and assuring them that you are open for business. Start announcing your online move well before the scheduled date. You might take out ads in your local newspaper or on the radio explaining what you are doing and why and telling your customers how they can continue shopping with you. This will help avoid confusion and frustration.
If you have an email list or a mailing list, make good use of it. Send emails or postcards echoing social media and advertising messages, and include coupons to boost sales. Now might also be the right time to set up an email newsletter. This will keep your business in front of your customers right in their in-box, and you can use your newsletter to provide instructions, fun facts and promotions. Reaching out to your customers is important right now, so make sure they remember your presence even though it will be online.
Change Your Mindset
Finally, as you change your business, you will also have to change your mindset. You’re probably used to interacting with customers and employees face-to-face. Now, though, you’ll have to update your communications skills and your routines to keep your company operating smoothly. You must be more organized and committed than ever so that your business can continue to succeed.
Shifting your business online won’t be easy, and it will take some time and effort. But if you set up the right platforms, work closely with employees and customers, adjust your marketing and change your mindset, you can make the move a success and help your business flourish.