There’s a myriad of things to learn in the world of e-commerce, especially when taking your online business to the next level. And like any other person, we tend to ask ourselves the most common question…’why?’; when it’s time to invest. In our series ‘Demystifying E-commerce’ we will help you to answer those mind boggling questions about e-commerce, how you can use an e-commerce strategy to grow your business and how you too can move your business online.
In the previous article we focused on investing in an e-commerce strategy, you can read it here.
This article will explore the importance of taking your business online and help you decide whether to take your business online partially or completely.
Why is it important for businesses to take their businesses online – fully or partially?
In the digital age it is important for your business to have an online presence, whether through social media or an eCommerce platform. However, having an online presence simply means being visible online to your target audience, not just being able to conduct online transactions.
Here’s why it is important to take your business into the online space:
- Ease of contact
You may be wondering what is meant by ease of contact…having your business online allows for your current and potential customers to easily find information about your company. This also allows them to communicate with you, whether it be by a chatbot, telephone, email, and in the case of social media, a direct message.
- Ease of showcasing your catalog
Gone are the days when customers would be eager to visit a storefront just to search for an item they are interested in purchasing or a service they wish to access . Customers are now searching online for the goods and or the service. Taking your business online allows for you to have a competitive edge by providing customers with a catalog of what you have to offer, without having to be physically present for every conversation.
- Ease of building relationships
As foreign as it may sound, moving your business online gives your brand personality. Current shoppers like to have a relationship with the companies they conduct business with and having your business online provides that opportunity. And building relationships are important to sustain an online presence.
Three critical steps to take your business online
- Creating an offline customer journey
A critical step in taking your business online is creating an offline customer journey that will allow for easy replication to an online journey.
Like a physical store, showcases/previews, signage and aesthetics are as important for an online store; so crafting the customer journey for an offline store provides somewhat of a rubric for your online store.
In taking your business online it is important to invest in advertising as you would for an offline business. Online advertisements will help to generate traffic and leads to your online platform.
- Easy navigation and welcoming policies
No customer likes a store decorated with confusion and organised with chaos. When taking your business online it is critical to make navigating your online platform simple and easy to understand for every visitor. And just as you would organize your racks and aisle based on category, product, colour, size etcetera; that approach must be taken with your online business. Anyone visiting your platform should be able to filter through your goods or services by any of the characteristics listed above or those suitable for your business.
As a business owner it is critical to understand the importance of taking your business online, whether partially or in its entirety and some critical steps that must be considered when making this transition/decision.