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5 tips to switch to online business  

10 years ago, having a company website used to be trendy, even useful to be located by the customers and have a first interaction.

Nowadays most of the small and medium businesses have at least a basic website or/and one social media profile. They are looking with admiration to the large retailers or media content providers who have built such a developed internet presence.

However, only few of the SMEs have taken the big step and make online business.

They are mostly online shops. What about the rest of the industries? After talking to hundreds of companies from retail and services industries, I realised how much money they lost during the COVID since they were not prepared to switch to online.

The battle is not lost yet. I chose 5 of the most important steps that an established business should make in order to be able to deliver its services online:

  1. Build an authentic digital image

Starting with a professional website updated periodically, and at least two social profiles (Facebook, Linked in), the company should develop its online presence with a written blog and bring valuable customer information.

For instance, an online books seller should publish at least on a weekly basis Top 10 most sold books or news about international authors and new magazines.

On the other hand a gift online retailer, can write about the latest gadgets, international fair trades and fresh ideas about gifts.

People associate the company brand easier with the valuable info they get and are more inclined to become loyal customers.

  1. Provide a one stop shop online experience

All in one, the entire sales process should be digitalised. The online shop should be a very easy visual experience with real stocks updates and effective promotions management.

The checkout should allow different payment options (card, cash on delivery, bank transfer) and fast delivery (courier, postal services, pickup from shops or from designated points).

And at last, but not least, online shopping should be a desirable experience, with small surprises for customers, such as loyalty cards and benefits that encourage customers to come back.

  1. Have a professional Customer Care service using integrated omnichannel solutions (Chatbots, mobile, social media feedback, email, website contact solution)

Although this might look expensive for a small company, the outsourced Call Center can be an affordable solution. This should however integrate all the available communication channels with the customers and provide one-to-one customised feedback. Any customer who post a Facebook message on the company profile page or sends a business enquiry on the official company Contact Form should have the same treatments bas the customers who reach through Call Center or write emails.

A web based CRM solution can prove useful to cover the sales process and also postsales events so that all the employees can have a transparent access to the company customers.

  1. Build a mobile app and place it on App store or Android market

If you wondered how a mobile app can support your business to sell online, well now is easier than ever. With over 7bln smartphones across the world, people access easily different app stores to follow daily routine or shop online or simply play a funny game.

Online retailers encourage their customers to download mobile apps to stay near the latest promotions and goods arrivals with the help of notifications.

Restaurants use mobile apps to promote special food tariffs during selected day intervals or simply give points that latter count into a discounted bill.

  1. Make business friends online

Online success businesses have an exceptional presence in the professional online blogs and use affiliates to earn more money and promote their business.

Online shopping is no longer about purchasing goods or services. Building a community of customers with similar consumption habits can be a fantastic business driver and add significant value to the people. Sharing good practices between the users, bringing novelties into discussion and even criticising should be a consistent  part of any PR strategy built around an online business.

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