As the world slowly adapts to the “new normal” brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, business paradigms are also shifting.
If you’re a traditional brick-and-mortar business or a business that primarily relies on face-to-face interaction with clients, shifting your business online can be a challenge. However, it is not entirely impossible.
There are ways where you can slowly shift some of your business dealings to the digital realm — even well beyond the lockdowns.
Here are tips on how to shift your business online as we prepare for the new normal:
1. Assess what products/services you can bring online
The very first thing to do is to look at your current offerings and assess which parts of your business you can bring online.
For products-oriented business, the most sensible action is to sell them online. You can also consider offering complementary products, such as in the case where alcohol distilleries are manufacturing hand sanitizers in response to customers’ shifting needs.
For service-oriented businesses, consider what aspects you can offer remotely. For example, instead of the usual gym membership, you can offer online personal training sessions instead.
In other cases, you can introduce a complimentary service instead of your main service in the meantime, like how Uber is offering delivery services to address the plummeting demand for traditional ride-hailing.
2. Innovate your current offerings to adapt to new client challenges
Adding to the previous point, if possible, it’s a great idea to adapt to emerging technologies such as virtual or augmented reality (VR/AR). This is especially useful for industries that require close contact with people — for example, tourism, entertainment, education, etc.
It’s also essential to consider that your clients may be facing new and unique challenges brought about by the paradigm shift. Assess their current pain points and consider how you can address them by innovating your current offerings.
For example, you can offer services that address the challenges of socialization due to the new social distancing protocols. Athletic apparel retailer Lululemon nails this strategy by introducing live yoga and meditation sessions where their clients can participate together, albeit virtually.
3. Establish your online presence
It goes without saying that having a solid online presence is essential, especially during these times as businesses and consumers adapt to the new normal.
If you haven’t done so already, invest in a professionally made business website that also doubles as your eCommerce portal. To help you get started, here are some handy guides:
- 6 Essential Things to Do When Starting an Online Store
- 5 Design Tips to Increase Website Click-Throughs
- 4 Ways to Optimize Product Pages to Boost Sales
- 5 Ways to Effectively Promote Your Local Business Online
The key takeaway here is that you need to focus your attention on getting qualified leads from your website and to adjust your marketing strategy to be more online-centric, especially if your business is so used to traditional marketing methods.
4. Invest in SEO and social media
As you shift your focus to marketing online, it is also the perfect time to invest in search engine optimization (SEO) and social media. If you already have a solid SEO and social media marketing (SMM) strategy in place, it’s time to realign your goals to adapt to shifting client preferences and behavior.
SEO is important now more than ever because other businesses are also shifting online, and the competition is fierce. To help you optimize your website, here are a few guides:
- 5 SEO Tips for Boosting Organic Traffic to Your Website
- 4 Essential Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses
- 5 Important SEO Trends to Prepare for in 2020
For social media, it may be time to invest more in paid advertising, especially when organic reach has been quite difficult to achieve as of late. The good thing about this is that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and most major social media platforms have made it quite easy for businesses to get started with ads by offering many helpful tools.
If you’re not ready to dive into paid advertising just yet, here are some guides to help you:
- How to Successfully Launch a New Product on Social Media
- 5 Simple Ways to Effectively Engage in Social Media
- 4 Essential Social Media Marketing Metrics You Should Measure for Marketing Success
5. Communicate the shift to your audience and employees
An essential step in shifting your business online is to communicate this change to your target audience, as well as your employees. Tell them why you decided to change, and most importantly, how this shift benefits them.
It also helps to reassure your existing clients how the change won’t affect the quality of services/products they are getting from you, and that they can still expect the same great quality — if not better.
If you’ve already cultivated a following on your social media, or if you’ve already established a mailing list, use these channels to let them know. If you need to start your online presence from scratch, you can opt to call your clients instead or reach out to them with whatever contact details you have.
The importance of shifting your business online
Despite the gradual reopening of the economy, there remain several advantages in bringing aspects of your traditional offline business online. Consumer behavior is shifting, and the new normal calls for a change in mindset for business owners.
It’s also important to consider how your new digital strategy can be put in place for the long-term. Doing so will provide you with two (or more) income streams when the dust settles down soon.
If you need help in figuring things out about how to shift your business online, head to https://www.ilfusion.com/ to learn more.