Having an online presence has gone from a nice-to-have to a must-have.
If ever we doubted the power of the internet, the pandemic has confirmed it once and for all.
Not only have we seen an increasing number of people looking online in search of accurate information, but they’re also embracing the convenience and comfort of online shopping as never before.
While this was already a growing trend, having an online presence has become essential for all businesses.
Matching your customer expectations
Now is the time to ramp up your online presence and give your customers the ultra-helpful information they seek. Things like having products on hand and immediately available, easy online bookings and speedy payment options all help to make for a smooth and enjoyable user experience.
To make this work, you may need to boost your back-of-house technology as well. Replacing manual counting of stock with more automated inventory management, for example, is an essential step to providing real-time product information.
The benefits to your business also include quicker order processing, less time wasted on back-end administrative tasks, and cheaper fulfilment costs. A win for your customers, but also a win for you.
Making it social
Taking your business into the virtual world can open you up to a wider audience, far beyond the foot traffic in your local neighbourhood, into interstate and international markets. A good social media strategy can also help you target your marketing more accurately.
Customers increasingly see social media as a customer service desk – an easy place for them to send a query by instant message instead of making a phone call. Resolving queries online is usually simpler for them, and often quicker for you too. As more and more businesses make the switch online, growth in at-home purchasing is set to keep increasing. Rather than fearing your customers’ growing hunger for faster, easier ways to buy online, you can fuel it. Making the move will not only help you to sell in their world, it’s likely to see your business grow in turn.
Consider your customer
How will you stand out from your competitors in an online environment?
Can you personalise your customers’ online experience by tailoring special offers based on their purchase history?
Do you need fewer staff on the shop floor and more online, answering customer queries or reaching out on social media?
Consider your business
Can you modify or remove some of your paper-based systems and use cloud services instead to provide a faster experience for your customers?
Can you use digital tools, such as workflow and collaboration apps, to help your staff work together and plan more efficiently?
If online traffic increases, will you need as much shop floor space? Can you repurpose some of your real estate?
Tips for moving your bricks-and-mortar store online
1. Choose the right platform for you
Rather than looking to a third-party site to sell your product, create a brand and business asset that you have full control over. We recommend going with a self-hosted e-commerce website platform like Shopify – it’s user friendly, so even a novice can set up their own site.
2. Replicate your in-store sales assistant, online
When shopping online, people only have what you give them through their screen. That’s why you need to replicate the in-store experience as best as you can by providing quality images, great product headlines and detailed descriptions. Be sure to answer any frequently asked questions people may have in an easy-to-find FAQ section.
3. Have a follow-up strategy in place
Although people may not buy from you straight away, not only do you have the opportunity to build a relationship with them, you can also retarget them later when they may be ready to buy. Make sure you have automated email sequences and Facebook retargeting ads set up ready to follow people up.
4. Don’t forget about your existing customers
Getting someone to purchase from you again is much cheaper and easier than getting a new customer. Thanks to the customer relationship management system (CRM) within Xero, you can reach out to your entire customer database directly. Connect with your audience by producing engaging, unique and magnetic content.
Four apps to help move your business online
These tools from Xero’s app marketplace have everything you need to streamline and simplify your businesses’ move online.
With Hubdoc and Xero, manual tasks like document collection and data entry are automated, making bank reconciliation and financial document management a breeze. We outline 2 easy ways to do that in this instructional video. Talk with your Notch Above consultant for specific advice about setting up Hubdoc in your business, which is free for most Xero users.
This global commerce company enables you to begin selling online easily. Better yet, it easily connects with Xero via popular app A2X and comes complete with a bunch of handy resources to help you get started.
Say goodbye to clumsy spreadsheets and make paying your staff a seamless process thanks to this clever app that also takes care of scheduling, rostering and processing leave requests.
Thanks to the Stripe and Xero integration, your customers can pay your online invoices using their preferred credit or debit card. This means you get paid easily and on time.
Notch Above Bookkeeping is a team of Platinum Certified Xero bookkeepers and BAS Agents. We help small business owners right across Australia prepare their BAS returns and streamline their bookkeeping processes, payroll and accounting records. Call us to find out how on 1300 015 130 today.
Source: Xero Stronger and smarter: a small business handbook. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.xero.com/content/dam/xero/pdf/stronger-and-smarter-a-small-business-handbook.pdf