With more than a year of consumers adapting to purchasing online and delivery or curbside pickup as a result of COVID-19, if you haven’t yet added e-commerce, now is the time to be considering this tool to keep your store thriving.
Blink;tech shares 7 tips to get you started on your way to e-commerce. If you’re not technical, partnering with a tech firm can save you time and money. Learn more at www.blink-tech.com.
1. Evaluate Your Situation
Before you look at e-commerce options, first evaluate your needs. There is a technology solution for any situation, but you should know what you need before choosing a platform.
For example, how does your business make money? Do you sell products, services or a mix of both? Can you change this paradigm to be more profitable? If you are a brick-and-mortar retail store that relies heavily on the rapport you have built with your customers by serving and advising them on the showroom floor, then your plan could include virtual FaceTiming with your client base — and the possibility of expanding into more elaborate paid services.
2. Put Customer Experience First
Think through your current sales cycle from your customers’ point of view. How can technology serve that customer to answer their questions, help them find what they are looking for and make purchasing from you a breeze? Would having an option to communicate with your business via text or video chat improve that experience? Giving your customer some options will allow them to choose a path of interaction that offers the most pleasant and comfortable experience.
3. Get Creative
Some businesses shuttered at the start of the pandemic as their business relied on physical interactions. But creativity and technology can help get them back up and running.
Let’s say you have a furniture or lighting showroom. Maybe your clients are reluctant to come to you, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want your services. There are now technologies that allow consumers to see how a piece of furniture might look in the room they are considering, as well as virtual tours and connected sales calls that can help share details. Get some inexpensive video equipment and a payment gateway, and update your website to explain your virtual offerings.
Thinking outside of the box might require you to acquire new equipment and skills, but these tools will serve your business and may provide a new, dependable revenue stream.
4. Think Mobile
Prioritize and optimize your website and e-commerce platform for mobile. Mobile devices are used for everything from researching products and services to navigating to destinations to making purchases. COVID-19 has changed the way consumers shop, so this will likely continue to increase with mobile technology solutions.
An example is SMS text messaging for curbside pickup. Many retailers are using automated text messaging to complete online orders and communicate when pickup is ready. Most consumers appreciate the efficiency of text messaging to communicate needs and complete business transactions.
5. Keep It Simple
In the beginning it is critical to keep it simple. Focus only on those strategies that you know will improve business. Don’t be distracted by all the bells and whistles unless they will undoubtedly bring you more revenue.
Don’t worry about getting your entire inventory online if it is going to slow down the process of going live. Choose your bread and butter items first. Focus on being comfortable using the new e-commerce platform and making sure the transactional aspects and customer experience is seamless.
6. Keep It Fluid
You’ve worked hard to build your business. Regardless of what your secret sauce is, you want to make sure it is part of every aspect — including your online and mobile transactions.
You want to make sure that the qualities of your business that have built trust are fluid throughout your website, social media and direct communication with your customers.
7. Spend on Marketing, Not Fees
Lastly, be wary of signing up for e-commerce solutions that require hefty monthly fees. Many web solution companies are all too happy to sell you more than you need — especially when locked into a monthly contract.
You will want to spend money on marketing, however. You want to let your customers know you have this great new way of transacting with them. If you are a small brick-and-mortar that has only dabbled in organic social media, applying some marketing budget to pay-per-click advertising can pay big dividends.