Businesses have significantly changed their strategy especially when covid-19 resulted in restricted movements, lockdowns, and all manner of knee jerk reactions. The online presence has proven as a lifesaver for most business which had initially integrated technology into their marketing.
Before Covid-19 happened, it was normal for people to take a walk downtown, enter a shopping mall just to do window shopping. Again, sellers relied on customers and crowds to make a kill but this was not to be anymore as Covid-19 showed such businesses the middle finger.
So what next for the next phase of businesses? Agility is the answer. No business will afford to continue depending on physical interactions with buyers. I daresay that even the smallest business will have to quickly adapt to the internet of things.
Why Move Your Business Online?
There is always a false impression out there that running an online business is only for big and well-established companies. Start-ups whose capital investment is low shy off from making an entry into the online platforms, specifically creating webshops.
But the covid-19 pandemic ushered in an antidote to such kind of thinking. Business owners who thought that online shop was a tall order for them were left gasping for breath, livelihood devasted and facing the uncertainty of recovery.
As more and more people get access to the internet, smartphones, and personal computers, an online shop may be just what breaks the ice even for start-ups. Imagine this, the lockdowns resulted in cessation of, movements yet people still needed to subsist. Imagine if small and medium enterprises in some rural area in Africa had an online presence….it would be such a kill for them.
Take for instance, you sit on your comfy sofa set at home, probably worried and stressed out on how the covid-19 would pan out. Then you remember to buy some foodstuff but the restrictions of movement mean no movement to a nearby shopping center. Then you turn on your smartphone, find a webshop with everything that you need, place an order, pay by mobile money transfer, and a rider on a motorcycle brings it to you. How does that sound? Technology at its best.
If you take the short analogy given above which is only the tip of the iceberg about what a webshop means, you can already see that setting up your business online is a win for you as a business and the customer as well. The customer gets products conveniently while you as a start-up are assured of a wider market reach.
Myths and truths about Webshop
So many misconceptions and myths still make people apprehensive about establishing businesses online. Some people believe that it is a costly affair, customers will not buy online, there are no returns on investment, trust issues are rife, and many more. These sentiments are somehow right but there is also a quick shift in customer perceptions about online buying.
Previously, online shops did not invest as much time and effort in providing customers with a clear description of the products, catalog, etc. Today, there are numerous product reviews and clear illustrations that are almost similar to walking into a shop and buying.
Setting up a webshop and managing it does not means you cannot have a physical shop running concurrently. It means that you get to reach more online and physical customers at the same time resulting in very high turnover. The costs involved in creating a webshop will quickly be recouped when you start getting orders from far and wide.
There are also doubts of insecurity that somehow your order or payment will be hacked, far from it. So many webshop solutions and plugins have great firewalls that safeguard transactions online. You will not face any risks whatsoever when you make an online transaction. But in case someone succeeds to penetrate, there are proper algorithms that make it easy to track and punish them.
In almost every country now, there is a digital data protection policy that means, your online information as a customer is protected at all times. So, there should be no alarm about your safety. again, online sellers have proven legit over time, selling high-quality products which progressively win customer trust.
As a new business entrant into the online space, your work is not so much, in fact so simple….just offer high-quality products at competitive prices and then market your webshop. You can use sponsored campaigns on social media platforms to increase your online traffic after which you may just retreat to organic marketing. A lot of customers will do the marketing for you and the traffic, searchers will always be in your favor if the product offerings are excellent.
Growing your Webshop
It is a false belief that creating a webshop is itself the final solution to your business. In fact, some people make the mistake of creating an online shop then sitting back expecting that people will recognize it and just buy. Of course, a few people will buy but then there is more to increasing traffic to the webshop than just creating it.
After creating the webshop, it is now time to drive traffic to the shop. Imagine that the internet is a big market with several people selling in their own corner or mall. As an individual seller or web shop owner, you need to direct people to your shop so that they are not tempted to buy elsewhere. This is done through webshop marketing. Search engine optimization comes in handy in driving this traffic.
When starting the webshop, it is good to be ready to spend on optimization of searches, social media campaigns, etc. From there, your shop will gain more traction from far and wide. Search engine optimization is like road signs that point the customers to your shop and contains keywords that anticipate what entices them. The more enticing the keywords, consistency of messaging, and quality of attention given to customers, the more your online presence will pay off.
How shops in the next decade will look like
The internet is disruptive and like many already know, it is always either be innovative or die. The business environment is fast-changing and any entrepreneur who seeks to survive the storm must conform. Look at how digital coins/currencies are emerging every single day. It’s crazy, big and running!
In the next few years, businesses will not have to have premises where people walk in and out. Instead, they will have to set up stores with people who do picking and packing of orders in readiness for shipment.
In fact, shipping and delivery services will be the next big thing that links customers to the webshop. You make an order, it is processed in real-time, dispatched, delivered and that is it. It may sound like a future but it is actually already here with us.