Recently many businesses had to switch from traditional business models to an online model and this can be quite challenging.
Covid-19 impacted several business industries and they have been forced to think of ways to adapt their business to the crisis. How to do that?
Transforming one’s business to digital is definitely the answer. It allows businesses to continue operating and improving their business efficiency. Although the process is not easy, it could have a positive impact in the long term.
Digitalization and online sales are trends that keep growing constantly. According to the data by Digital Commerce 360 consumers spent $601.75 billion online in the U.S. in 2019 which is 14.9% more compared to the data from 2018.
There is a twist in the tale due to the current situation. Customers are significantly changing their behavior. A survey, collected in the US from April 13-19 shows a few interesting trends:
- Customers are more careful about spending and 40% of consumers reported they will reduce their spending over the next two weeks.
- People are shopping at new grocery stores.
- They are using more delivery or pick up services.
- Many are trying video conferences or online meetings for the first time.
- There is an increased participation in entertainment streaming and online workouts.
Businesses actively move to new approaches offering different online services such as:
- Streaming and online resources
- Video communication
- Delivery optimization, including curbside delivery
- Easier payment process
- Online signing papers
- Online consultations
- Educational courses
Digitalization is crucial and it is happening really fast. What do you need to know when transforming your business?
In this article, we are going to outline a few aspects of digitalization and give inspiring business examples.
Benefits of Digital Transformation
Transforming your business into digital has several positive sides. This is a step that will help you to optimize your business and to provide better solutions to your clients.
Providing Outstanding Customer Service
What does outstanding customer service mean? You need to communicate and be there for your customers 24/7. Thanks to the new technologies and AI all this is possible.
Social media channels are great tools that allow you to communicate quickly with your customers.
You can implement chatbots with different responses so they can handle customer’s questions.
This way you can stay in touch with your customers and make sure communication goes perfectly.
Reducing Administration Costs
Moving your business to digital will reduce costs. For example, if you move a physical store entirely online you can save rent and storage space since you can send the products you sell from the supplier directly to the client. This will result in a faster delivery and a better customer experience.
Ability to Operate From Anywhere
Being flexible and able to operate from anywhere is yet another benefit of digitalization. You can connect easier with your employees and customers and run your business from anywhere in the world.
Reaching Customers Worldwide
Every business wants to grow. When you shift to online you will reach out to a bigger audience and expand your business to new markets.
However, this cannot happen immediately. There are several important aspects you need to research like taxes and delivery restrictions. Consider also a translation of your website to other languages if this is needed.
Transforming Your Business Into Digital: Where to Start?
Digital transformation starts from the inside out. Here’s how you need to approach the process.
- Prepare an action plan so the process can go as smoothly as possible.
- Transform the way your team works and optimize your internal processes.
- Ensure communication flow runs without any difficulties. You can use software like Slack for internal chats and host online meetings with Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype.
- Integrate a proper project management system like Trello, Asana, Jira so you can manage the daily workflow, track performance and analyze if the goals are met.
Once you take care of your internal process you can move to the customer-side. Keep in mind if everything goes well internally this will automatically reflect into a better customer experience.
How to Shift Online Without Affecting Your Clients, but Make It Even Better for Them?
When you take your business online you need to start with your buyer persona’s needs. Your goal is to provide the right solution to those needs.
Don’t introduce new changes that make sense only to you, but not to your clients. Monitor your customers carefully and put yourself in their shoes.
For instance, what would you do if you owned a gym but your clients couldn’t come and work out? You’d offer them online workout videos. You could even provide free videos or paid subscriptions. This way you give options to your clients so they can choose the best solution and stay safe while practicing at home.
They will not only appreciate that you care about them but they will keep interacting with your brand online. This way, you won’t lose communication and connection with your customers.
Moving Your Business to Online: Where to Start?
After sorting out internal processes and gathering insights from your customers and their behavior, you can establish your business online.
Choose the Right CMS or a Proper Team Who Can Build Your Website
The first step is always to create a website or optimize your old one. Since your business is going to be entirely online, a website providing outstanding user experience is crucial. Choose a proper CMS platform.
- WordPress is the most popular CMS globally. It provides countless solutions and possibilities for custom development. WooCommerce is an e-commerce plugin built on WordPress which is a solution for online shops.
Think About Your Customers and Build a Website for Them
During the development process, you need to think about your customers and create a website that is designed for them and their needs. Don’t create a website that you like, but won’t be useful for your customers.
Did you know 40% of users will go to a competitor after a bad experience with a mobile site?
Make sure your website is working perfectly on mobile since customers are using more and more mobile devices. In the US 63% of Google’s visits are from mobile devices.
What is one of the most important aspects of online shops? The check out process. Right now this is even more important because customers are buying less and you can’t afford to lose them.
How to optimize your check out and payment process?
- Make it user-friendly
- Make it fast
- Provide auto-complete data validation
- Don’t require too many details
- Make the error-validation visible and clear
- Provide payment options
Configure your delivery methods. Think about the following directions:
- Fast delivery
- Discount on shipping
- Free shipping (if possible)
- Curbside delivery
- Clear shipping information on your website
Create a Marketing and SEO Strategy
Without a proper digital marketing and SEO strategy, the world would not know about your brand and your offers. You need an inbound marketing strategy including blogs, newsletter campaigns, SEO and social media. All these elements will help you reach your customers and communicate with them properly.
Paid ads are also a powerful tool to promote your business. You have lots of possibilities for targeting there. Facebook is probably the best tool for targeting the right audience, so it’s a good start.
Which Businesses Are Going Through Digitalization Nowadays and Do It Right?
Quite a few businesses are going online due to the outbreak. We are going to outline a few of them and take a look at what changes they have introduced so far.
Restaurants Are Open for Deliveries
One of the businesses that has been hit the most is the restaurants. Most of the restaurants have started delivery and use their websites or their social media channels to receive orders. The process could be further optimized and automated so it’s easier for them and their customers.
Apart from optimizing their own websites, some restaurants have partnered with food ordering and delivery platforms like Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, etc.
Event Industries Stream Online
Many events are still happening, but online. Business events, meetups, and conferences can be streamed online.
However, concerts are still a bit difficult because for most artists and musicians this is quite a new situation. Still, they can use their social media channels to stream online and continue to communicate and interact with their fans.
Delivery Service Use New Technologies
Due to social distancing, delivery services are pretty overloaded right now. People started buying more groceries online so companies that offer this service had to implement booking time slots in advance.
The industry continues to improve itself by adding new technologies like transportation with drones or implementing contactless mechanisms to make sure people are staying safe while receiving their orders. The process of signing up forms has also been limited or digitalized.
Banks Introduce More Online Options
For the past years, the banks have been working to provide better services online where their customers can do the necessary transactions. However, there are still transactions or papers that need signing where the customers are obligated to visit a bank.
Like the delivery industry, there have been improvements and optimization in the banking industry. These institutions are trying to make it easier to sign forms online and are trying to find more ways for customers to complete their transactions online.
Museums Offer Online Exhibitions
Recently people have been almost overwhelmed with all the possibilities to attend virtual exhibitions. Museums found a way to stream online and to make sure to entertain their target audience. Some museums are also providing free and paid guided tours so they can still make some money.
The current Covid-19 situation has brought several challenges to our lives. Digitalization has been a constantly growing trend for the past years, but recently it became a must. Many companies are facing several challenges. On the one hand, they are dealing with less revenue, on the other hand, they need to optimize and digitalize fast.
On the bright side, this is a big opportunity for businesses to grow and provide better services to their clients.