So many businesses made the leap online over the past two years, as the events of 2020 and the pandemic unfolded. For many, this was the first time they had ever expanded their online presence. What was once optional and for pure entertainment – like producing instagram reels, for example – became a necessity to keep up with the competition, build an online presence and stand out from the crowd.
In fact, according to recent reports, the ecommerce share of the retail market increased as much in the first half of 2020 as in the last five years. And it isn’t just small businesses that are undergoing a digital transformation. A survey from McKinsey reveals that on a global scale businesses have accelerated the digitization of customer interaction by approximately three years.
Although most physical retail stores are back to business as usual, the effects of COVID-19 still linger. If you have a physical store, you are likely well aware of just how much things have changed over the last two years. Customers preferences, expectations and concerns have shifted dramatically. If you haven’t already, now is the time to bring your store to the world of online shopping to keep up with ever-changing trends – meet your customers where they are today.
To ensure your endeavors are successful, it’s important to first lay the groundwork and then optimize your online presence. The following tips will help you get started:
- Identify your target audience
So much planning goes into building and maintaining an online presence, especially when it comes to your website. Before you create a virtual storefront, ask yourself who is my primary customer? And how and where will they find me online? You need to find out what their biggest challenge is, and then make sure you are presenting your solution where they hang out most online (e.g. LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, etc.). Then make sure your brand’s voice is consistent across your website and social media platforms.
- Develop an online strategy
Ideally, your inventory or services should be chosen to appeal to the audience you’ve previously identified. This is especially true when you’re just starting out. Make sure that the selection you choose is wide at first, then narrow it down later based on demand and trends. Keep an eye on products that are nationally popular as well.
- Research payment processing methods
Besides knowing your audience and strategically selecting what to share with them, it is critical to choose the right payment methods. The experience customers expect at check out is drastically different from what it used to be. You’ll need to find out what the easiest payment method is to set up and which ones your customers prefer to use. Make sure the provider and method you choose can easily be integrated into your digital marketplace and sync with your brick-and-mortar.
Success online boils down to how thorough you are in planning and setting up your digital presence. Find out what your customers’ pain points are, what they find valuable and engaging and build your presence around those key details.
Payment industry guru Taylor Cole is a passionate payments expert who understands the complex world of Best Payment Providers. He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal finance to stocks to cryptopay. He enjoys eating pie with ice-cream on his backyard porch, as should all right-thinking people.