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Taking Your Business Online

In this blog SIPL, you will learn everything about taking your business online. Imagine you are out shopping and find a small local shop selling a hand-carved bamboo pitcher that catches your attention. Like shoppers in our digital age, you decide to go online and check if you can get it for less. As price-savvy customers, it is normal to want the lowest price and most e-commerce stores run on an “unbeatable price” business model. Because of the lack of digital presence, most micro and small businesses rely heavily on selling through large e-commerce platforms because of the sheer volume of customers they draw.

But, these small businesses are often unaware of the losses they incur from the drastic price variation, monthly charges, referral fees and other fees they have to pay based on the services they choose. According to a recent report, select foreign e-commerce platforms like Amazon do actively undercut micro and small retailers in India. Fortunately, with technology, these businesses can now compete with online retail giants through affordable technology and better adoption support. If you are a small business owner, you may have reconsidered a tech upgrade many times. Either because of the fear of high costs and thinking the digital method wouldn’t work as well. Let us debunk some of these digital transition myths:

  • The Cost Of Professionalism

Small businesses often hesitate over a digital transition, assuming that even a straightforward cloud-based operating system might have hidden costs too. This is a valid notion, given that most small businesses in India are accustomed to both legacy systems and large e-commerce platforms known for periodic maintenance investments or increasing annual costs. Fortunately, the benefits gained from taking your business online far outweigh these fears.

  • Invoicing Solutions Made Easy

For many small business owners, invoices serve as a vital record in their accounting process. They often function as the sole documentation of the client’s agreement to pay for the services or products received. That is to say, as digital transformation continues to accelerate, businesses are warming up to using technology to drive productivity and enable faster payments from customers and clients. Due to both the pandemic and implementation of GST, these small business owners are becoming more open to GST-friendly SaaS tools and services.

  • Designing Solutions For Small Business

Micro and small retailers transitioning from a brick and mortar business generally need basic digital tools. That is to say, with its predesigned store templates, you can find maximum value in a sensible time frame. It is an important feature as most small business owners and their employees juggle multiple responsibilities.

  • Localised Services

Small or micro business owners likely put in a lot more work than what the consumer sees. For example, someone in an online catering business might make the effort to get to know their customers and offer them specialised services that bigger online catering businesses can’t. That is to say, a promise to replace the food if found unsatisfactory or using locally grown organic produce.

  • Taking Inventory

For most small business owners, supply chain development is now a central part of taking your business online. This implies that inventory appears in several forms in their supply chain. Using inventory management software for this will allow you to track your inventory and at the same time communicate honestly with your customers about stock and availability.

Tips For Taking Your Business Online

There is a lot of talk for taking your business online and it can easily be overwhelming, with all the processes and steps involved. If you are a small or local business looking to share your services and products with a larger crowd by going online then it is truly the right time to get started. That is to say, the pandemic has brought significant changes to the economy. It has also created big opportunities for online businesses, including the ability to connect with customers across the globe. Below are some tips to give you a headstart with taking your business online:

  • Make A Plan For Your Goals

Setting your goals for creating an online store should be your first step. That is to say, goals outline what you want to accomplish, and choosing clearly defined goals is crucial. In addition, once you have chosen a goal, you can analyse if it is achievable and avoid setting vague expectations. That is to say, it is important to set long term goals to make your business grow. Likewise, it is important to set short term goals that can lead you towards the long term goals.

  • Build An Online Presence

Taking your business online also means that your customers can find you with a click of their mouse. In addition, they can more easily assess whether you have the products/services they need, and more easily become a customer. It is important to create content that is aimed at answering the questions your leads and customers will have and satisfying their needs. You can also create social media accounts to update customers and leads with the latest information about your products and services, sales, offers etc.

  • Develop A Strong Brand Identity

A brand is what defines you. It separates you from the rest of the competitors in the market. Building a strong and successful brand from the ground isn’t an easy task. That is to say, you need to figure out what your branding will look like and who your target audience is. Your unique value proposition should also be a part of your brand messaging. But that is not all, your visual branding needs to be consistent whenever and wherever customers interact with you. For every part of your business, from your website to customer service emails, the look and feel must be consistent.

  • Ensure Easy Shopping Experience

The next step in taking your business online is customer service. It is the heart of any business and providing high-quality service helps you turn visitors into returning customers. It is important to stand out, as customers have plenty of places they can make purchases, and you want them to choose you. In addition, you should create an eCommerce store to sell your products and services. That is to say, setting this up will allow you to accept orders and payments. After all, a comprehensive e-commerce solution can create a smooth shopping experience.

  • Engage & Build Connections Online

Networking is important, especially when you are new to online business. By engaging online with customers and other connections, you can open up a sea of opportunities. You can promote your offerings when it is appropriate, but more importantly, you have the chance to learn about customer expectations and needs by interacting with them. That is to say while using social media as a tool to expand connections with business contacts, clients, and potential partners, make sure to post engaging content and not just content focused on your business and your needs.