For many small businesses, transitioning from a physical store to the online world can be a daunting prospect. Where to begin, which direction to go in, and the potential issues that may arise - these concerns are all easily overcome with the right amount of thought and small business funding.
With this in mind, let's take a look at some of the common reasons for moving online, and the issues that those in small businesses face when deciding to make this leap.
Online shopping is a global marketplace
In their Total Retail Survey 2016, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) revealed a number of surprising figures around the world of online shopping. According to the report, over three-fifths of Chinese shoppers make purchases at least once a month using their mobile.
With online retail, the boundaries and borders that once existed have been lowered, allowing greater global access to products and services. To make the most of this information, it's crucial to look at the potential an e-store could bring your business.
Although the world of online shopping is an appealing one, it's also imperative that before making the move, you plan your small business to take the full force of your customers' demands.
Should you require additional revenue to finance such things as shipping and insurance on products, ensuring the right amount of small business income is absolutely necessary.
Moving to mobile for small business owners
Over four-fifths of consumers desire a reward or loyalty program when they make a purchase.
Another consideration when planning to take a small business online is the rise of mobile shopping and browsing on a smartphone.
For those who aren't naturally geared towards information technology, designing a website can seem either a daunting or unnecessarily complicated step.
While it's not expected that you hire your own team of IT professionals and web designers, ensuring that your new website or online store is user-friendly and mobile-friendly can provide a great boost to company revenue.
In fact, according to PwC, the amount of individuals making purchases on their mobile phone has risen gradually over the years, totaling nearly 1 out of 2 people in 2015. Another enlightening figure in the report is that over four-fifths of consumers desire a reward or loyalty program when they make a purchase.
This notion should be handled delicately, as while it's obviously beneficial to give your customers what they want, making sure you can do so continually is just as important. When considering the implementation of a rewards program, make sure that you have the appropriate funding needed to consistently meet the expectations of your customers.
Build your online presence for social status
Over one-quarter of all purchases are estimated to be influenced by social recommendations.
Jumping into the online world can be such a daunting leap to make by yourself that it's easy to miss the potential of many smaller factors in the move.
While we've discussed the importance of making your online store easy to navigate, the sister project to this move is to make sure that you have an equally valid social front for your store.
Thinking of selling your portable smartphone chargers? Why not follow the success of the recently released Pokemon GO and entice your customers by aligning yourself with their interests?
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - all of these are viable platforms for making your new website more visible. Engaging with customers can be as easy as following the trends that accompany your business.
In a recent report by McKinsey, over one-quarter of all purchases are estimated to be influenced by social recommendations, so overlooking this method of communication could mean your business misses out on a crucial point of customer connection.
Securing your small business in the future
With the advent of social media, online stores, virtual businesses and the like, having the appropriate level of internet or network security in place is the only way to truly guarantee the safety of your online business.
For most small businesses, however, the notion of hiring a full-time IT department to ensure the network security of your e-store is absurd. So if not a dedicated team, then what?
Two of the best options for small businesses making the move to the online world are a disaster recovery system and active network monitoring. Both of these can be outsourced to boutique and small security companies, with the disaster recovery option providing a safeguard should your network go down.
By activating the duplicate of your network, you can make sure your business stays running, even in the case of a security breach.
Network monitoring can be a similar drain on company expenditure. Having a flexible security plan with your chosen network provider - although cost-effective - will require the regular injection of cash into a business.
With cloud technology making this process even more complex, having disposable income at hand to ensure the longevity of your online small business is absolutely crucial.
Paving the way to the future
Making the move online can be a difficult and troubling prospect, which is why debtor finance services can offer the help you need, when you need it.
To learn more about the ways we can help kickstart your online journey, get in touch with us today.