When this pandemic hit we all rush into this crisis mode. Survival became the first and only priority. We found that despite what we wanted to believe, our economy is not as resilient as we wanted it to be. We found that an unseen pathogen that appeared on the other side of the of the planet has the ability to put the entire global economy into a grinding halt. As entrepreneurs we are nothing if not agile, and we learned that technology makes us resilient. It has not only given us the ability to survive, but thrive despite tough times.
We have seen this revelation first-hand through EButler. EButler has shown its ability to support local businesses by giving them an avenue to sell their products despite a strict lockdown. It showed us that local businesses are not ready to deal with major crises. It also showed us that despite the digitization of the economy, the majority of businesses still work on a traditional brick-and-mortar model that makes them very susceptible to major crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. We also noticed that this pandemic also presented major opportunity for companies and businesses that are already able to serve their customers online. Take a look at this graph outlining ecommerce shipments in both 2019 and 2020. Notice the spike after lockdown kicked in after March.
What we saw during that period inspired us to take this a step further and build an all-in-one solution to help businesses and shops move their work online. That’s how we built enable.tech. But we will dig deeper into that in later articles.
This is why we decided to write this series. We wanted to provide local businesses with a blueprint that helps them digitize their business, and take advantage of the internet revolution. We wanted to give you the plan and the tools to build a resilient, more organized business with the ability to reach more customers in a day, than a local shop can admit in a year.
The thing about moving your business online is that you, as a business owner, will find that the benefits go beyond just having the ability to sell online – especially if you use e-nable.io. When done right, moving your business online, lowers your general cost of operation, streamlines your operations both online and offline, give you a bird’s-eye view of your company’s performance… among others. Here they are!
When you move your business online, you go beyond the boundaries of your neighborhood, town, or city. Theoretically you are now able to reach clients all over the world. The internet has no boundaries, which means a business online has none too. You are only limited by the type of product you sell and your shipping channel.
2.1 Customer Re-engagement
When a customer enters your shop looking around, showing interest in a product, that’s it. The potential customer buys, or disappears. In case the customer didn’t buy, that would probably be the final interaction between the business and the potential client.
But when a visitor lands on your e-commerce site, you have the chance to reach out to them again based on their interests. This allows you to get visitors back onto your site in order to pique their interest and get them to make that purchase that they were just curious about last time.
You can re-engage these visitors through these channels:
2.2 Customer Relationship Management
An ecommerce store by definition records all transactions taking place on site without the need for a person to manually record every transaction and every record that happens. This allows you as the business owner to react and follow up on customer interactions. The best part is that this follow up can be automated. What this means is that your customers will automatically receive updates and communications from you based on how they interact with your products. Not only that, but they receive these communications on the platforms they themselves prefer.
Having an ecommerce store means all of your business administration and most of your business operations all happen in a single place. From product offering, to payment, to accounting to admin… All happen in a single dashboard. This allows you to not only assign tasks and react to business requirement. It also allows you to analyse your business performance and efficiency all in a single place.
Marketplaces provide platforms where you can easily upload products and start selling them immediately. Although this looks like a great upside at face value, it creates an even bigger problem for you. Because it is easy to set up shop in these places, they are usually crawling with sellers. Most of these sellers are your direct competitors, and since your storefronts are more or less similar, there’s no reason why a customer should buy from you and not them.
Creating your online store sets you apart from the rest. It gives you the power to control how the store looks and how the customer gets to experience it. Design matters. How you present your products shape your customer’s experience and enables you to build trust. The more the customer believes you, the higher their chances of making a purchase and coming back are.
Since marketplaces are crawling with sellers promoting similar products, consumers always have the upper hand. The only way that retailers can compete is by cutting prices. It is not enough that you have too many competitors already; you are forced to sell at shallow margins. Creating your store will save you from the price war. By being unique, you have already set yourself apart from the rest. The customer is no longer looking at the cost alone, and if they trust you enough, you never have to worry about price altogether.
80% of your customers only contribute to 20% of your revenue. The rest (loyal customers) contribute to the largest chunk of your revenue (80%). The need for having repeat customers is apparent. To build loyal customers, you need a client database–something you can only get by having your own store. The online stores have an email marketing tool that you can use to lure customers back.
These are just some of the main benefits moving your business online can give you. Another thing you can consider when moving online is the operational impact moving your store online will have. If done correctly, you will find that both your online and offline presences are benefiting from increased efficiency and operational integrity. In fact, one of the main benefits of using enable as your tech partner is that we bring in more than just tools, but also the learnings we gained after supporting hundreds of partners through EButler.