We live in a new era. This is a moment in time when now more than ever, we get to realize what it means to learn, adjust, and move forward. Now is the time to bring your business online.
Countless businesses face immense difficulties maintaining their operations, and business owners have to adapt to survive. In many cases, their physical storefronts’ forced closures have them seeking alternative ways to keep their operations running.
The digital transformation process started many years ago, but as we all know, not everyone was ready and willing to adjust their operations and expand from traditional ways of doing business to the online world. Having a website, an eCommerce store, or a mobile app may seem like an obvious and obligatory part of running a business for some – but not for everyone – and that’s more than understandable. For many, it wasn’t necessary.
We all have our favorite bakery where we used to buy bagels each weekend morning since we were kids. There is a charming bookstore opened in the early ‘70s in each big city worldwide, with loyal local customers and a countless number of tourists who found recommendations in travel guidebooks. There are independent boutiques known only by those who seek specific niche items, small plant shops, vintage and vinyl stores, and quirky cafes with a loyal base of clientele. None of them was obliged to consider opening a digital storefront before, just because their brick-and-mortar business was generating higher and higher profits every year.
But the times have changed. The circumstances are much different now than they were even one year ago. Before, a digital presence was just one of the growth opportunities for businesses to consider. Now, it has become necessary to stay on the market.
In these unprecedented times, the digital world offers nothing but countless opportunities for every company – no matter the type or size – to maintain their operations and keep providing top-notch products and services as usual to their beloved customers.
As the business landscape has been transformed drastically, everyone – business owners, managers, and team leaders – is seeking new effective ways to maintain business momentum, pass through changes and difficulties successfully, and keep driving growth.
When everything else seems to be hopeless, the internet gives us tremendous possibilities and proof that at any point in time we can – and we will – learn, adapt, and move forward.
A digital storefront is one of the most important tools we have to embark on our new strategy and see spectacular results precisely as we expect. It’s time to Learn, Adapt, and Move Forward.
Where to start and what to keep in mind when transforming your brick-and-mortar business into a digital establishment? Below, I explain a few core ideas that will allow your business to successfully go through this digital transformation as fast, smooth, and seamless as possible.
1. Digital Storefront Types
A digital storefront is simply your company’s website. It can be a basic landing page, an eCommerce store, a blog, a subscription-based membership page. It can also include a mobile application that allows you to expand your potential customer database and improve user experience so that your clients can easily access all the information they seek, using their mobile phones.
Establishing an online presence means giving your business access to countless business opportunities 24 hours per day without any of the time limits that only-offline businesses have. Users can access your digital storefront any time, scroll through all the products available on the website or in the app, and place orders automatically in a few simple clicks.
Digital customer service becomes easy, effortless, and budget-friendly with automated email notifications, intuitive online payments, and accessible online tools, such as chatbots and personalized notifications, to keep in touch with your clients.
2. Offline Translates To Online: Same Business, Same Experiences
Your website as a digital storefront represents your business, enabling you to attract potential clients, maintain stable, long-lasting customer relationships, and get new customers. As a place where users and businesses meet, your website, meaning your digital storefront, has to represent all your business values. It should be created following your brand identity, mission, and the vision you’ve been consistently building and presenting to customers for years at your physical location.
The core brand messaging – the way you speak to your customers – should be highlighted on your website, allowing you to transform the offline experiences customers love you for into digital ones.
As customers, we want to be sure we receive the same set of experiences when visiting your company’s website as we were receiving in the past at your physical store. What keeps your clients scrolling through your website today is what made them attracted to your brand for years in the first place.
3. A Coherent, Authentic, and Transparent Story Is Priceless
As a business owner with many years of experience, you have built your reputation. You have gathered loyal clients who resonate with your business values. That’s what keeps them loyal and willing to choose your brand over competitors.
Your clients visited your physical location because you could maintain a reliable relationship with them. As you expand your presence into the digital world, you have to make sure your clients stay informed on your developments to keep their interest and maintain their trust and loyalty.
The easiest way to achieve this is to be transparent, honest, and authentic. Tell your story online in the way you were doing it for years in person. Your homepage and landing pages offer tremendous opportunities to showcase your business values and unique offering. It can highlight your achievements and discuss all the things people love about your brand. Make your website’s visitors feel like they’re interacting with the same brand they know and that they’ll receive the same top-quality services and products they love.
You may choose to craft your owner’s biography and create an interesting note about your business history and traditions, mission, and values. Tell your clients about your team and what makes your company special. You may want to publish attractive pictures or utilize videos recorded at your store. Add testimonials and make sure there is a place to add new reviews, so your clients may support your brand digitally, leaving a few good words about your services.
Allow users to fully immerse themselves into experiences you have created in the past when serving your clients at your physical location. Ensure your brand’s image stays consistent, coherent, authentic, and trustworthy. Your clients will appreciate it, and they will keep coming back – online and offline when possible.
4. Customer Relationships Stay The Same Offline and Online
Is your business known for offering free sweets with every purchase at your physical location? Wonderful! That’s what your clients remember and love about you. Don’t hesitate to provide a free gift for your online shoppers. The rule not to be missed: how you treat your customers should always stay the same – whether you run your business offline or online.
State clearly on your website that a small gift comes with every purchase made, or offer a specific discount on selected items. Ensure your customers receive precisely the same quality services and products they are used to getting when shopping at your brick-and-mortar location, or even better!
A digital storefront gives you countless opportunities to provide exactly the same top-quality services your clients are used to receiving, so you can maintain, and improve your brand reputation. Use it wisely and see your customers being as happy and satisfied with your services as always.
5. Digital Business Cards Meaning Social Media Channels
Aside from your website, the digital sphere offers numerous opportunities to create your ‘business cards‘ using social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Google My Business, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube or even TikTok, Snapchat and Clubhouse.
Each of those social networks allows you to showcase your business to its users, drive more traffic to your digital storefront (website), build brand recognition online, and acquire new customers. Make sure to utilize the lead generation opportunities you have in the digital world, and see your business thrive. You’ll be attracting new and existing clients to your brand at every moment in time.
A digital storefront is a necessary element of every efficient and long-term marketing strategy. It will allow you to maintain your business growth, customer relationships, and brand awareness. As a business owner, it gives you countless opportunities to automate, expand, and upgrade your well-known services. For customers, it’s an easy, accessible, and convenient way to access products they look for, anytime, and anywhere. The opportunities for business growth are endless, and all it takes is just a willingness to learn, adapt, and move forward stronger and wiser than ever before.