As a small business owner, you probably don’t need to learn much else about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted small businesses. If you run a brick-and-mortar store, you know how drastically it has changed your sales, and you know the importance of using the web to keep your company afloat and thriving both now and in the future.
We’re not here to talk about how many more consumers are shopping online or expecting companies to offer contactless pickup. We’re not here to discuss the why.
No, we’re here to talk about how you can actually use the web to build your online presence and increase sales along the way. Here are some quick, actionable tips to consider for boosting your business during the pandemic.
Need to upgrade your business’s digital marketing? Innovast Digital Marketing offers full-service web design, marketing, and SEO services to take your business to the next level! Send a message or call (860) 634-3836.
IMPROVE YOUR ONLINE STORE
Let’s start with how you can make your online store better serve your customers:
Check your platform.
Without a good platform, your online store can limit your business and present many problems down the road. Moral of the story? Make sure you’re using the right platform. There are way too many to choose from, but three of the most popular ones are Shopify, WooCommerce, and Big Commerce. While each of these has its perks, we recommend Shopify. Not only does it offer awesome features and favorable pricing, but it’s really easy to use.
Revisit your warehouse process.
Another way to give your online store a boost is to reassess your warehouse order picking. Are you implementing zone picking or wave picking? Each has its pros and cons, and it’s important to figure out which makes the most sense for your company.
For example, zone picking can reduce inventory errors because the workers are familiar with their zones, but there can be only one scheduling period per shift. Wave picking, on the other hand, offers more flexibility, but it’s not the best option for accommodating high-priority picks. Take a close look at your inventory, infrastructure, team, warehouse layout, and technology to determine the right picking technique for your operation.
Clean up your checkout.
The average rate of shopping cart abandonment worldwide is 75.6 percent. If your checkout experience is not easy and fast, your rate will likely be higher. Make sure the checkout process on your site is simple and clean. There should be plenty of whitespace.
Also, consider hiding navigation on your checkout pages. Anything you can do to reduce clutter will ultimately lead to a smoother, more enjoyable experience for customers.
Use simple, clear headlines and descriptions.
When a consumer visits your online store, they should know immediately what your company is offering and where to find the type of items they’re looking for. Use clear, attention-grabbing headlines for product pages, articles, and other pages. Apply this logic to your product descriptions as well. You might be surprised by how many e-commerce businesses have poorly-written product descriptions that confuse customers more than they inform them.
Invest in professional photography.
Ditch the stock photos. We know, they’re beautiful. But thousands of other businesses are using the same ones. Budget for professional photos to be taken of your products and/or services (or do them yourself). This will help to make your site more unique, and it’s also the surest way to get photos that help to tell your company’s story. The newest smartphones can produce gorgeous professional-quality photos, so look into purchasing a new device if your current phone is outdated. You may be able to trade in your old model and save on a model with a pro camera system.
Provide more payment options.
While you want your e-commerce store to provide a simplified experience, you also want to offer plenty of options when it comes to payment processing. Credit and debit cards are obvious forms of payment you should accept. But if you haven’t already, add digital wallet solutions like eCheck, PayPal, Due, Apple Pay, and Goggle Pay.
UP YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING GAME
Once you’ve created an online store to be proud of, it’s time to get the word out and attract some visitors!
Understand customer challenges.
Knowing what your customers are going through is the foundation of effective marketing. After all, marketing is all about showing customers that you can meet a need, and the only way to do that is to learn what they need. Obviously, challenges have changed during the pandemic, so reach out to customers through surveys, cold calls, emails, and any other methods of communication to learn how you can best serve them.
Speak to those challenges.
Once you have an idea of what your customers need, work toward meeting them. Communicate to your customers the steps you’re taking in response to the pandemic. Offer new products and services that can help them in everyday life. Meeting customers where they are now is essential to your success.
Focus on social media.
Social media is where it’s at when it comes to building an online presence for your business. Take advantage of the free and inexpensive features for businesses on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms. Engage with customers and potential customers through chat, and post quality, relevant content on the reg.
Use email marketing.
Don’t forget about email, which can be a valuable tool for your business marketing. Work toward building an email list, clearly lay out your goals, and implement different types of emails (e.g., promotional emails, transactional emails, newsletters, etc.). Of course, be sure to keep your email marketing tasteful and interesting.
The pandemic has closed off or limited walk-in traffic for physical stores across all industries, which means it’s now more critical than ever to use the web for your small business. Make sure you’re taking all the necessary steps to upgrade your e-commerce store and boost your online presence. Along with considering the tips listed here, keep researching to find ways that you can set your business up for success during and after the pandemic!