Why Businesses Need to Go Online

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Why Businesses Need to Go Online

First a bit of statistics: “In the first two months of 2021, the domestic e-commerce market has grown by 44% (to 430 billion rubles) over the same period last year. ⎯ reports the Russian Association of Internet Trading Companies (AKIT). Tax revenues alone came in at an additional 80 billion rubles for 2020. (A notable figure, agree). In addition, the development of online retail (retail sales) has made it possible for more than 100,000 compatriots to get a job during the year.

And in general, online opens up new opportunities for business. Namely:

  • Expanding the geography of presence. In theory, ⎯ is unlimited. The determining factor is the essence of your proposal, your product;
  • an additional sales channel (which can become the main one);
  • round-the-clock sales. “Putting” the case at a serious level (multifunctional website, thorough product information, sales automation, etc.), you can really get closer to this indicator, and this is ⎯ an additional flow of money;
  • rapid and widespread dissemination of knowledge about the company. This is ⎯ an opportunity. It’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of learning to make it a reality. About that ⎯ a little later;
  • Strengthening the image of the company, the impact on the growth of trust and customer loyalty. The value of the company’s product itself, of course, is of great importance, but it is still purchased by real people, and as you establish human relations with your clients, so will your business “live”. Online is invaluable here (website, emails, messengers, social networks, blog⎯think about it, it’s the whole world! Don’t be “booms”! Communicate and get people on your side!);
    cost cutting. Both operational and more substantial;
  • Improving customer service (informative product/service, responsiveness and feedback, etc.).

It is clear that by converting all or part of your business to an online format and using the capabilities of the Internet, you will get an additional flow of customer traffic and as a consequence, additional income, and maybe even change the scale of your business.

What prevents you from going online

As is usually the case, any problem is decomposed into components. And so here, the main reasons that prevent the transition of the business to the online are on two planes: psychological and technical.

The first has to do with the natural properties of the human psyche, including:

With conservatism or reluctance to change the usual way and rhythm of life. Going online (remote work), reconfiguring business processes and relationships with clients changes this habitual routine, causes discomfort and apathy;

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with the preconceived notion of remote staffing of many managers and business owners. They believe that working from home will drastically reduce the “payoff” of employees, let alone the growth of performance;
with fear of change;
fear of not knowing the new environment, new forms and methods of organizing business processes, inexperience, non-acceptance of the need to learn and master new business principles.

The second, technical:

  • with the real or perceived complexity of organizing working access to the necessary programs, corporate databases, setting up document management, etc.;
  • the problem of preserving personal data and trade secrets;
  • the physical impossibility of transferring business or a large part of it to a remote format;

What difficulties businesses face in the transition to online

All of the difficulties that arise for businesses in the transition to an online format can be divided into three types:

  • Psychological.
  • Related to the peculiarities of business.
  • Technical.

The first are manifested in a lack of understanding by the company management and the business owner of the complexity and scale of the work to move the business online and the need to attract a specialized organization for this or hire professionals in the staff: trying to do everything on their own. As a rule, it does not work!

In addition:

  • Are not ready to restructure business processes;
  • save money on the project;
  • do not want to wait long ⎯ need a quick payoff.

The second arise in determining the target audience: it is not always possible to easily identify the segment of consumers who will be interested in a particular type of product. Or there are problems with the formation of a trade offer, which would interest the target audience.

The third type of difficulties is dictated by the difficult technology of promoting the product online: this advertising, service, and the variety of forms of interaction with the consumer, logistics, and so on. Everything is complicated. Without a pro here is not enough.


Common Mistakes

As our great compatriot Alexander Sergeyevich said: “…and experience is the son of hard mistakes…”? Yes, everything is fair: mistakes ⎯ are natural in any endeavor, but the reward is nearby ⎯ invaluable experience. And it’s already yours!

Let’s name the common and typical mistakes when moving a business online. Here they are:

  • not paying the necessary and proper attention to the analysis of the target audience and competitors, automatically transferring the current experience in a new environment with a different perception of the relationship “seller-customer”, other principles and ways of presenting the goods and the company, the adjustment from competitors, service, etc.;
  • underestimates the fundamental importance of a very well and well-made website. Agree that the site ⎯ is like a business card of the company, its face. And if its (the site) design, informativeness, clarity or functionality will not be on top, the potential client will leave you. Now it is mandatory to have a mobile version;
  • not automated to the maximum business processes: both direct sales (CRM is a must and just need), and support services ⎯ accounting, collection of reports and analytics, resource planning, production and sales volumes;
  • not used all possible channels of promotion and sales, and their online provides a lot: it’s advertising on websites and search engines, promotion in social networks, email marketing, content marketing and much more;
  • not thought-out quality logistics, and now there are many opportunities: self-delivery, transportation companies, mail, couriers, postal terminals;

Solutions and recommendations.

The dilemma “to go online or not to go online,” I think no one today does not cause any special thoughts or doubts. Of course move! Here’s just how to do it most painlessly, not very expensive and do not lose your business and established positions. Here are a number of practical recommendations of analysts, practitioner experts and those who have gone down this path and successfully develop in the online space:

  • to conduct a thorough analysis of the target audience (TA): (geography, socio-demographic “portrait”, psychological and behavioral characteristics) and think deeply about the strategy
  • of adaptive adjustment “presentation” of their product to the needs of the CA;
  • To create a quality company website. Do not be stingy with your budget and use the services of good professionals. Remember that good and cheap ⎯ a rare combination;
  • Connect online payment services. There are many different ones now (Robokassa – payment system, Yukassa – payment service, payment acceptance system from Sberbank, QIWI payment system, etc.);
  • set up and use all channels to promote the product and the company (start contextual advertising in Yandex. Set up all your company’s promotion channels (start contextual advertising on Yandex or Google Adwords, use targeting and retargeting in social networks, perform SEO promotion, use email newsletters, content marketing, etc.);
  • Pay close attention to the organization of effective and convenient delivery to the consumer. There are many options now;
  • Organize a comfortable and efficient remote format for employees. Do not be stingy again (or gradually ⎯ from simple to more effective) to implement services (video and audio communication between employees – Skype, Zoom, corporate messengers, cloud services for data storage – Yandex. Disk, Google Drive, customer relationship management (CRM) services, electronic document management systems – Diadok, Taxcom, etc.);

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