Amid this global, rapidly changing COVID-19 pandemic, the world needs to adapt. We see that many brick-and-mortar stores have been trying to move their businesses online. Some already had an online presence; thus, they shift gears and efforts there. If you haven’t yet considered e-commerce or offering at least some of your services online, you should. Today, we will take a look at how to gain the best results when you move your physical business online.
Physical and Online: Customer Interaction
In a brick-and-mortar store, your customers can see and touch the items you are selling, or even try or test them. You, as a seller, can engage the shoppers in a conversation – ask if they need any recommendations or if they have any questions. Eye contact, your voice and intonation, your presence makes a difference.
Online is different. Your customers aren’t in the store, and they can’t touch the items. They can see an image of a product or a description of a service. However, customer interaction is not lost in online businesses. You have so many opportunities to reach out to your members, customers or prospects. Here are a few of them for you to consider:
- Email marketing – catch their email addresses, talk to them through your emails
- Chatbots and messengers on your website, e-store or landing page – be there for them through chat
- Social media channels – excellent for interactive communications and listening to what your customers want and need
- SMS – a popular and effective way to reach your customers
- Video channels such as Youtube, live streaming, live demos and presentations
Of course, make sure you are following all the guidelines and regulations, especially opt-in confirmations!
Store Window Displays and Online Visuals
Brick-and-mortar stores attract their customers with their storefronts, their window displays – asking them to come in and browse inside. No surprise we have a saying “window shopping”. But your online store has SEO and your online banners, carousels and digital assets to invite them in, and browse your virtual shop.
Remember, this challenging time requires respect and really quite reserved marketing – as you don’t know what your customers are going through. But it doesn’t mean your banners can’t be visible in a good way. If you can help your customers with what you offer, then try to be there for them.
Also, online shoppers have different behaviours – for example, they are browsing at different times of day (or even night!) – thus online businesses are there 24/7. But there’s lots of potential for automation to help keep your business running day and night. For example, email marketing as a channel has outstanding automated workflow programs as well as integrations with many other different channels. Here are some useful articles for you to read:
- How SMS Marketing Fits into Your Email Marketing Strategy – this article explains how SMS and email fit together to form an effective cross-channel marketing approach.’
- Email Marketing Automation Demystified – explore and learn about email marketing automation, and find some inspiration for your automated email workflows.
- Modernise Your Marketing With Smaily Integrations – learn more about what different systems and programs Smaily has integrations with to increase your business visibility and operational and marketing efficiency.
Can it Really Work for Your Business?
It is not easy, it is true, especially during these stressful times, where you need to evaluate all your business areas, supply and demand, marketing and finances. But moving your physical store online is definitely possible. And we have a great example for you.
Fitness industry – definitely going through tough times now. Today, we want to give a shoutout to businesses like MyFitness, who quickly set up an online platform called NETFIT. They’ve done an amazing job, for example, offering digital fitness videos and classes. A fantastic example of providing services online. Here’s what they say:
NETFIT is an online platform of MyFitness, where weekly live trainings take place and later all the trainings can be found in the trainings library, so if you miss a live training you can choose your time to do the training again. MyFitness created FREE online training solution for everybody within a day, so people could still go to their favourite trainings & work out with their favourite trainers. Amazing possibility to keep the community together still… until opening of the clubs again. Go check it out and work out safely, while at home: myfitness.ee/netfit
Karin Maandi, Head of Marketing Estonia at My Fitness AS
Of course, these are unprecedented times – stressful to all – both big and small businesses as well as consumers. However, there are always ways out there to try to keep your business running until it all comes back to normal.
Our Response to COVID-19: Support Small Businesses
If you are a small business facing difficult times because of the pandemic, if you’re trying to move your physical store to an e-store or other digital platform, we want to help you. Send an email to email@example.com for a custom offer just for you!
We have also partnered with Voog to offer you some help and encouragement during this stressful time. As a limited-time offer, they will give you Voog’s online store subscription for free for six months. This exclusive offer is valid until April 30, 2020 – find more information about this fantastic discount here.
Building a better business is about forming and securing relationships. Customers want to be able to trust you, and that includes any and all marketing you do. If you’re sending out email campaigns directly to customers or would-be customers, it’s important that they remain safe from hackers and scammers, and that your business stays secure, too. Read from the next blog post how to achieve that.
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