Everything is online nowadays, and that currently shows no hint of changing.
Between social media, smart technologies, and the ever-increasing reach of internet capabilities, the way that we do business has completely changed. Businesses that want to stay ahead of the curve need to make sure that their organisation works just as well online as it does offline.
Digital transformation – the idea of using digital and online technologies to streamline and improve business – is for every business. No matter what industry you work towards, and how niche the product you offer is, every business can benefit from going digital, and we’re here to explain how and why.
Why should I go digital?
There’s an old saying: if it’s not on Google Maps, does it really exist?
Businesses need the recognition that comes from being available online, and need to have a presence on the internet. Today’s consumers aren’t going to just get in their car and drive to see if you’re open or if you have a particular product in stock; they’re going to hop online, and run a search for your organisation.
If you don’t have a Facebook page, Google Business, or any other form of online presence, your business is going to suffer. Consumers who want an answer outside of opening hours will move onto an organisation that does have a presence online, and consumers who want to buy a product but want it delivered are going to find a business that fulfills their requests entirely.
This is what the COVID-19 pandemic showed us. When brick-and-mortar stores shut down, businesses that already had an online presence and a digital strategy benefited a lot earlier than businesses that had to scramble to create one. Even now, those businesses are reaping the benefits of being first – their recommendation rate is higher, and people know about them more.
What are the benefits of going digital?
Businesses that use digital technologies to streamline their business processes see a lot of improvement over time. The biggest transformation tends to happen in customer experience.
When your organisation goes online, customers benefit directly. Suddenly, having a chat bot answer their responses, or automating order fulfilment, means that your customers are the centre of your business. When customers are the centre of your business, profits rise – and everyone is happy with higher profits.
Digital transformation can also save you time. By shifting all your records into the cloud or into digital, you get much faster access to them, and a lot of insight into how your organisation actually runs. It’s easier to see pain points in your organisation, and much faster to resolve them. By digitising the way you do business, your business runs faster, smoother, and with a lot less risk.
No more lost records. No more misplaced orders. No more time wasted or waiting for customers to come and find you. No more missed opportunities.
So, how do I get started?
The first step to digital transformation is a website.
Ideally, your website has a merchant component, but if you’re not there yet you can start with a simple web-page. This won’t be useful to you for long – just being online isn’t magically going to bring you profit – but it can kickstart your digital transformation approach by giving you a voice on the internet.
Opt for a clean web-page that loads fast on both web and mobile. Make sure that it has your address and contact information, giving people a way to connect with you even out of opening hours.
As a source of information, it will help to update people on what your business does, what services you offer, and a price range.
Go online, pick your social media of choice: Instagram is good for businesses that thrive off beautiful photography; Facebook is better for old-school brands who want to communicate directly to their consumers, and TikTok is a good platform for up-and-coming brands who want to appeal to a younger audience. Regardless of what social media you go for, make yourself a page. Start talking to consumers. Build your brand online with a personality and a voice.
Also invest in good ads. The internet might be an excellent way to connect to consumers, but it’s also vast. Advertising your services is essential, otherwise you run the risk of nobody finding your page.
Merchants can also benefit from having an online store, especially if they have a product that’s hard to find anywhere else or a product that is in high demand. Stores that sell cosmetic supplies, stationery, hair products, and toys can see their profits skyrocket in this case as the barriers to purchase are alleviated a lot through an online store.
What about internal processes?
The points mentioned above are all external factors – things that can definitely aid your business in the long-run, but are more focused on building new profit and expanding customer reach. For a business to truly benefit from digital transformation, you also need to look at your internal processes, how digital technology can help improve the way your business runs, and how it can help cut down on costs.
From payroll to order fulfilment, digital transformation can help your business run faster and smoother, with less room for human error. Although it takes some time to set up and to digitally transform your business, making your company run on internal digital processes frees up your employees’ time and saves you money in the long run. No more mistaken orders or employees working on easy-to-lose physical records: you can now focus on other factors.
Should I transform my business?
The world that we live in is always changing and moving towards becoming increasingly more technologically-advanced, not less. Regardless of whatever industry you work in, if you want to make sure your profit stays high and you stay on top of the game, digital transformation is not something you will be able to avoid forever. Businesses that transform their businesses earlier reap the benefits of being first to do so, but it’s never too late to give your business a boost by making it easier to find, easier to use, and easier to run on all points.
If you’re interested in transforming your business and going digital, but you don’t know how to go about it, we’re happy to get you started. Leave us a message, and we’ll find a way of working together that works for you, your business, and your circumstances.