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Submitted by Sharon Wagner

Many companies scrambled to get online during the coronavirus crisis as in-store profits plummeted. The good news is that if you weren’t already online, heading to the web for your sales efforts is an excellent move. Here’s how to make an e-commerce pivot work for your small business.

Create an App to Attract Customers

Think about the biggest names in the retail business: Walmart, Amazon and others. One thing they all have in common is an accessible app that offers customers an easy and convenient way to shop. Plus, many retailers build rewards and other perks into their apps—and your business can do the same.

Launching an app can help solidify your branding, encourage client retention, and make your business more competitive. While Entrepreneur maintains that an app isn’t always the solution, if it fills a customer need, and provides value, you should go for it. You can even encourage more sales by implementing rewards programs and personalizing each user’s experience.

Diversify Your Income Streams

After the experience of running a business during a global pandemic, you likely recognize how important diversifying your income is. If in-store sales are down due to the coronavirus or any other disaster, having an online revenue stream can keep your company afloat.

Plus, taking steps like automating your dropshipping store can mean more free time to pursue business expansion. Dropshipping also means you don’t need to store products on-site, whether that’s at home or in a warehouse.

Forbes suggests considering how you can diversify your business. You might create a digital product that you design once and sell over and over. Or, you might offer a service digitally, whether in the form of online classes, phone consultations, or anything else of value to customers.

Get Your Site Set Up—and Optimized

Ideally, your brand will already be present online—both in terms of online sales and social media engagement. In fact, not having a website could be costing you. If you’re lagging behind recent trends, now is the time to go completely digital.

You can choose to outsource hired help to create a website or go the DIY route. With either an e-commerce platform or a site with built-in sales tools, you can automate much of the sales process. Then, you can focus on creating products and managing customer service.

Recruit Remote Help

Hiring a developer to create tech for your business is a good move. But beyond launching an app, hiring remote help can continue to support your business while saving you money. For example, you could outsource customer service, leaving even more time in your schedule for developing products and handling other aspects of the business.

Or you could work with a marketing professional to boost your brand, design a new logo, or create engaging social media posts. Keep in mind that if you’re constantly emailing and receiving large images, you can use a convert JPG to PDF tool so these files are easier to send. This tool will even allow you to save all your images on one PDF.

While hiring and managing employees can become a headache—and involves tax responsibilities—outsourcing via freelance workers is much simpler. You’ll still need to create a job description, outline the project scope, and screen candidates, of course. But it can all be done remotely when you’re hiring freelance team members.

Don’t Forget About Advertising

Whether you’re expanding an existing business or starting an e-commerce operation from scratch, advertising will be crucial. Online advertising—via social media especially—can be effective in targeting the appropriate audience. If you still have a local physical store, online marketing efforts may be even more effective than window signage. After all, plenty of consumers are still staying home due to the pandemic’s aftereffects.

Regardless of the product or service you sell, moving your business model online is an excellent move. Whether it’s due to the pandemic’s residual effects or simply the high cost of commercial rent, embracing e-commerce might be the future of your small business.

This article is brought to you by South Lake Tablet, your online source for South Lake County news & events. For more information, please visit our website today!

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