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E-commerce and digital businesses are on the rise, especially in the wake of the pandemic. The trend is set to continue and accelerate in the coming years. Now is the time to undertake a digital transformation and position your business for long-term success. In this article, we tell you all about how to do it.

More people are buying from online storefronts than physical brick and mortar outlets. It’s a pattern that was already on the rise, but the pandemic outbreak and the resulting social distancing has accelerated the shift. The lockdowns upended our society, forcing people to work and shop online and leading businesses to reinvent their services and engagement methods with customers. There were fears that the lockdowns would cripple the economy, but the economy adapted, and risks were mitigated. E-commerce surfaced as the mainstay of commercial activity, and it allowed for sustained economic activity and has been a key part of our economic recovery.

The online commercial activity was particularly aided by the increase in average screen time per person. As people were staying at home, they were also using the internet and social media a lot more, thus making it a fertile ground for economic activity. As a result, many storefronts like Shopify and WooCommerce saw exponential growth in the number of users. The end to lockdowns eased the trend, but it has yet sustained and is likely to remain central to the commercial activity going forward even after COVID-19.

The Emergence of E-commerce as a Lucrative Avenue

The UK has the most advanced E-commerce market in Europe, making it doubly important to have an impactful digital footprint.

It is more important than ever to switch to a digital storefront to remain competitive as a business. In addition, you also have to make sure that your digital presence stands out in today’s highly saturated online landscape. According to figures by the Office of National Statistics,

The ease and convenience of shopping for almost anything online has reached more consumers during the pandemic, and they will not be keen to give it up. Businesses have also found it cost-effective to set up online stores instead of solely brick and mortar ones. As a result, E-commerce has been on constant growth over the past year and a half, and it is set to continue growing ahead as well. Now is the best time to invest in E-commerce, and if you have not yet done it, it’s still not too late.

Here’s How Your Business Can Benefit From Going Digital

There are many advantages to having an E-commerce storefront to conduct business; you can do business all over the world, you don’t have to bear high upfront costs of setting up a physical store, you can offer a wider variety of options, and if you are a relatively smaller business, you will have a level playing field and will not be disadvantaged by a lack of flagship stores, huge marketing budgets, or a massive workforce like the big names in the industry.

In addition to having the advantage of being so low-cost, E-commerce storefronts can remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help clients with information and resources on how to avail their services. Unlike a traditional storefront, a web-based shop can be visited by anyone outside of typical business hours. This enhances the likelihood of increasing sales and drawing clients from all around the world.

By using an E-commerce storefront to do business, companies can sell goods and services without needing to keep a physical inventory on hand. This is referred to as Drop-shipping, which is a cost-effective method of selling a wide selection of products online. This form of online business can be used to market popular seasonal or specialised products or linked to online auction services to increase sales.

Many firms that have previously functioned through physical storefronts have shifted to a virtual storefront to draw in new customers, with access to millions of potential customers who shop online. With an increasing preference for virtual storefronts, a digital transformation towards E-commerce is the way of the future.

Key components of Digital Transformation

With the increased adoption of online technologies, it is easier than ever for businesses to communicate with their customers and meet their needs.

Digital transformation is the idea that businesses need to use new technologies and business models to function and provide goods and services to their customers and be more competitive in the fluid and changing economy driven by digitisation. There are a few essential things that will improve the chances of your digital transformation becoming a success:

Customer Engagement:

Whether a business is online or offline, customer engagement remains the most important factor in getting new clients and retaining old ones. The continued success of any business depends upon the satisfaction of the customers.

If you really want to harness the power of technology to take the relationship with your customers to the next level, you should consider investing in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. CRMs analyse all the customer data and can provide detailed and exhaustive insights into customer behaviours and preferences. You can take the insights drawn from the CRM system to develop more precise and strategic marketing campaigns focused on delivering a personalised experience for the customer and optimising business growth.

Employee Empowerment:

Customer relationship management (CRM) software not just allows you to have better relations with your customers but also be of great value by enhancing employee experience and engagement and making them feel empowered. By giving your employees all the tools they need to manage the various processes of your business effectively, the employees will feel like a valuable asset to the organisation. The increase in morale will, in turn, improve the customer experience.

If employees are not well trained in using the tools at their disposal, or if they have restrictions on what they can do by their own volition, employees will feel like they are just a cog in the organisational machine, leading to a feeling of detachment from work. In contrast, satisfied and motivated employees will mean improved business performance and a better experience for customers.

Optimise Your Operations:

A successful online business uses technology as a way towards greater efficiency. Digital transformation allows for streamlining work processes, rational and data-driven decision-making and provides greater operational visibility across all channels.

For well over a century, businesses across industries have realised that streamlining core business processes is essential to gain a competitive advantage and enhance productivity. It used to be concentrated in supply chains back in the day, but today, optimisation of operations relates to addressing inefficiencies that may potentially limit online traffic and subsequent business generation. It draws upon marketing, communications, PR, and a number of other modalities. The end result is a notable improvement in the bottom line.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is similar to regular marketing in its intent but very different from other forms of marketing in the medium. It makes use of information technology to reach consumers, perform business operations and cater to the needs of online buyers. Today’s fluid and changing economy is being driven by digitisation, and to not employ digital marketing is essentially forfeiting the potential for growth.

Big Data, Machine Learning, & Predictive Analytics:

Businesses today are able to leverage the power of big data to help in decision making and optimising marketing strategies for best results.

The amount of data being collected has increased many folds, which has elevated the importance of analytics and machine learning in business operations and setting up an online presence. Until the recent past, the use of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (MIL), and other statistical methods for solving business problems were solely done by data scientists. The potential of these methods in the workings of businesses is so consequential that some big companies have been keeping data teams to account for all specifics and the narrow range of problems.

Businesses today are realising that they can benefit greatly if they start using advanced analysis techniques to understand consumer tendencies and better serve them, thereby improving the reach of the business. You don’t need expensive computing systems to make use of predictive analytics and machine learning in your digital transformation process. With the new tools that are available in the market today, you can start making use of big data to get all sorts of benefits, such as; lead scoring, predicting time to close, supply chain distribution and optimization, forecasting consumer habits and demands, the possibility of introducing new products and services, etc. These are just a few of the many potential ways in which big data, machine learning and predictive analytics can be used to improve your bottom line.

Running a business online is not always easy, especially when you are first entering the digital space. However, if done right, it can be highly rewarding and lucrative and should be pursued by all means. Setting up a successful and effective digital strategy and roadmap can be a complex affair, and that is where we come in. At Apex Pro Media, we have a skilled and experienced team of professionals who stand ready to uplift your business and help realise its potential.

Ready to go digital? Do it right with our Marketing and Digital services!

Summary:

  • E-Commerce experienced a dramatic rise in 2020 and has continued into this year as well. It is the way forward.
  • Online storefronts don’t have the limitations of brick and mortar stores and can thus reach far and wide.
  • Businesses are rapidly shifting away from a focus on physical footprint — a digital transformation is underway. 
  • It’s an ideal time to grow the reach of one’s business. The key components of digital transformation are:
    • Engaging with customers more intimately
    • Empowering the employees with the right digital tools  
    • Streamlining the business operations
    • Marketing and reaching potential customers digitally
    • Using data and analytics for strategizing 
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