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Guest post by Katie Conroy, Creator of Advicemine.com
The pandemic quickly reshaped out we’re all handling daily life—and how we’re doing business. Some businesses are more dramatically impacted than others, with their bank accounts plummeting and profit margins dwindling. If you’re one of the many small business owners who’s struggling to regain your footing, read on for some key strategies that can not only help you survive but thrive.
If you normally focus on conducting business via a brick-and-mortar establishment, and especially if that is your sole source of income, it’s time to rethink your strategies. In fact, Divante predicts that businesses that fail to embrace tech-oriented retail solutions will ultimately fail due to the heavy shift toward ecommerce. With consumers rethinking their lifestyles and shopping habits, the last thing you want to do is get left behind.
These days, the reasons to invest in a website far outweigh any possible protests you might have against one. For one thing, consumers expect everyone to have a website. In fact, they not only expect you to have one, if you don’t show up when they do an online search for you, there is a good chance they will land on your competitor’s page instead. What’s more, a website boosts your company’s credibility, and it allows you to showcase what’s new in your products, services and activities.
Simply having a page to represent your company isn’t enough to remain competitive these days. Maybe you have a website, but it’s outmoded. Your website needs to function with modern sensibilities, and on all sorts of gadgetry—from phones to tablets to desktops. Also, sites with old school content, dated typeface, and 20th-century backgrounds will send the wrong message to visitors. And note that flashing icons, autoloading music, and dynamic pointers are off-putting to today’s internet users.
If you’re in need of an upgrade, Entrepreneur points out that an ecommerce website can be on the complicated side. Unless you’re adept at computer programming or very comfortable with website builders, it’s prime time to consider hiring a professional rather than attempting a DIY project. A pro can ensure the end result is both appealing and functional, while a DIY version might be time and money wasted on an ineffective design.
You can hire CSS experts to create a site that provides everything you and your audience need, and thanks to the technology behind it, you can ultimately modify some aspects of the completed website yourself, such as colors and fonts. Just be sure to outline what you want in the end product and how soon you need it. Also, keep in mind that the cost for qualified freelancers will vary according to things like their location and experience level.
Upgrade the Homebase
Has your business implemented store picking and curbside pickup? While driven by the need to keep customers and staff safe, retailers can also bank on being more profitable with a well-strategized transition to this type of shopping model. It makes for a convenient, on-the-go experience for your audience, and those who prefer to shop in the store still have that option.
Consider how curbside pickup could work for your establishment. Will your website offer a pickup option, or will customers phone in their orders? How will you verify inventory quantities? Will credit card sales be pre-authorized prior to checking item availability? Will POS be automated or manually entered? You need to think through order staging, returns and exchanges, and so forth, but a carefully considered plan will ensure efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Also, given customers’ concerns regarding cleanliness these days, it might behoove you to address any physical upgrades to your store. Shabby carpeting, poor lighting, and worn walls can create the impression of a less-than-clean environment, yet flooring, lights and paint are low-cost ways to spruce up your store.
If your business is struggling thanks to COVID-19, make some small investments that can pay off in big ways. Address your ecommerce situation and make any website and in-store upgrades that are due. As a result, your customers will feel better about shopping with you, and you can count on safely sailing through the pandemic.