If Your Small Enterprise Hasn’t Gone Digital But, You’re Going to Be Left Behind
By Rieva Lesonsky
Post sponsored by Alibaba.com
The word “transformation” conjures images of immediate change. Like a magical act by Harry Houdini, the elephant is there in one second and gone in the next. But the digital transformation of small businesses has not quite developed at this rate. It’s more of a slower, evolutionary pace.
This pace worked for many companies until earlier this year a global pandemic rocked the world and changed both business and consumer behavior almost instantly.
If your company is still catching up, you need to start or accelerate your digitization process now. This can seem overwhelming because there are so many areas: marketing, sales, customer experience and retention, fundraising, hiring and retaining employees, procurement, globalization, and more. On the positive side, after digitization, you have more time to focus on business and growth strategies.
If you are concerned with the digitization process, you cannot ignore the effects of the coronavirus. Most consumers have apps on their phones for restaurants and retailers that they often do business with, order in advance and arrange roadside pickup. This is part of the normalization of digital life.
Consumers now have higher expectations of businesses as many were digitized before businesses. One area that customers are increasingly preferring is digital payments. While offering contactless payment options was a direction many companies had already headed, COVID-19 gave that a big boost.
Consumers – and employees – are reluctant to exchange money or even a credit card with others. With contactless payment solutions, customers can easily pay from their phone or credit card.
There are numerous contactless systems available, including those from Square, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Stripe, and PayPal.
A report by CardFlight shows that smartphone and credit card contactless payments increased 107% from the week of March 2 through the week of June 29.
The coronavirus has made it harder to lure customers into your stores. You may need to encourage them to shop from you. Which digital customer loyalty solutions like Belly, Loyalzoo and Spendgo can help you with this.
Marketing is going digital
Marketing is another area in which digitization has found its way. After all, social media is nothing more than a digitized version of word-of-mouth marketing. We all know how effective email marketing is for small businesses. They get about 4,100% ROI and earn you $ 42 for every dollar you spend. There are a number of email marketing companies that can help you automate the email process such as: B. HubSpot, Constant Contact, AWeber and Mailchimp.
The ultimate way for some companies to go digital is to work remotely. By this point, as a retailer in the COVID-19 pandemic, you should have a robust e-commerce platform in place to supplement lost in-store sales. And it can be a good time to consider converting your retail store into an online store permanently.
E-commerce on the rise
Numerous reports and studies show that e-commerce sales are booming despite the pandemic. StockApps.com reports data from the US Census Bureau showing online sales increased 31.8% in Q2 2020 compared to Q1 and increased 44.5% compared to Q2 2019. Total online sales in the second quarter reached $ 211.5 billion, or 16.1% of total retail sales, compared to 10.8% of total retail sales in the second quarter of 2019.
And as we told you a few weeks ago, eMarketer revised its 2020 retail sales forecast to find that online sales are expected to grow 18% to $ 710 billion this year.
Take the opportunity in Super September
If you are a retailer, wholesaler, or small manufacturer, you need to focus on your online sales. Fortunately, this month is Super September at Alibaba.com where you can take advantage of the great promotions that they are offering.
One lesson that all retailers will hopefully have learned this year is the need to diversify their supply chains. Super September is a great time to discover new suppliers on Alibaba.com.
Over 30,000 sellers are taking part in Super September this year. Buyers can view the goods in 3D reality and virtual showrooms and make connections with potential partners from around the world.
Alibaba.com also offers special incentives including:
- Discounts on livestream products
- Black Friday group buy discounts
- New buyers can save up to $ 60 in transaction fees
- All buyers can save up to $ 200 on logistics by placing orders through Alibaba.com Freight
- Receive a 20% discount on third-party on-site inspection fees
And if you are concerned about getting your goods from the vendors to your doors, don’t. Alibaba.com Freight is offering logistical support in Super September, making the shipping process less complex by helping business owners organize bulk shipments and providing the ability to instantly compare, book, manage and rate ocean and air freight online in real time follow.
Trade fairs are becoming virtual
Understanding the need to digitize Alibaba.com has transformed the traditional fair into 21st century versions. So many trade fairs and exhibitions have been canceled due to the corona virus. To fill this gap, Alibaba.com launched Alibaba.com’s US Online Trade Shows, which are category-specific, multi-day virtual events that connect US manufacturers and wholesalers live online with business buyers .
If you are concerned that your small business is too small to successfully digitally transform, then you shouldn’t. According to a McKinsey report, companies with fewer than 100 employees are 2.7 times more likely to experience successful digital transformation than large corporate giants.
DON’T MISS: Ready to get back to business? Now is the perfect time to step up your ecommerce game