As we all know and witnessed, when the pandemic hit all of us, the world was put on pause. Everything that we usually do was transformed into something different. The ways of our lives and normal routines have been changed like getting coffee from your local coffee shops, buying your vitamins, going out with the kids, enjoying night-outs with friends, and even our normal curfew hours. All of the SMEs during the pandemic have been greatly affected by this sudden outburst of the new disease that we do not know of. As for the local businesses around our area, their way of business changed as the consumers tend to forego the non-essential items and focus on the basic necessities for the family. During the early lockdown season in the Philippines, the SMEs during the pandemic are the most affected ones especially the local service businesses like the laundry shops, salons, spas, and many others. All these are non-essential and have a higher risk of danger because of the direct contract they will have with their customers. As they continue to thrive for a couple of months, some still managed to stay and pay their rent but for others, they had to make a hard decision to forego some of their workers or totally shutdown their businesses.
Read Also: Business Recovery Strategies for SMEs After Pandemic
When the vaccines started rolling out, some businesses are starting to open gradually. But for some SMEs during the pandemic thought of a better solution to the problem and played it smart that is by opening a new door to becoming and starting an online business. A study was created in America that 2.8 million SMEs during the pandemic started their online businesses and were defined as more active on their websites with proper domain names. And these SMEs started to employ more or less 10 employees and all these were tracked that they started during the height of the pandemic. As SMEs during the pandemic became the backbone of the economy, they tend to hire more people and give better work opportunities to the people around a certain area. With the bigger company’s cost-cutting and the layoff of workers, the SMEs were flexible enough to transition fast into the digital world and convert their businesses online. More local businesses mean more job opportunities for the people. As these SMEs get their usual supply from their different resources, these gave the local manufacturers to continue and provide jobs for the people.
Transitioning to an Online Business
For the business owners and the SMEs during the pandemic, let us discuss the pros and cons of transitioning your business into digital:
What are the Advantages of an Online Business?
1. Less overhead costs
By doing the business online and possibly in the comfort of your home, the business does not need to have extra costs on utilities like electricity and extra internet connections. The SME does not need to pay rent as you are working in the safety of your home. But for some SMEs with bigger inventories, these may count for the storage warehouses. But by doing business online, you can save more rather than having an office away from your home.
2. Increase your database
The database is important to gain more loyal customers and be able to reach them when times of need. These databases can be gathered when they sign up for your emailers and newsletters, and sign up for memberships that can be used as a remarketing tool for your products in the future. These databases can also be studied to better understand your market and can be used to establish a better marketing strategy for the business.
3. Increase customer satisfaction by customization
By doing the online business, you give your customers the freedom to choose on their own with the touch of their fingertips. They can choose what products they want to purchase, they choose the correct color, and they choose the date and time for the delivery or booking schedule. By doing this, you are giving your customer satisfaction by making them decide on their own and their own free time.
4. Higher reach
Social media and the internet is a great tool to promote your business. If you have the correct knowledge and the right tools to use, you will be able to reach thousands and millions of people with your simple ad. You can also be able to reach even the people abroad and outside your area that the local and traditional billboards you see in the streets. You just need to study and fix your correct targeting parameters so the cost would be worth it.
With the digital technology that we have now, we can easily transition our business based on what our customer needs. Online payments are one example of this. E-cash payments are becoming more popular because of their convenience and not having to worry on bring cash. At the convenience of their homes and by the touch of their fingers, they will be able to transfer money from their bank to the local stores that they wanted to purchase from.
What are the Disadvantages of an Online Business?
1. Credibility issues
Many people, especially the older generation do not trust easily. With the news on scamming, people are starting to get scared to purchase their goods online. Some news contains that they receive items differently from the one posted online. Many SMEs during the pandemic find it hard to show people that they are a legit business and credible, all they have to do is to prove and show customer reviews to build rapport with their potential customers.
2. Customer services issues
SMEs during the pandemic find it hard to face the customer queries and questions rather than doing it face to face. Same with how we communicate with our peers, there are some information and certain words that are more suitable when said personally than being read by the other person at the end of the phone. Body languages are a great form to show compassion and care for the people and this can only be done doing the face to face interactions.
3. Online competitors
With the ease and convenience of doing online business, many small and start-up businesses are starting to develop their own digital presence online and the market starts to become saturated. Many competitors start to show and competition is becoming stronger. You just have to use the right free tools available online to grow your business.
Why Should You Start an Online Business?
As the world is ever-changing, we have to easily adapt to changes quickly. With the use of the internet and the available free tools online like social media. You can be able to transition your business properly and smoothly if prepared. You can be able to reach the correct target markets and boost your business to the people they do not know you.
1. Inexpensive to start
By starting an online business, you do not need to invest and capitalize more on the expensive and recurring costs. There are just a few things you need like a computer, purchase your domain name online for your website, and a good website builder and its subscription. To order to look legit to your customers, do not seek the free website makers as these usually give an impression that you do not value your business and do not take it seriously. If you have more capital with the online business, you have more possible options you can avail yourself to make it work. The main point is you do not need to lose all your savings to make it work.
2. Major potential and growth
With the local business in the streets, you just reach a certain amount of people and reach a certain number of passersby. With the use of the internet and social media, you can be able to reach millions of people by using the correct tools available online. You just have to be prepared as this entails costs to target a bigger audience but you just know also the correct targeting parameters and correct people to reach for it will not just go to waste.
3. Available 24/7
Always available and accessible is one of the advantages of being an online business. People on their available times and convenient hours can visit you on your website, search for your goods and services and schedule necessary appointments on your website. Customers are somehow as being impulsive and when this happens it is best to be available to them all the time. It is important also that online payment options are available also for them to end the buying journey of the customers and not end their desires by just scrolling your goods and services as these may cause them to look for other competitors and end up not purchasing on your site.
You just have to have the proper resources and tools to make it all work. You just have the free will to learn and adopt these changes to surpass all the challenges you will face. Internet is such an amazing and overwhelming tool that can use for your local business. There are some agencies that can help you with their correct knowledge and expertise on these and can walk you throughout the process of boosting your business. You just have to be ready and prepared for it to make it work.
Read Also: Why Do Manufacturing Companies Prefer to do Business in Bataan?
How to launch the Online Store?
As you transition to an online business, here is the checklist to start it off:
1. Choose the right website
This is the critical part of creating your online business store. You have to choose the correct platform that you will use for a long time. You may hire a website developer to create your own website and use the domain name you purchased but that entails more cost than paying a subscription with some eCommerce platforms. These platforms have features that you are looking for and there are some templates you can choose from. You just have to be creative and study the platform you purchase to make the most out of it and worth every penny.
2. Add your items or offerings
After establishing your online platform, you can now add your items and services to the website. You have to choose the right images for it. People are known to be more visual than readers. They tend to understand what is explained, seen than being read. So it is critical to showcase your product properly with photos. You may need to add copies and descriptions to it to explain the benefits of the products and services you are offering for better understanding.
3. Shipping Options
One of the key drivers for online clients is fast and reliable shipping couriers. It is best to get an affordable yet reliable third-party supplier for this. People can still cancel their order if it takes longer and they also take into consideration in their buying purchase the shipping schedule.
4. Everything on the site works
It is best to double and triple-check all your website features. If the lead forms are working, if the submit buttons are working, and all the photos and videos are shown and playing. It is also important that your website it working properly and fast to have a good bounce rate for your website. People tend to lose interest if they wait for a long time.
Read Also: Top Business Ideas for OFWs
Bria Homes offer unique house and lot for sale and condominium for sale around the Philippines. A suitable place to start your online business that offers unique unit sizes, there is always a space for your stocks and an area to place your small home office for your business. It can be attainable through bank loans. With Bria Homes, you can have a safe place you call home and at the time, a place where you can start your business. It is also strategically located in an area where businesses are booming.
Want to start your online business without going out in the comfort of your own home? Inquire now with Bria Homes on this link.
Written by Yna Faundo