The Unprecedented Growth in Businesses Moving from Bricks-and-Mortar to Online
We are all aware of the serious impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the Retail industry. Shops were forced to close their doors, and footfall had to move into the digital space if businesses wanted to continue to trade. Whereas in previous years the typical growth of online shopping was rising at a steady 2% year-on-year, from 2019 to 2020 the UK saw an incredible 16.1% leap as nimble retailers moved from bricks-and-mortar to online to survive. Internet sales in January 2021 reached a record-breaking high of 36.3% as a proportion for the entire UK Retail sector.
With this trend expected to continue, Retail companies typically trading as bricks-and-mortar alone have an opportunity to adapt to these new consumer buying behaviours and develop a dual presence to avail of the wider and changing market.
Carve Out Your Place in the Digital Space
Consumers are online now more than ever before, so catering to your growing digital market could help your business achieve an impressive ROI and generate lasting results. Creating a high-quality website is vital for building a strong brand image that perfectly captures your tone of voice and messaging in an interactive way and engages your digital audience.
Benefits of Having an Online Presence
1. Reach more people
With the internet, your business is not limited to servicing only those in your near vicinity, the people who see your ad in the paper or walk past your shop once a week. Instead, your business can reach customers all over the country – or even the world! By having an online presence, you can get in front of hundreds, or even thousands, of people who would never have been exposed to your business otherwise.
2. All the information you need right at your fingertips
It’s important that your customers can easily find everything they need to know about you. The internet can act as a platform for showcasing to the world what you have to offer. Stock control can easily be kept up-to-date, and with a few simple clicks, customers have a wealth of information to hand, not possible over the phone or in person.
Responsive, engaging and mobile-friendly websites ensure your customers can find everything they need from home, on the go and on any device. With expert search optimisation, you can also ensure you achieve favourable website rankings in search engines.
3. Stay ahead of the competition
The number one rule of business is to stay one step ahead of the competition. Don’t box yourself in by bricks-and-mortar. If you can’t be found online, the likelihood is that your potential customer will find someone else to shop with instead. Even if the customer just uses the internet to find out where a bricks-and-mortar shop is situated and their opening times, if your customer doesn’t know about you, you will miss out.
The internet gives you valuable tools to make yourself heard above others too. If you’re launching a new product, spread the news with an impactful email campaign, supplemented with social media posts for extra reach. If you’re looking to drive more traffic to your website and increase sales, paid advertising or investing in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) are great tactics.
4. Seamlessly integrate all your business systems
A secure website can effectively and efficiently keep track of your data, making inventory of stock, finances and customer information incredibly simple. Systems such as CRMs and ERPs can be seamlessly integrated into your website, mailing list, back-office systems and so much more, making sure your operations are smooth and effortless. Especially with existing GDPR regulations, keeping your data up to date has never been so important.
With iCandy Design, you can digitally transform your business to connect and integrate data consistently across all your digital systems and tools.
5. Tailor your ‘online shop window’ to suit different customer audiences
It can take a lot of time and effort to update your business’ interiors and exteriors. With a physical shop, what you see is what you get – and it’s the same for every customer.
With a website, it’s quick and easy to tailor what your customers are seeing. Develop portals to tailor towards B2C versus B2B, geolocate, depending on the IP address of the user or refresh your homepage to stay in line with seasonal changes. Options for customisation are unlimited.
Unlock the Potential of Digital Marketing with iCandy Design
Building an online presence is an effective way to increase brand awareness and reach more people. It’s the way of the future, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for bricks-and-mortar too.
There is market share to be had when a sector experiences large trading fluctuations and adding another dimension to your business model will set you up to better handle the changing environment.
At iCandy Design, we know how to build exceptional websites. We can integrate this website with your finance, stock and people management systems. With a bespoke solution, tailored to your requirements, we can set you up online to complement the business you have grown and developed.
Contact us to find out more about how we can help you manage the transition from purely bricks-and-mortar to a dual presence today.