How to transform a physical business into an online business without failing in the attempt?

By: Penta Editorial Team

Despite the Coronavirus Pandemic’s global economic crisis, e-commerce increased by 300% in Latin America, forcing businesses to move quickly towards online sales. I want to share some practical advice that should be useful if you have recently started with the process.

Over recent weeks I have seen businesses grow by increasing their digital media presence. Although many companies had already started to consolidate their online sales presence, others were forced to adjust their marketing plans to react to the pandemic. I would particularly like to share some strategic steps with you if the latter scenario sounds like yours, but I also want to help you integrate an element of digital differentiation to the competition.

A quick search online will offer you thousands of portals, blogs, or forums, giving you a step-by-step on setting up your company’s e-commerce offer: make an initial diagnosis, open a website, and set up social media channels and then measure them. However, these general rules do not apply to all businesses. That is why I want to share this hugely effective methodology with you now. 

Digital transformation in five steps

The first step in starting your online business will be to perform an analysis that allows you to determine how to act in the digital environment. This is where you define the short, medium, and long-term objectives, and although it may sound like a high school assignment, this is the starting point for establishing a functional business model. With a precise diagnosis, you can build the digital market strategy, define the profile of customers, the scope, the cost o the proposal, and look at the competition.  Thirdly, you will need to analyze your finances to establish fixed, variable costs, and profitability; all the economic resources you will need to implement a successful e-commerce strategy.  You must also create and integrate the relevant logistics for distribution, tax, and legal, which the operation requires.

If your brand already has a defined name and graphic style, you will only have to adapt it to the digital environment. Otherwise, you will have to perform a visual conceptualization, specifying its name, colors, and styles. It may be necessary even to do a product photoshoot that boosts your brand. At this point, you will be ready for the organization, structuring, and visualization of your e-commerce to take it to market. This step would include the purchase of the web domain, establishing hierarchies, categorizing, and organization of the products, and integrating payment platforms. The final step will be to establish a digital marketing plan to attract and convert customers to your online business. Here you should include social networks, CRM, process automation,  SEO, SEM, and guideline strategies.  

We have now reached the end of this whistle-stop introduction to a successful digital transformation process. If you have a team that can implement this strategy, I invite you to apply it. Otherwise, I would recommend you to get expert advice on the subject.

Take advantage of the possibilities of e-commerce without neglecting your physical business because the more channels you have to reach your current and local customers, you will get more opportunities for sales and brand exposure can. My final recommendation is to integrate both offline and online strategies, naturally and coherently.