2020 has changed small business in many ways. Some businesses have been able to adapt while others have struggled. For those who have been able to adapt, in most cases, it’s in large part because of a strong online or digital experience. Businesses equipped to service their customers digitally via website ordering, a mobile app or digital service requests, fared better than those without. However, the thought of getting your menu, products or merchandise online can be daunting. Picking the right solution is key because it’s important to provide your customers with a great experience that is easy to use. The Giants spend millions on great user experiences because they know friction in the customer experience means lost sales and a lack of repeat customers. If you ask yourself these helpful questions upfront, it will help streamline the process and ensure the tools you use will be helpful long term.
- Can my products or services be turned into an online shopping experience?
- Is my website mobile friendly and ready for e-commerce?
- Do I have a product list with descriptions and images ready to go?
- Am I prepared for the various delivery methods? Pickup, takeout and delivery
Now that we have answered those questions we need to move into the variables. If you are an independent restaurant owner you are likely using Toast, Clover, Square or some NCR point of sale system. Most of these have great built-in solutions that you can turn on and get up and running. There may also be some great add ons available as well, including loyalty programs or integration for delivery via Doordash and Grubhub.
Now, if you are a small business owner who runs a clothing boutique or home goods store you are likely on a different platform tailored to merchandising. There are also some additional ecommerce options available to you including WooCommerce, Squarespace, Big Commerce or even Shopify to power your store. These solutions offer all types of features and some can be your one-stop-shop to running your business.
Lastly you might be a business whose product is a service like a heating and cooling company. Online ordering is not likely a thing you really need or want. However utilizing tools for service calls and job ticketing might be what you are looking for. You might also want to look at chatbots to initiate a service call and gather information before an employee gets involved.