Reality check: selling out of a storefront is so old-school.
It’s like selling candy to kids, but at an office where grownups work.
Customers today expect businesses to have an online storefront so they can reach them and explore products and services online. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, this is the era of digitization and online shopping so you don’t want to be left behind.
Taking your business online has many advantages, such as:
- the ability to run a company with little to no overhead costs;
- a faster timeline to enter a market as compared to most brick and mortar businesses; and
- the opportunity to expand to a global market.
It’s estimated that 1.8 billion people worldwide purchase goods online. And 63% of those that shop in-person start their buying journey online. So it only makes sense that your brand interacts with them in their initial research phase.
In the Middle East, internet penetration rate is at 60% with around 147 million users — well above the global average of 51.7%. With a growing young population that likes to use social media and relies heavily on their smart phones, the biggest challenge is shifting the cultural mindset away from the traditional offline shopping experience to a digital one. There are also a handful other unique challenges that come with the many benefits of taking your business online. This article lists six mistakes to avoid when making the switch.
Not choosing the right platform
Choosing where and how to host your website is the first crucial mistake you can make. You must choose a platform that is easy to manage and offers you features that is right for the industry you’re in.
If you’re a B2C business and will be selling products directly to customers, you need to ensure that your website is hosted on a platform that is best suited for your audience. For example, if you’re going to be selling clothing, you can choose Shopify to build your online store as it’s one of the leading eCom platforms in the world.
Similarly, if you’re in the B2B space and will be selling services to other businesses, you might want to host your website on WordPress as it offers you to create a custom website with extremely user-friendly interface.
Not offering multiple (secure) payment methods
60–70% of e-commerce payments in the middle east were made through cash on delivery because of internet fraud and a lack of trust in online payment systems.
However, cash on delivery is risky and expensive for retailers since they need to bear the risk upfront, which can negatively affect cash flow. Retailers need to partner with secure online payment platforms and gain customer acceptance of these options within the GCC. You can use secure payment aggregators and processors that offer alternative payment methods for customers in the MENA region.
Not investing in good UX
When building a website, it’s crucial to make sure your design follows best practices for user experience (UX).
User experience is what makes visitors on your website stick around and check out different pages and call-to-actions. A good UX experience makes it easy for them to do simple tasks such as fill out a form or complete checkout easily.
In short, UX can help a visitor complete an action, and offers them a seamless and positive shopping experience. A proper UX flow will help you define customer journeys that are most beneficial to business success.
Not investing in SEO
The biggest mistake a business owner can make is not invest in online marketing— or particularly—search engine optimization.
SEO is essential to running an online business because it puts you front and centre of your audience.
If you’re selling sunglasses, would you want to pop up on the first page of a search result when someone types “sunglasses” on Google? SEO helps you get into the search results of the queries your customers are typing into the search bar. And the best part is, you can choose to invest as little or as much as you want.
Not focusing on customer service
How easy is it for customers to reach you online?
The single biggest mistake you can make is making it impossible for your customers to speak to an actual human when they need help.
When servicing customers online, you have to ensure there’s adequate response protocol and processes in place.
Make sure your customers can chat with you, call you, or receive self-help when there’s no one online. Your goal should be to make customer service simple and intuitive.
Not paying attention to your offline shop
Running an online business can be very time-consuming. Add on to that a brick-and-mortar store that you have to run.
Don’t forget that if you are a business owner with a digital and physical storefront, you have to give time to both equally. You don’t want to lose customers on front and the best way to do that is to delegate tasks to others.
If you can, hire a team to manage the day-to-day of running your online store. If you can’t afford to bring on someone permanent, try hiring freelancers from popular platforms such as Upwork.
What comes next?
Once you’ve moved your business online, you need to invest in a reliable, secure, and affordable payment solution.
This is where Dibsy steps in. The two main benefits of using working with us include:
- Simple checkout experience: We cut down on unnecessary steps and documentation so you can get up and running in no time.
- Easy to onboard: With our API keys, developers can integrate our application within minutes onto merchant websites and mobile apps.
Interested in learning more? Get in touch with our team to discover product features.