The number of new online companies has increased in the last 12 months, and the amount of business the existing ones are doing has grown massively. However, while the reasons for this are obvious, it doesn’t mean the profits they are making aren’t real, and the growth they are experiencing won’t continue over the next 3-6 months.
However, when the dust settles, and life returns to some approximation of what it was before, not all of these businesses will continue to succeed. The reason might be because their business model was entirely pandemic-based and just won’t work in a world that doesn’t need mountains of sanitiser or face masks.
Most probably, though, the reason for their demise will be that in their rapid rise, they forgot to strengthen one (or more) of these four pillars that every online business is built on.
#1 a strong online presence
According to Adobe’s study on small business website design, nearly half of the small-business owners surveyed (46%) think design is the most important aspect of a website.
Having a strong online presence falls into two key areas. Firstly, letting people know you exist, and secondly, when people are searching for your product or service, you can be found. Doing this means keeping your social media profiles updated regularly and your website up to date both visually and technically.
Updating social media is not just about pushing products; it’s about letting potential customers your brand’s worldview and ethics, which are critical drivers for customer purchasing choices in a world with so much choice. Your website needs to load quickly and be easy to navigate, or your customers will find a competitor’s site that will.
#2 Solid IT services
If your business is entirely online, then a technical problem can mean that you temporarily don’t have one – and a significant problem like a cyberattack can mean you might not have one at all. With this much at stake, trying to manage your IT services yourself could be described, at best, as foolhardy.
Hiring a reliable IT management service to back everything up, safeguard the data for both your business and your customers (although realistically, they are the same thing), and implementing an effective cybersecurity strategy is a critical tactic in ensuring the long-term future of your online business.
#3 A top quality product
Buying in a massive stock of poor quality items that work today but probably won’t tomorrow, then selling them off cheaply, will give you sales, but it won’t create customers who will buy from you again.
Sourcing top-quality products in your niche from reliable suppliers who can keep your warehouse stocked will lead to returning customers, which means you don’t need to spend even more money on advertising to get new customers continually.
#4 First-class customer service
When demand outstrips supply, you can get away with a low effort approach to dealing with your customers. However, when people are less desperate and choose, they need a reason to choose you. Having good aftersales service, including those that don’t complain, can lead to positive reviews and repeat business for your company.
In a situation like the one we have all faced in the last 12 months, there has been a restriction in the choice of some products and services that would not typically occur. However, when the world returns to normal, and choice becomes as significant a factor as usual, only businesses built on the four pillars outlined above will be left standing.