Whether you run a cosmetic shop, a boutique, a bakery, or even a restaurant, you can increase your market reach by opening an online branch. Doing your business online allows you to increase sales and generate extra revenue that you would have otherwise missed if you only relied on your physical enterprise. Setting up an online shop is not difficult. It however requires dedication and consistency as well as professionalism. Here is a short guide on how to open an online branch for your small business.
Start an online page
For your business to be visible and accessible on the internet, you need to set up an online page. This can be a website, or a page on social media platforms. A webpage acts as a portfolio for your business where your clients can visit to get all the information they need on your business. From the story behind your enterprise to all the products and services you offer, and lastly your contacts. While this is indeed necessary especially for eligible purposes, having a social media page is more convenient and accessible to a wider market. Most people spend their time browsing social media and so having pages on these sites raises the chances of visibility.
Post constantly and clearly
Once your page is ready, make sure you post your products and/or services constantly and clear. If you can get photos of your products make sure to use a clear camera with enough lighting and as little effects as possible. Always present the product as real as possible so that customers do not get confused or disappointed upon delivery. Also, post the prices together with the services or products. Refrain from telling your customers to inbox you for prices because it shows lack of transparency.
Engage with your online customers
One way of ensuring a steady following is by having engagement with your customers at all times. That means being available to answer questions, offer clarifications, and participate in negotiations among other things. When a potential customer asks a question on your page and gets an answer after a long period, chances are they will get discouraged and thus settle for other alternatives. If you find you cannot always be online to offer this engagement, try delegating this role to someone else.
Offer free delivery within acceptable distance
In order to get customer fulfilment, loyalty and even recommendations, try to offer free delivery within an acceptable distance in your vicinity. For example, if you reside in Nairobi, you can offer free delivery around your residential area and the CBD. This increases convenience for your customers. It also allows you to form better connections with them as you will get to meet them in person. Remember, a happy customer is one of the most effective marketing agent.
Have wireless payment options
Lastly, ensure you have wireless payment options in order to include all customers that might not have the option of cash payment. These platforms include MPESA, Debit cards, Paypal, Western Union, etc. Wireless forms of payment are especially convenient for the customers limited by geographical business.
Please note: While working all these tips will surely help your online business thrive, you must practice promptness and honesty in order to find and maintain a loyal customer base.