Pivot, Pivot, Pivot. Shifting to an Online World: April 2020

It’s been a crazy month and a half – so busy it may feel like you haven’t had a chance to sit down and take a breath. The world as we know it has evolved into a place where most of us are at home and adapting to an increasingly online world. For many business owners, this adaptation has become a matter of standing apart and continuing to meet the news of the consumer.

The transition to an online platform may be easy for some, but the truth is we can all amp up our digital game to better position ourselves in a virtual world. And if you are thinking to just hunker down and wait for the world to return to normal, don’t. First of all, no one knows how long this will continue, so it’s better to hedge your best. Second of all, digital sales are booming, so why not get your share?

In fact, there is a big incentive to consider making the pivot to online sales – according to this report, across all five sectors in Canada (furniture and home décor, food and restaurants, clothing, sporting goods, household appliances, electronics, building materials) there has been significant digital revenue growth between March 11-29 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

If you’re not sure how to make the transition to the online world, voices of the experts out there are plenty: Shopify’s list of Short Term Revenue Strategies for Brick-and-Mortar Retailers has tons of ideas for how to work around COVID19 restrictions. Even Facebook has gotten into the mix, with their plan for Helping Businesses Create an Online Presence During COVID-19.

The truth is, your customers are still out there, and they are looking for you, but the question is: Will they find you? Read on for five ways to make sure your business stays front of mind during COVID19.

  1. Update your Google profile

COVID19 or no, Google is still working to promote your business, but they can only do so much without your input. The folks at Google are like little elves, working away in the workshop while you’re sleeping. They want you to wake up to six pairs of brand new shoes, but they need your help. When was the last time you updated your Google profile? Added a photo? Take the time to make sure a Google search brings up your business   – if your customers don’t know you’re there, they can’t find you. Google also conveniently tracks how many people have viewed your profile, clicked on it, and found you online, so you can see direct gains from your efforts.

  1. Showcase Your Business, Virtually

Remember all those tools that Facebook and Instagram have been promoting for the past several years? Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, panoramic 360 degree views? This is when you need to experiment with these tools to support your business. There are so many ways you can use video and imagery to keep your business front of mind and keep your customers engaged. All that’s required is creativity and for you to check your inhibitions at the door. Some ideas are to try doing a Facebook Live video demonstration, or do a 360 degree panoramic shot of the interior of your business, giving your customers get a peek inside. No, there are no direct sales involved in this, but anything that keeps your business in someone’s mind can mean you’re that much closer to a future sale.

  1. Start Selling Online

This is probably one of the hardest hurdles to surmount for many businesses. Thankfully, this is Canada, so we’re all here to help each other out. In fact, the Canadian online shopping mogul, Shopify, has you covered. They’ve offered a three-month free trial  for you to get started with online sales. If you’re intimidated with the Shopify platform, don’t be. It’s easy to navigate and use, and the friendly folks over at Shopify are also happy to help you out.

  1. Keep Your Chin Up

This isn’t going to happen overnight. Pivoting is a hard word, and even harder to put into practice. The important thing is DON’T GIVE UP. Your customers, and your business, are depending on you to keep plugging away, even if you feel like you may not be making any progress.

Happy wandering!

Julie Mulligan

OHTO’s Marketing Manager


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