The new lockdown, which came into force at the beginning of November 2020 in France, highlighted the problem of the digitalization of small businesses and local shops. The closure of “non-essential businesses” has been in fact brutal and it seems necessary for each of them today to put in place e-commerce or digital solutions.
However, it is far from easy. The lack of time, knowledge and means to effect a digital transformation is often an obstacle.
So how can we help these businesses to transform themselves and become more resilient in the face of a temporary closure?
Examples, testimonials and dedicated tools are on the menu of this new article by the editor I Donne Mon Avis.
How To Cope With A Temporary Closure Through Digitalization?
The French government has issued a simple ultimatum: digitalization, notably through Click and Collect, or the temporary but total closure of some establishments. So, to continue to attract customers, and in the run-up to Christmas, you have to adapt.
Have A Functional Website Dedicated To Its Activity
Advantage: Efficient, Aesthetic, Professional
Problem: Timekeps, Needs Skills/Training
The first track to explore is that of the website. For a few euros, sites like Wix or WordPress can help you create your own website, in order to :
- Present your activity and make it known (notoriety goal)
- Present your products online (for a Click and Collect system, where the user chooses their product from your online catalogue and picks it up in store as soon as possible)
- Sell and ship goods directly to the customer’s home. This last point is the one that requires the most investment, because it involves an operational delivery system, and a mandatory online payment, which must be secure.
It is possible to settle only for the first two paragraphs if you have little time and a limited budget.
In a recent edition of La Provence, the company Santons Jacquet testifies to its successful digitalization: “I decided to create my own merchant site […]. I realize most of my turnover in the Christmas markets, so I had to react quickly.”
Reacting quickly is being “agile.” To learn more about this topic, check out our two articles on agile management (here) and improving operational performance (here) thanks to agility on the JDMA Blog.
Playing With Social Networks: Free And Intuitive Tools
Advantage: Free, Intuitive, Easy to Use, Wide Broadcast
Problem: Time- Timer, requires communication skills to stand out
Social networks can be a real opportunity in the time of coronavirus. They allow you to create a link with customers, by talking – for example through comments on your posts. Of course, another advantage is that they are free..
“I had to energize my Facebook page,” says the manager of JS Bijoo in Carnoux-en-Provence. Efforts to introduce and adopt the Click and Collect system for its jewelry.
In fact, a regularly powered and professional Facebook Page can sometimes effectively replace a showcase website.
Go Through Marketplaces
Advantage: Fast, Easy, Good Visibility
Problem: Cost per Transaction
Another possibility is to register on marketplaces, such asAmazon, the best known. However, they require an investment, as commission fees on sales range from 7% to 20%.
Several platforms have recently shown initiative to accompany the small businesses during the lockdown.
Example: Cdiscount and Rakuten provide merchants with free access to click and collect functionality.
However, whether on a website, on social networks
or on a marketplace, digitalizing also means building an e-reputation. The
goal of software like I Feedback Now is to help you manage your image online.
Rethinking shopping experience
We now need to rethink the entire shopping experience, which is no longer done in stores.
As Alex Reynolds of EMUCoupon, a website that promotes discount coupons, points out: “Customer experience and personalization are the cornerstones of effective digital marketing.”
As a result, relying on tools that put the customer at the centre of the purchasing process seems essential.
Online: Chatbots, A Solution For The Future?
According to Christi Olson, Head of Evangelism at Bing: “The chatbots of the future don’t just answer questions. […] They forge emotional relationships with clients.”
Some therefore see chatbots as the revival of sales advisors.
However, they are currently far from replacing the wise advice of a seller. In addition, their cost can be an obstacle, as a functional chatbot requires complex software and artificial intelligence.
It is interesting to remember that chatbots can help refer the customer to your website or online product catalog.
In-store: Click and Collect
Finally, as you, manager of a small business, implementing digitalization strategies may be interesting to know what your customers think of their new shopping experience.
Why not install a customer review and impression kiosk in front of your Click and Collect point? Check out our different models of terminals available here!
In short, and you will understand, every step of the buying process must be individualized, to restore consumer confidence and create new buying habits.
To find our customer review collection and analysis solutions, click here or contact us directly!