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How to Convert Your Physical Business to an Online Business

The surprise of the year came in the form of the COVID -19 pandemic. And it has forced many business owners to shift their mindsets along with how they do business. Quarantine and stay home orders have been hard on physical businesses, but it’s not  the end of your business dreams. In fact, the change may be exactly what you need. In response to unexpected circumstances, many entrepreneurs are converting their brick–and-mortars to digital businesses.

Here’s why you should convert to online business too

According to Digital Commerce 360, e-commerce has accounted for more than 56.9% of all gains in the retail market. Since 2008, that is the largest share of growth in online history. In 2016, Amazon was the leading e-retailer in the U.S. with an earning of 46.66 Billion in e-commerce sales. Are you ready to pivot your business now?

In addition to your brick and mortar business, e-commerce can help you take that huge leap into expansion. A recent study showed that 69% of Americans have shopped online. In addition to that, 25% of Americans shop online at least once per month. As a business owner, you have to tap into this percentage of shoppers.

But isn’t the online market saturated?

Nope. But it seems like your mindset is if this question is hindering you from establishing your digital business. The same endless possibilities you had in mind when you opened your physical business are the same ones available online.

There may be a similar business on the next corner as yours, but your unique selling proposition, brand identity, and vision are different.

Keep all of this in mind as you create and execute plans to build your brand online. Whether you retail specific services, digital products or merchandise; online shopping is here to stay. Not even a pandemic has slowed the pace of online business. You can easily take your business to the next step by using these simple guidelines below.

Here are some necessary steps to assist you in making a successful conversion.

How to Convert Your Physical Business to an Online Business

1. Pivot your business.

Depending on the type brick-and-mortar of business you operated, you may need to make adjustments  for your concept to fit online. For instance, your dine-in restaurant may need to switch to order and delivery online. Your physical clothing store may need to change to an online store where you ship orders. Dust off that old business plan and go through the steps to include online as a source of revenue.

2. Decide how you want to monetize your online business.

In Episode 39 of Dreamer’s Den Podcast, we had an in-depth discussion about 5 core ways to monetize your online business. Use this episode as a guide to decide how you want to earn revenue from your pivot. Consider what you currently offer and how it relates to the needs your online target market will have. Think about the following:

Are you selling a product?

If so, make this product available in various ways. It can be online, by pick-up or through e-goods such as digital downloads.

Are you offering remote services?

Many consumers are interested in that “fast food” mentality. Can your customer access your products in the comfort of their own home? Can they easily download something, click a link to join from their home computer and more? Make it quick and easy to solve their problem.

Are you using affiliate marketing?

If you’re used to selling, put those skills to work online by promoting other people’s products? With a strong following, you can easily outsource advertisements within your website, blogs, and established brand. Each purchase then provides you immediate revenue for just sharing your visibility.

Platforms like Share-A-Sale offer programs where retailers give commission to those who share links to their offers. Most of the time, the commission is in exchange for your audience making a purchase from that link.

You may have accessed this blog via Pinterest. That’s one of the most successful ways to market blog posts and convert product, service and affiliate offers. Seems simple, right?  Well, it is!  Affiliate marketing is an easy way to make money in your sleep – if you have the right system.

3. Research options and opportunities

Determine your niche and target audience.  From there, discover how you can help them solve a problem by using your products. Conducting the proper research is also necessary. Such research includes viewing:

  • Social Media Analytics
  • Google Analytics
  • Keyword Search
  • Pinterest Search
  • Networking within Social Media Groups While Also Reviewing Questions and Comments
  • YouTube
  • Other Websites

From there, create an avenue to retail those products more effectively given the current pandemic crisis. Here are some options:

    • Online Boutique
    • Switch to Dropshipping
    • Teaching a Course about Previous Products
    • Zoom Meetings
    • YouTube Channel

4. Build a Website

You need a virtual landing space for your customers to get information, become familiar with your brand, and buy your products and services. But there are a few more steps in the process before  jumping out there with web names and domains.

    • Think about what you want. Use a planner, notebook, or digital organizer to list and outline your ideas, goals and purpose for the website.

Side Note: Don’t Build your Website Design Project Without Knowing This

    • Other than sitting pretty, your website needs to work for you. Your website should:
  1. Capture your target market.
  2. Be user-friendly for your customers and team.
  3. Be valuable enough for return visits.
  4. Convert window shoppers to buyers.

You’ve put a lot of hard work into building your brand. Despite the pandemic or other life altering changes, you can still maintain your success. Your vision can remain as a staple in your business if you choose to pivot and not pause. So be flexible in your approach to pivot your business. Catch your dream because nothing happens by chance!

You’re one step closer to launching the online portion of your dream business.  Work with me to help you transition from dreamer to doer.

Danielle Towner | Entrepreneur + Digital Creative Resources

Written in collaboration with C. Scott, who is a mother of one; author, entrepreneur, social worker & early literacy interventionist. Follow her on Instagram as @curls_coils and @mysweettealife.

*Post contains affiliate links for which we are paid a commission if you choose to make a purchase.


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As owner of Dream Work Creatives, LLC, Danielle has the opportunity to use her gifts of business development and creative expression. She has a passion for helping solo entrepreneurs and small businesses make their dreams work through marketing and creative strategy. Danielle’s digital marketing services have helped countless businesses build their brand awareness and online presence using social media marketing, website design and content marketing. Her blog features business and lifestyle growth tips and “Dreamer’s Den Podcast: Entrepreneurs Making the Dream Work”. During her free time, she enjoys travel, movies, books and the endless joy of her little one.