In our modern world, the way we conduct business is changing. While bricks-and-mortar stores and workplaces still have a role to play in some spheres, in others, they’re increasingly being replaced by a commercial model that revolves around its offerings being online only.
From the staff who work from home to products that retail on the world wide web, an increasing number of companies are finding that they no longer need anything besides an internet connection in order to thrive.
For those who can take advantage of this, such a modern-day business model comes complete with many wonderful benefits, from hugely decreased overheads to a truly global audience. But is it the right step for your venture? If so, how can you make it work?
The benefits of an online-only business model
One of the reasons so many businesses are choosing to switch to an online-only model is because it comes with significantly decreased overheads as standard. With no need to buy or rent retail premises, profit margins can be increased in one fell swoop and with minimal effort required. While some type of storage space may still be needed to house goods, this is likely to cost a lot less than commercial premises.
For small business owners, in particular, the increased flexibility of an online-only business is often preferred too. With minimal staff to help run your venture, standard working hours plus any overtime put in can quickly prove exhausting. So it’s convenient to be able to shape your venture around your own preferences and priorities, such as children and/or traveling.
This same flexibility can be extended to any staff you might have, which is usually much appreciated and can make you a far more attractive prospect as an employer. This is not only nice on a personal level but can prove beneficial for your business, with happy and contented employees likely to remain with your company for longer.
A global audience
Additionally, moving your business online can open it up to a global audience. Where a small bricks-and-mortar gift shop, for example, is likely to be kept afloat by primarily local custom. The same venture existing on the internet can sell to customers from across the globe.
Setting up an online-only business
Building an online brand
If you feel that an online-only business model could be right for your venture, it’s not quite as simple as just moving your wares onto the world wide web. You have to build solid foundations for success, and to do so, you must first create a strong online brand.
Your website will prove a pivotal part of this, as will your social media platforms, particularly Facebook and Instagram. Selling sites like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy can also provide useful platforms for fledgling businesses, helping to bring customers straight to your virtual door.
Once you have a strong online brand, you must then take it to your audience, and this is where digital marketing proves invaluable. No matter how good your products and services might be, they won’t sell if people are unaware of their existence, so paid social media marketing and search engine optimization are key.
So too are review sites, blogs, and industry influencers, which can each be used to build trust in your brand. Competitive industries like internet gaming provide a prime example of this concept in action, with confused customers often turning to these influencers as a resource for recommendations when they go in search of the best casino bonuses, for example.
If you can thus network, make the right contacts, and speak to the right people, you may be able to secure yourself a feature on such a platform, helping to send traffic your way and build trust in your business.
Customer service through a screen
Last but not least, remember that customer service is equally – if not more – important online than it is off. If you perform poorly, your client base will almost certainly share their experiences on the internet, which can be seriously damaging for your brand.
With this in mind, there are a few golden rules to stick to. Firstly, speedy communication is key, so questions and queries should be answered promptly. Secondly, quick delivery is prized, so choose a reliable courier whose service reflects well on your company. Finally, even though you’re operating through a screen, that personal touch makes all the difference, so hand-written notes or small gestures of thanks are great ways to set yourself apart online.
When it comes to building a successful online-only company, there are endless opportunities out there – ones that should be embraced to the fullest. Understand how to make such a model work for your business, and the world really is your oyster.