Customers are spending more time online than ever. If your startup isn’t adapting to offer more digital services, you could be missing out on massive business growth opportunities. Digitizing your business can transform not only the products, experience, and services you offer customers but it can also streamline your operations and help your business run more smoothly.
Sounds good, right? Keep reading to learn more about what it means to digitize and how to get started transforming your startup.
Digital Transformation of Business
What Does It Mean to Digitize Your Business?
In an increasingly technology-focused world, the demand for businesses to digitize has grown dramatically. So, what does it mean to digitize your business? Essentially, it means incorporating technology into your business operations to increase efficiency, enhance customer experience, and boost sales.
This could mean developing an app for your startup, transitioning into ecommerce, offering mobile payment options, and more. The goal of digitizing your business is to keep up with the rapidly changing economy by offering your customers more ways to access your business, cut costs, and streamline daily operations. Therefore, the method(s) you choose to digitize your business can vary based on your startup’s needs.
For example, if you book consultations with clients via phone or in person, incorporating online scheduling through your website or via mobile app can help you book for clients and, in turn, increase sales. Or, if your business currently relies on a paper filing system, transitioning even partially to an online cloud-based platform that organizes and stores important business documents keeps your data secure and cuts down on waste.
As you can see, there are many ways you can digitize your business. Whether you’re developing a social media marketing strategy or utilizing a loyalty app, the right digital changes to make to your business depend on your business’s needs and goals.
Pros of Going Digital
Saves Time and Money
Storing, organizing, and printing business documents costs your business money in labor costs as well as expenses such as office space and supplies. Lower your operating costs by consolidating important business documents and data into a digital format. Not only will digitizing this aspect of your business save you money, but it will also save you and your employees valuable time.
Improves Customer Experience
In an increasingly digital world, many customers prefer the convenience and ease of online transactions. Whether it is offering digital payments, incorporating online scheduling, or streamlining order processing through a mobile app — digitizing your startup creates a more positive, optimized customer experience.
With creative tools available for almost every industry imaginable, you and your team can reap the benefits of increased innovation through the capabilities of today’s technology. Whether it is developing creative solutions to your business’s problems or enhancing your product lineup — there are endless possibilities when it comes to digital innovation for small businesses.
Boosts Productivity and Efficiency
Every small business could benefit from being more efficient and productive. Fortunately, there are hundreds of digital tools to help streamline your business operations; from time tracking to inventory management and more. Utilizing productivity apps and tools can help keep your business running smoothly and more efficiently.
Improves Customer Engagement
The amount of time customers spend online is increasing; reimagining your business online puts you in a great position to reach new customers and increase brand awareness. Moreover, by creating a strong online presence, you can communicate with your customers more easily, boosting customer engagement and improving sales.
Examples of Successful Digital Transformation
Once a company that offered groundbreaking technological products and services, Microsoft was able to pivot in order to grow with a changing industry. Now, the company focuses on cloud-based, mobile-optimized technologies that are more accessible than ever by using artificial intelligence to create a positive customer experience for a range of people — from developers to students.
Many retailers and clothing brands have struggled recently with sudden production and shipping delays as well as store closures. While impacted by this changing economy, Nike underwent a digital transformation that allowed them to sell directly to consumers. Their strategy for digitizing was to pour the money they had into optimizing their Nike and SNKR apps, increasing their online marketing, and optimizing their website to drive online sales.
Horderly, a home-organization business, was hit hard during 2020 when they were unable to visit client’s homes to help them organize and clean their spaces — the foundation of their business model. Fortunately, they had a great idea; to offer their services virtually through one-on-one digital consultations, YouTube, and Instagram. While they weren’t able to physically sort and organize for customers, Horderly changed their business model to offer online organization services without ever stepping foot into a customer's home.
Asian-Veggies.com was created as an offshoot of Joe Boon’s father’s wholesale business. During a spike in demand for grocery delivery, Boon created an easy way for customers to get the groceries they needed by ordering online and having them delivered and, in turn, supporting struggling food vendors.
3 Digitization Tips for Your Business
1. Set Clear Goals
What do you hope to accomplish by digitizing your startup? Maybe it is to increase brand awareness or streamline order fulfillment. Whatever your startup’s aspirations are, establish clear goals and stick to them. By setting objectives at the start, you keep the trajectory of your business growth moving toward the milestones you want to achieve.
2. Build a Strategy
You’ve got clear goals; now you need to create a game plan to achieve them. One of the most important steps in reaching important milestones for your business is to develop an effective strategy.
When it comes to digitizing your startup, this means establishing the digital tools you will integrate into your business operations, identifying where you can swap out current functions for streamlined online options, and developing a plan for how you will integrate technologies into your startup seamlessly.
3. Hire the Right People
A strong team is the foundation of any successful startup. When you’re digitizing your business, hiring the right people to support your startup’s goals and work upon the strategy you’ve set forth is crucial to a successful transition into a more technology-centric business.
Therefore, when hiring new employees look for candidates who are tech-savvy, innovation focused, and highly adaptable to ensure they can not only handle the ever-evolving startup world but also support your business during this changing time.
6 Ways to Digitize Your Business
1. Create a Digital Marketing Strategy
It’s no secret that your business needs an online presence to grow in today’s increasing technology-centric world. Digital marketing strategies can help startups reach new customers, increase brand awareness, and boost sales.
A few ways to market your business online are by developing a well-crafted and mobile optimized business website, starting an email marketing campaign, or by using social media to engage with new and existing customers.
2. Improve SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a powerful tool that can drive traffic to your website and thus, contribute to more sales and interaction with your brand. There are several ways to boost your website’s SEO, including keyword research, producing quality content, and backlinking. If you’re unsure of where to start when improving your website’s SEO, there are a number of digital marketing agencies that can help you optimize your website for higher search rankings.
3. Use Ecommerce to Boost Sales
With more and more customers looking online for their goods and services, incorporating ecommerce into your business is a must. The good news is that local marketplaces are making it easier for small businesses to compete with huge corporations such as Amazon while avoiding the high fees associated with services such as GrubHub and Instacart.
While existing services provide the benefit of easy delivery, utilizing a local online marketplace keeps money in your pocket from eCommerce sales and supports your local community.
4. Implement CRM Software
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a digital tool that your startup can use to organize and manage customer information. Each CRM software is geared toward a different business objective, such as enhanced inbound marketing or streamlined daily operations. Many such as HubSpot also work well for general customer management.
Overall, using CRM software can help your business provide a better customer experience, develop more effective marketing strategies, and generate a more loyal customer base.
5. Use Mobile Payment Technology
It’s hard to beat the convenience of mobile payment capabilities, and fortunately, there are several ways you can incorporate it into your business. Technologies such as Apple pay, Android pay, and PayPal offer an additional, convenient payment method for customers, which can boost your sales.
6. Create an App for Your Business
Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar business or a tech-centric startup — developing an app for your business enhances customer experience and promotes brand loyalty. Creating an app that allows customers to place orders or schedule services, for example, makes participating in your business easy and convenient, informing a positive experience and setting you apart from your competitors.
Not to mention, a customer who has your startup’s app installed will most likely see your logo multiple times throughout the day, increasing brand awareness and effortlessly marketing your business on a daily basis.