Digitalisation: the biggest challenge for SMEs
Accelerating digitalisation has been one of the most important challenges for SMEs during the pandemic. The data say that 70% of companies in Spain have been digitalised during the pandemic, according to the consulting firm IPG. This means that 7 out of 10 have opened an online store.
While many SMEs have been thinking about digitalisation for years and it was one of the outstanding issues, the pandemic has accelerated and made many companies go online in record time and, probably thanks to this, they have not had to close. A company with less than 250 employees whose turnover does not exceed 5 million Euro is considered an SME.
The cost of digitalisation
When an SME searches the internet for a way to go digital, it will probably come up with many offers and very cheap prices from companies that are dedicated to this task. It can even buy a domain, which will cost less, as you can have one for €10 a year. It can also find many pages that provide with templates and, if it is accompanied by images, it can make a website on its own.
But, as the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
There are many elements to consider when creating an e-commerce. It depends on the business you have, whether you have an extensive catalogue, whether you work internationally, or if you constantly have new products. The best thing to do when digitalising your business is to hire an agency to help you get this big project up and running. There are many things to keep in mind, and having a good e-commerce that works perfectly and that does not have errors will be the key to success.
Things to keep in mind
Before launching an online store, keep in mind:
- Make an analysis of the competition: surf the internet (visit websites and social networks).
- Make an analysis of the own company: identify your own e-commerce. Decide if it can be done by the company’s staff or if external help is needed, for example, an agency specialising in web pages.
- Take into account the stipulated time required to make a web page, as there may always be some surprise. Therefore, the launch date of the business must not be shared with the networks until it is 100% sure.
- Once the website is up and running, it needs to be constantly updated.
- You must be very fast: when a user asks about a product or service, you must answer as soon as possible because, otherwise, there is a risk that they may end up buying it elsewhere.
The pandemic has changed consumer habits, and it has also made it clear that if you want to keep the business going, you need to have an online site for potential customers to find and see what is offered.
We are in the age of omnichannelity, and you need to have the ability to satisfy both a customer who buys in the physical store and a customer who buys online, through a phone call, through an email, or even through the social media of the business.
Years ago, it was unthinkable that a company could earn customers with a website. Until then, the usual technique for getting buyers was having a sales team that, along with a marketing strategy, did what is called “cold calling”, that is, selling the product or service from scratch. This commercial task, on many occasions, could last for weeks or months.
Today, when you open a business, even if services are offered, you need to have a website where potential customers can see what is being offered, what has been done, the team that makes up the company, and an essential thing, its business philosophy (mission and vision). With just this information, the potential customer can get an idea of who they are.
Apparently, it may seem much easier to reach the customer through a website than doing it with a sales team, but it’s not quite that good. It’s not all about having a website. Social media is another tool that must be kept in mind in today’s society, which is permanently connected.
During the pandemic, companies have had to digitalise their businesses. This has been the only way to earn income. The data tells us that 7 out of 10 companies that did not have an e-commerce before the confinement had to go digital if they didn’t want to close the business. The food, fashion, electronics, beauty, and household products sectors are the ones that have benefited the most from having taken this step.