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From Offline to Online: How to Take Your Brick & Mortar Business Online for Insightly for Insightly

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Insightly is an affordable, web-based CRM system for small business that offers integrations with many leading apps, including Google Apps, Office 365, MailChimp, QuickbooksOnline, Xero, DropBox, and more.

Even as brick and mortar stores push back against online retailers, ecommerce continues to thrive. For this reason, a growing number of land-based stores are transitioning to the online world.

Just because you take your brick and mortar business online does not mean you have to ditch your physical presence. Instead, you can use the internet to increase your reach, improve efficiency, and hopefully boost revenue and profit.

With nearly 200 million digital shoppers in the United States alone, there has never been a better time than now to take your business online.

“But I don’t know anything about the internet.”

“But there is no way the transition will work for my business.”

“But I have done so well without the internet in the past, that it doesn’t seem to make sense.”

These are just a few of the excuses that could hold you back from making the transition. If you buy into these, you may never make the decision to rely more heavily on the Internet.

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5 Tips to Jumpstart Your Online Store

The initial process of getting a web store up and running can be overwhelming. So much so that it may scare you away from taking the first step.

There is no reason to be intimidated. By taking a few key steps, you will find yourself on the right track. Here are five “jumpstart tips” for any company that wants to establish a strong and productive online presence.

1. Focus on Design and Infrastructure

As tempted as you may be to “throw up a website,” there is more to the process. It is imperative to focus your time, attention, and resources on the design and infrastructure of your website, as this will be your face to the online public. This is even more so the case if you are rolling out an online store.

Regardless of your industry, you are sure to have competition. For this reason, your design and online experience needs to be top of the line.

2. Safe and Reliable

Have you ever encountered an online store with bugs or error messages? How about one that appears unsafe? If you answered yes to either question, you know one thing to be true: you run the other way as fast as possible.

To achieve success with your online store, a safe and reliable experience is mandatory. You cannot cut corners.

3. Get Help

If you are new to ecommerce, it can be difficult to understand the many steps of rolling out an online store. Fortunately, there is help to be had.

You can hire a web designer to give your store a professional appearance. You can hire an ecommerce expert to improve conversion rates. You can hire a content writer to create copy for each product.

With expert advice on your side, you will feel better about your ability to transition effectively.

4. Rely on Software

There are many types of software that can improve the appearance, efficiency, and productivity of your website.

For example, WordPress is a popular content management system on which you can build everything from a simple website to a robust online store.

Along with this, you can use a CRM solution like Insightly, to help you manage your business better (more on this below).

5. Take it Slow

You may be excited about taking your offline business online, but remember one thing: it won’t happen over night. You need to move slowly, one step at a time, to ensure that you don’t leave any questions unanswered.

Related Article: CRM Myth Busters: Think You're Too Small for CRM? Think Again.

The Positive Impact of CRM Software

Customer relationship management (CRM) software could be your key to a smooth transition online and meeting all your short and long-term goals.

Here are several areas in which CRM software can have a positive impact:

  • Lead management. There is nothing worse than the thought of a qualified lead slipping through the cracks. If this has plagued your business in the past, CRM can protect against this in the future.  If you have an online presence then you can set up a website form to collect information from or prospects that are interested in your product or service.  A CRM can automatically take this prospect information from the website and create a lead so you can follow up and win the business.
  • Creation of reports. Do you need to create reports for sales opportunities? How about activities? With reporting features, you can use CRM software to better understand you business and see where you are doing well and where there may be room for improvement.
  • Email marketing. An important strategy for all types of companies, a well-defined and managed email marketing campaign is a must because you want to make sure that you have consistent communication with your prospects and customers. You can send messages, track what is and is not working, and make changes to your strategy to boost conversion rates.
  • Project reporting. Do you have multiple projects in the pipeline? Are there multiple people working on each project? Through project reporting, you can stay current with activity, both good and bad, to keep the process moving forward. Furthermore, you can track progress by project or timeframe.

The idea of transitioning your offline business to the online world can be enough to drive you crazy. With the right strategy, including the use of CRM software, it not only becomes easier to move forward but also easier to manage over time. Insightly offers a free, 14-day trial to try it out risk free.

Related Article: Step it Up: How Web-based Solutions Can Jumpstart Your Business

Final Thoughts

In today’s connected world businesses that have both a physical presence and an online presence have a competitive advantage so don’t let your fears hamper your business.

The above tips can help you take your brick and mortar business online. By taking the right steps, you will soon find this transition easier than you ever thought possible.

Image Credit: NanoStockk / Getty Images for Insightly for Insightly
How are you managing your customer relationships? Insightly was designed as a simple to use yet powerful web-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application for small and growing businesses. With integrations to applications such as Google Apps, Office 365, MailChimp, Dropbox, QuickBooks Online and Xero, Insightly CRM keeps you connected to the right information at the right time - including contacts, sales information, tasks, project activities and more. With the recent release of our Advanced Reporting, you can create custom, reports through an easy-to-use drag and drop interface, which means you can slice and dice your business data any way you choose. We understand that you are busy, so we've made Insightly easy to use with plenty of online support material, so you can get up and running fast. You don't have to worry about technical issues like server upgrades and your data is 100% secure. Insightly CRM helps you concentrate on what matters most - running your business.