It's time for business owners to adapt traditional business models and take advantage of digital trends.
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Web solutions are continuously developing, and with brands of all sizes offering exceptional, on the ball, consumer experiences, SMEs need to consider their own online digital transformation, making sure it reflects their brand, purpose and vision,
With a vast array of platforms and channels, for instance social media, offering a plethora of approaches to consumer engagement, SMEs need to embrace smarter web solutions to stand out and stay ahead of agile competitors. They must react, adopt and embrace ongoing technology.
Understanding the fundamentals
Consequently, although the vast collection of digital technology available can seem exciting, many organisations get carried away and try to ‘run before then can walk’ – when trying to harness mediums to benefit their online footprint.
Digital technologies, when harnessed correctly, have the potential to drive business growth, though all to often we see SMEs rush to implement technology, with underwhelming results. This causes organisations to revert back to their original business model, consequently stunting the potential for business growth.
As a first step, you’ll need to understand what you want to achieve with any digital technology and how it fits your wider business goals. Simply choosing a piece of software based on recommendation may not be the best option for your unique business structure, especially for growing businesses.
There is also often a tendency to try and shoehorn your business requirements to fit off the shelf technology, rather than finding a bespoke solution that meets your needs and provides room for future growth.
Where to begin?
Understanding where to begin is a key first step. What do you really need? Many businesses mistakenly think they just need a basic brochure website, although fail to understand that they require a more advanced technology platform.
For instance, a business could need a complex booking system or an eCommerce platform to encourage consumer engagement and online purchases.
We encourage clients to ask the following questions before looking to harness web solutions.
Do you have a clear vision of your business?
Acknowledge your processes, operating procedures, current technology and skill sets. How will new technology potentially impact these elements?
Do you understand your customers’ needs?
What is your customers’ user journey and how can it be improved? Recognise your target audience and their needs.
What is your end goal?
Map out your objectives and think about what you are looking to achieve. How will you measure your success? What does your success look like? Will you need to consider reporting?
Once you have established your objectives, you can start to debate what kind of technology will work to reach your goals.
The next steps
With a website acting as the front door to any organisation, an online presence is the best way to tell consumers about your company and set yourself apart from competitors. But, of course, this is not just down to the look of the website.
We see many organisations take the plunge and embark on an online journey with the mindset of focusing on aesthetically pleasing the audience. Although this is important, you need to think about the functions of the site and the audience using it.
Does your website need to act as a brochure to help users contact you? Or does it need to be an eCommerce hub? The functionality needs to reflect this, the user as well as the design and look.
Optimisation is also key. Whatever the function the site is fulfilling, ensuring that the site is consistently optimised to evolve with your business is foremost. Monitoring trends and analytics will ensure you get the most out of your investment. With the pace of change it will never be future proof, but it should be generating a ROI for you.
Similarly, you then need to think about supplementary digital solutions that may transform your business.
In a world where convenience is much appreciated, the use of apps continues to thrive. However, just because they are a popular platform, it does not mean it may be right for your business.
As well as a great marketing tool to push out information, an app can massively improve a consumer engagement, especially for eCommerce business structures. They are great for customers looking to interact with a business ‘on the go.’
However, you must not use an app as a replacement for an eCommerce site, it should compliment the original website.
Bespoke Software While generic software solutions can work well, attempting to find off the shelf software to suit your specific needs can be challenging.
We often see businesses purchase a solution only to then alter their own business models to coincide with the model of the just purchased software programme. It should be the opposite. Your digital technology solution should be bespoke to suit your needs.
Making the essential strides to take your company to the next level and adopting relevant digital technology can hugely accelerate your business growth. Used correctly, digital technology can offer a modernised approach to consumer engagement and can really help businesses stay ahead competitors.
With the right strategy and advice, all organisations can harness digital transformation to meet their business goals.