Nowadays customers expect their favorite businesses to be available to them online. This doesn’t mean that you have to move your business 100 percent online, but having a strong digital presence can help you get in front of more customers. In fact, 87 percent of customers now begin their product searches on different digital channels. That number has continued to rise steadily over the years and is now higher than ever due to the pandemic. So, in order to have people find and notice your business early in the buying cycle, an online presence is necessary.
Bill.com is one company that is harnessing technology to help businesses streamline the payment process. Smart AP and AR automation plus new payment capabilities are making it easier than ever to manage and collect payments, helping your business stay on schedule. Collecting payments and invoicing on time is always important, but now it’s more vital than ever.
Moving Online Due to COVID
Offering services online has been a necessity for many businesses due to restrictions on non-essential, in-person businesses. For others, it has added an extra revenue stream or offered new options for customers who may not feel comfortable visiting in person.
Of course, pivoting your business to a digital platform takes time, planning and work. You need a website, social accounts, and a way for people to place orders and purchase services or products. Then you need to offer resources and value to customers. Plus there’s online reputation through reviews and social media. Truth be told,it can feel daunting at first, but it will pay off in the end.
“Transformational times like this create opportunities to disrupt traditional market moves that are falling short and craft net-new services that extend your firm’s value.” - Forrester
Online Transactions Offer More Insight
Online platforms can also provide businesses with information about their customers. When you do business in person, you don’t always collect data about each transaction. But doing business online allows you to measure buying trends and customer loyalty. You can then use this information to improve your services and products moving forward.
There are plenty of different tech tools and platforms that can help you in these various areas. These include e-commerce platforms, website builders, social media schedulers, email services and analytics tools. These tools can make your online business run efficiently and reach more customers online.
A new study by BrandMaker showed that half of the marketers surveyed found that previous investments in marketing innovation and automation helped them quickly pivot as the COVID-19 pandemic affected sales and marketing.
Address Specific Problems
Some of the best innovations are created in response to specific – and in some cases, urgent – problems. The COVID-19 crisis has brought to light many urgent problems. If your business pivots to the digital world, try and solve a problem for your customers. Address issues that are urgent and immediate. It can be anything from daily activities that people would prefer to do online to new innovations during this new normal we are experiencing.
Find Your Long-term Market
You’ll need to do the research to figure out whether there will be a market for your product or service in a post-COVID world. Research conducted by CB Insights prior to the pandemic found that a lack of market demand was the most common reason for failed startups’ demise, with 42% of companies citing it as a contributing cause. If you’re going to take the time to pivot to a digital marketplace, you want it to be a lasting journey.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly accelerating the digital commerce pivot globally, forcing businesses to revisit and even reimagine their strategy in the interest of capturing new marketplace opportunities and their fair share of new digital customer segments.” - Accenture
If you find that your current target market may not be large enough in a post-COVID future, you may need to consider a shift, and soon. For a strategic pivot, do whatever you can to make it happen early, proactively and thoughtfully. There are many stories in the media about startups that are pivoting — but they are doing it reactively and in a scramble for survival. The key to success when making this change is to do way ahead of time, before it’s needed. This will ensure a more smooth process and won’t take away resources, time, or money.
Long-term Benefits of Being Online
It’s not only beneficial for businesses to embrace technology during this ever-changing time. Creating an online model also provides many benefits during more normal times as well. Companies may find there is a decrease in overhead expenses, either by cutting out rent altogether or operating in a small space. When much of the work is done on digital platforms, you can even hire talent from anywhere, as working remotely is possible.
Billing and Payments Digitally
Bill.com offers an intelligent way to manage and pay bills using easy online tools. Interested businesses can request a free demo to learn how to save time on accounts payable, with all the control and visibility you need.
You can make your financial back office more digitally equipped with:
Personalized payment reminders
Payment options such as ACH, credit card, and PayPal
Bill.com is a leading provider of cloud-based software that simplifies, digitizes, and automates back-office financial processes for small- and mid-sized businesses. Customers come from all industries, ranging from startups to established brands and nonprofits to franchises.