Details Often Overlooked When Moving Your Business Online During COVID
As the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 has recently passed, most businesses that have survived have moved their operations online. Consumer behavior has been forever changed by the conditions brought on by the pandemic, which require remote and digital fulfillment of all kinds of goods and services. One study by Shopify showed that over 50 percent of North American consumers plan to shop online forever. Another study by McKinsey showed that B-to-B buyers not only preferred remote or self-service sales, but 15 percent were willing to spend up to $1 million online.
Unfortunately, quite a few people moved online thinking the move to digital would be temporary and not a permanent fixture of our current age. Additionally, many businesses moved online, but only implemented the minimum needed to get them going. Without returning to refine their plans, their business settled into its digital reality.
As a result, there are many things that have been overlooked in the move online. Here are three:
Innovation in Customer Experience
Most people move online and then feel like they've done all they can — or worse, need to — in order to successfully sell online. However, moving online is only the start of the battle. The rest of it comes in innovating your product and adapting to digitally native ways of doing things and serving customers. If you sell, for example, furniture online, think about ways to add value to the purchase that would be memorable to the customer — e.g., partnering with a service that will set up the furniture in the home, or using augmented reality (AR) to digitally place the furniture in a consumer’s home. That will help justify larger expenses and lessen the likelihood of returns.
As the external selling mechanism changes, so too should the internal processes behind them. And in addition to the business being online, the workforce is now mostly remote. Therefore, previous ways of keeping employees aligned won’t be as effective anymore. Selling efficiently online will require alignment across technologies, processes and teams. Using workflow and content automation tools can allow you to not only keep your internal team on the same page, but also create a centralized hub for documents (e.g., invoices, purchase agreements, terms, etc.) relating to each individual transaction.
Executing Agreements Seamlessly
There's a lot of advice on the internet that tells you to have your “legal ducks in a row,” but very few specify what that might mean or look like. Depending on the product you sell or service you offer, there might be contracts, agreements, or consents associated with each purchase. At the very minimum, you'll need to present your terms of service or user agreements to customers in a way that lets them know they're agreeing to something, and a banner at the bottom of a website isn't enough. Because PDFs and Word documents interrupt the buying process, present these documents and consents to customers using digitally native agreements like clickwrap.
Moving online isn’t just about setting up a website with e-commerce functionality. Rather, it’s about providing the same seamless experience and service with a smile to customers online as you did in person. Going above and beyond in this case means innovating the customer experience, improving internal systems and workflows with workflow and content automation tools, and presenting contracts seamlessly to buyers. This will ensure that your business not only survives, but thrives online.
Eric Prugh is general manager, developer platform at Ironclad, the No. 1 contract lifecycle management (CLM) platform for innovative companies. In his role, he will be building out the Clickwrap Transaction Platform and the API strategy behind the Digital Contracting platform at Ironclad.
Eric Prugh is GM, Developer Platform at Ironclad. Ironclad is the No. 1 contract lifecycle management (CLM) platform for innovative companies. In his role, he will be building out the Clickwrap Transaction Platform and the API strategy behind the Digital Contracting platform at Ironclad.