Retail marketplace with online and offline business models for small businesses

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In recent years, before the digital explosion, e-commerce activities drastically changed consumer behavior.

The results of the “WeAreSocial” website survey conducted in January 2020 showed that nearly 75% of users are used to purchasing products through online applications. This result shows that consumers tend to turn more to buying and selling products online. In the near future, a good combination of online sales and direct sales will form the basis for small businesses to grow and develop in a sustainable manner.

Benefits of e-commerce for small businesses

The advantages of e-commerce in general and online business in particular are the lower cost savings and the creation of lower profits for the parties to the transaction. Therefore, with a small budget to build an online shopping website, introduce products on social media, and invest in automated marketing tools, businesses can market and deliver products to customers without a physical store. It should be mentioned that the initial cost is relatively low compared to direct selling. This shows that the potential advantages of e-commerce are very helpful.

In addition, e-commerce also offers advantages to small businesses by creating a competitive price advantage when expanding sales. When using e-commerce, the initial cost is often lower than traditional sales because it doesn’t require a lot of capital with leasing stores, paying employees, or leasing warehouses. Small businesses can use low cost online marketing, targeting potential customers is not only limited to region, but can reach the world.

Trends in developing business models that combine online and in person

Currently, businesses selling directly or simply online face many challenges. Concretely, for simple direct sales companies, the transmission of information to customers will be extremely limited, because the perimeter of customers to the store is only in the geographical area close to the store.

According to Retaildive statistics in 2019, over 87% of customers research product information online before going to a store to make a purchase. This shows that direct selling stores have lost a huge competitive advantage in order to be able to gain customers. On the contrary, many businesses focus too much on the online sales system and forget the importance of the direct store system. Meanwhile, for most people’s spending habits, actual experience is one of the most important factors for customers to choose a product. The habit of “seeing and touching” is still a habit in the minds of the vast majority of consumers. Customers are always wary and lack confidence in products online.

In this context, many small businesses are implementing a business model that consists of automated marketing tools to accelerate the online shopping experience. With the help of chatbot and live chat services, businesses will advance the consumer’s shopping experience in the most optimal way. The right marketing tool used is the key to sustainable business development.

One of the tools called a chatbot provides customers with the necessary preinstalled information, helping customers to shop easily and save a lot of time. Another tool called smart widgets will be implemented with a clear objective: the online channel is responsible for creating a clear perception in the customer’s mind of the product / service, thus allowing potential customers to ask questions and get answers directly from the director of sales, just like in-store live.

According to 13chats, the chatbot is a useful solution to help small businesses improve sales efficiency through online and direct channels. This is how sales attract online channels to their physical stores. E-commerce using chatbot services will help customers collect product information through online spaces such as emails, internet advertisements, websites, social media sales channels, and online shopping. other channels and from there sellers can direct their customers to the companies’ actual stores. or make decisions to buy products from companies online.

What Are Marketing Automation Tools?

According to Oracle, marketing automation is the software that helps marketing teams plan, execute, and manage tracking activities across different platforms, and can quantify tracking, evaluation, and tracking data, as well as pricing and optimizing the efficiency of operations.

Basically, automation continues to reduce or even eliminate repetitive tasks, for example:

  • Live Chat
  • Automated Chatbot
  • Pop-up
  • Publish a content article on various social platforms
  • Rely on the effectiveness of ad serving to adjust ad activity in a timely manner
  • Automated and integrated data collection of marketing activities on different platforms

The automation tool helps in lead development, evaluation and monitoring of customer behavior, giving different metrics based on customer feedback to marketing progress.

There are two aspects to the automation of violations described above:

  • Content Automation: Content delivery will be different depending on targeting different audiences.
  • Channel automation: through different channels to target different audiences, like SMS, email, etc.

For example, an online branded website using a marketing automation tool such as 13 Facebook Messenger Chatbot chats, meanwhile, 10 users visited the brand’s website and registered to become members. The marketing automation tool will send a welcome email to new members, and they will likely have the following behaviors:

  1. Email not open;
  2. Opened the email, but took no further action;
  3. Do not open the email, visit the website again and select the product from the queue;
  4. Did not open the email, visit the website again and complete the purchase.

Depending on the behavior of the above objects, the marketing automation tool will send different content – content automation. For example:

  • For behavior type (2), send an email introducing the new products;
  • For behavior type (3), send a light payment reminder email;
  • For behavior type (4), send a thank you email to confirm the order, if the site visits again within 7 days, it will proceed to send other VIP discount codes.

Pros and Cons of Applying Automation Marketing Tools as a Business Model for Small Businesses

Benefits

– Quick search of product information: customers feel the convenience, save time and enjoy the advantages of comparing products, features and prices; may use discount codes, accumulate points or promotions in online or offline stores, collect customer consumption behavior, experience customer product reviews through online reviews. Once consumers experience online customer support via chatbot or live chat, they will likely make a purchase immediately or be interested in going to a store to view products directly.

The difficulties

– It is difficult for small businesses to manage automation tools for sales management and customer service without an IT professional.

Solutions for small businesses and startups applying marketing automation tools

Based on the data of 13chats, in order for the marketing automation combination model to be effective for small businesses, it is necessary to pay attention to the following issues:

  • Have qualified staff to manage product websites and social networking sites. Staff should have a good understanding of the product, be able to post articles, pictures, video clips about the product experience, provide full product information such as specifications, product images, product policy price, warranty. Being able to answer questions from the live chat support about the product, thereby increasing the reputation of the company and the outstanding features of the product to build customer confidence.
  • Connect with carriers, include online payment in chatbots and live chat to reduce delivery and payment times.
  • Use multi-channel sales support software like pop-ups.

Final thoughts

The purpose of a marketing automation tool is to help marketers free up time and energy for repetitive and tedious tasks, so that they can focus on their strengths to identify ways to ” improve their marketing. Marketing direction and goals, creating creative content strategies and ideas, or choosing marketing materials are tasks that still have to depend on the professionalism of marketers.

Currently most of the tools on the market are in English, worrying that it is too difficult to use has become a hindrance in the minds of marketers. The 13chats service allows you to define pop-ups to be displayed, for example, by browser language or by the specific URL of the page. Marketing automation tools require basic coding research and knowledge. However, if you are well trained and make an effort to explore all the features of the benefits of the chatbot, you can get used to this tool and even move on to more advanced automation tools.


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