2020 has turned the retail world upside down, and Black Friday was even more proof of that. According to TechCrunch, Black Friday eCommerce sales hit $9 billion this year — an increase of 21.6 percent over last year’s figures.

At the same time, in-store traffic took a nosedive, with many retailers staying closed on Thanksgiving or operating in ways designed to limit foot traffic inside their stores.

Clearly, 2020 has further accelerated the trend toward online shopping for all types of goods and services. In fact, Digital Commerce 360 predicts 40.3 percent yearly growth for eCommerce sales in 2020. Businesses of all sizes — and industries — would do well to take note.

Finding New Ways to Reach Your Customers

The pandemic forced many to rethink the way they did business. Consultants who once met with clients in-person found themselves conducting meetings through Zoom. Beauticians started selling personal spa packages to deliver to clients who could no longer come in for a regular appointment.

Even if pandemic-related shutdowns didn’t force you to make such drastic changes, it is still worthwhile to take a step back and consider how you could make your business more digital-oriented.

While it’s easy to see how a business that is primarily focused on selling products could take its sales online, service businesses can also go digital. Ask yourself: what services could you offer digitally? Is there a way to offer complementary products that go alongside the services you already provide?

With some creative thinking, you can introduce new revenue streams through your website or social media channels.

Optimizing Your Business Website For eCommerce

Many small businesses treat their website as little more than a digital brochure. It lists some basic information about the business and what it offers, and then tells customers to send an email, visit in store, or call to get in touch.

To take advantage of rising eCommerce trends, you need to truly optimize your website for online sales. This means creating individual pages for the products or services you’ll be offering for sale, using payment plugins to securely process online payments, and more.

The end goal should be to make conducting an online transaction easy and stress-free for clients. If you’ll be shipping a physical product, clearly state shipping costs and times upfront (and consider giving customers multiple shipping options). If customers are paying to schedule a consultation or appointment with you, make sure that the checkout process includes giving them an opportunity to add themselves to openings on your calendar.

With all these changes, try to keep things simple. Make it so customers can get from your home page to checkout in as few clicks as possible, and you’ll get more sales through your website.

Are You Prepared For An Online Future?

2020 has sparked increased demand for online shopping across all industries. Whether you sell handmade products or business consultations, you must find ways to cater to the increased demand for digital interactions and purchases.

By making it easier for customers to do business with you in the digital realm, you will be better positioned to attract and retain them during these turbulent times.