Nancy Jalbert
Partner | CPA, CA | Business Transformation

The effects of the pandemic on several SMEs encouraged them to find new ways to reach customers, particularly through online sales and remote services.

The e-commerce and remote services trend have reached a new level, which will now be part of a new normal. Although it has shaken up some less well-prepared companies, it brings new business opportunities and emerging customers that your organization could take advantage of in order to continue your activities and generate new income.

Here are a few things you should consider when reassessing your business model.

Promote online sales

E-commerce is becoming a necessity for retailers in a post-pandemic world. Not only this will allow you to expand your geographic reach beyond your community, but an online store will also allow you to be more competitive within your market. Take advantage of this new consumer habit to reorient your strategy and strengthen your online presence. As an exemple:

  • Introduce deals or discounts to promote sales;
  • Cut shipping costs to remove this disincentive;
  • Offer freebies to get your name out there and boost sales of your other products or services;
  • Encourage your customers to share through social media your online store to increase your brand awareness;
  • Partner with local networks, such as a chamber of commerce or a local business association, to boost your products and services online.

Your business could benefit from support measures, such as the government’s initiative Le Panier Bleu, the City of Montreal’s urban delivery and digital shift support, as well as a Québec program to help update the skills of your employees. Consult the summary of available support measures, updated on a regular basis on our website.

Focus on your digital shift

The digital customer experience is, in the new normal, a must for any type of business. Companies that have innovated and provided an unparalleled buying experience for their customers will be able to take advantage of this current digital trend and gain significant market share.

When focusing on your digital shift, you must redefine the client journey. For an e-commerce platform, you have to rethink all the points of contact with your clients, including the information gathering, delivery and after-sale service stages.

Ask yourself these questions to better understand your client journey and how the digital experience fits in:

• How to promote your online store (website, social networks, referrers, purchase of keywords or advertisements, partnerships, etc.)?
• How to maximize the client online experience (secure and efficient transactional website, easy-to-access information, email, online chat, etc.)?
• How to ensure your clients enjoyed their online shopping experience (follow-up emails, surveys, etc.)?

While the digital transformation can contribute to diversifying your revenues and improving operational efficiency, it should not be at the expense of the client experience. Digitalization strategies are not just transaction focused, they also allow you to drive client commitment and foster relationships and partnerships.

There are several transactional platforms in Quebec that can help you start your online business, and many specialize in online sales for smaller businesses.

Bandeau - Management RCGT

Use technology to provide your services

There are great tools available to help professional service companies manage their customer relations and accounts:

  • Turn to tech platforms like Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts to keep in touch with clients and offer virtual support;
  • Remain present on traditional and online media;
  • Send relevant information in your customer newsletter;
  • Create content like webinars and live videos to keep relationships alive and maybe even generate new revenues;
  • Engage with customers on social media.

Rethink your business priorities

This is a time for renewal and innovate in new products and services to add value to your current offering. Seize this opportunity to make adjustments so that your business will be stronger than ever before. Consider adding new technologies to expand the offering and distribution of your products or services.

There is also an opportunity to reinvent your business by finding new ways to create value for your clients and expand your offer to generate income and keep your clients.

It’s not always easy to know which avenues to pursue. Our experts are here for you. They can help you reassess your business model and develop a winning strategy.

02 Sep 2020  |  Written by :

Nancy Jalbert is a partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton.

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