Maximum Online Business Functionality: Keep Your Customers and Employees Happy
Not so long ago, running a business entirely online was nearly impossible. Even Amazon, an online company in its early stages, had to rely on physical storage and shipping to deliver books to customers. Now, both of these things can be automated via e-books or audiobooks, or online shipping services.
Modern web services and capabilities advancements have made it possible to run a successful business from your chair. This article will cover the main points of maximizing online business functionality. The result should be improved efficiency and satisfaction among employees and customers.
Core functions of a successful online business
Online businesses require some of the same core functions as traditional businesses. But, the way these functions are deployed has changed dramatically. Here are some of the core functions of an online business:
Whether online or in person, customer service will always be a hallmark of any successful business. Online businesses provide customer service through three main channels:
- Live chat
Superior customer service is crucial for the long-term success of a company. It’s also a bit more difficult to attain without face-to-face contact. Online businesses must have around-the-clock customer service representatives to handle complaints and claims promptly.
Marketing involves everything from setting the right prices to running ad campaigns to bring customers. Social media presence is another marketing channel that’s of great value to online businesses.
For most online businesses, driving website traffic is the main marketing goal. More traffic often equals higher revenue. The most cost-effective way to increase traffic through search engine optimization (SEO).
Customers must have an easy and secure way of purchasing products or services. Convenience is crucial to avoid customers abandoning mid-purchase. But, they also must feel assured that their financial data is handled with professionalism and care.
Most successful businesses utilize a merchant account service that allows payment with major credit card companies. Additionally, customers should be able to pay with online payment gateways like PayPal.
Information technology is all the software and hardware necessary to run your online business. Since everything is happening online, you need a dedicated team of IT specialists to support customers and employees with IT issues.
A healthy and efficient IT infrastructure separates great from good online businesses.
The importance of securing your online business
Another key aspect that ties all of these functions together is security. An online business must have strong defenses to withstand the never-ending threat of malicious cyber actors.
Online businesses are particularly targeted by cyber criminals due to the valuable customer data they usually store. A single data breach can have severe consequences for a business, including:
- Financial cost: Recovering from an attack can cost thousands, if not millions, of dollars. Most SMEs can’t afford that much
- Reputational damage: Customers will lose faith in your business knowing that their data was exposed
- Loss of valuable data: If you don’t have data backups, a breach can lead to the loss of valuable information and business data
Building a business on safe foundations
Creating a safe business infrastructure is much easier if you do it from the start. One of the first things you’ll need to figure out is where to store all the data. In 2022, a secure cloud storage solution is the best and easiest way for online businesses to store data.
Cloud storage allows you to back up all your data securely and as often as you’d like. It’s also an extremely effective way for collaboration and file exchange between employees. Online businesses are fully-remote and can’t possibly rely on hard drives to store data.
Since the cloud storage solution you choose will set the foundations for your business, you must choose carefully. Opt for the solution with the best security features, such as:
- Advanced encryption
- Multiple backups
- Strong authentication
- Firewalls, etc.
Online businesses rely on modern technologies to carry out traditional core functionalities. Third-party online services can facilitate most of these functions, while others have to be hosted in-house.
Security is a major concern in today’s business landscape. Some may even say that security is now a core business function, which is especially relevant for online businesses.