Venture into digital markets
Undoubtedly one of the most popular and necessary technological solutions for any business is e-commerce.
Electronic commerce or e-commerce is the distribution, sale, purchase, marketing and supply of information and products through the Internet. It is important to distinguish it from the conventional use of an Internet page, where only a product or service is shown, but to acquire it, the customer must contact the company through another means. This is not e-commerce.
The key to e-commerce is to generate trust in your customers so that they will buy your product in your virtual store, as well as to be able to offer them a good service.
How to achieve that trust? Here are some guidelines:
- Keep your promises and learn how to react: it is important to fulfill what you promise your customers, as well as to have a compensation strategy ready to deal with cases in which it has not been possible.
- Reward recommendations: if a customer compliments you or highlights the features of your product, you must be attentive to respond, thank him or even reward him for his good recommendation.
- Personalize the service: use information from your customers' previous searches or purchases to personalize the list of products you offer. Customers appreciate receiving information that is aligned with their profile or preferences.
To start up your e-commerce there are several options. You can have your own virtual store, either you design it from scratch according to your needs or you can resort to ready-to-use solutions. If you are just starting out, it is advisable to implement an online store with an existing platform, such as Shopify or Jumpseller.
Another option, also recommended if you are starting your business, is to use marketplaces, i.e. existing electronic platforms where commercial exchanges take place, such as Amazon or Mercado Libre.
To learn more about the different e-commerce alternatives and how to implement them, we recommend you consult modules 4 and 5 of the Digital Marketing course, available at the ConnectAmericas Academy.
Technology to build customer loyalty
The priority for your business is to maintain the loyalty of your customers and the use of digital tools must be aligned with that goal. An example of how to do this is to personalize services.
In your online store show each customer a list of products based on their previous searches. You can also segment your buyers according to their preferences and profiles by launching email marketing campaigns.
Another option is to develop your own applications, although this alternative requires a higher level of investment.
In the traditional purchase management process, first a purchase order is sent, the supplier receives it and prepares the quotation and responds by mail to the buyer, who evaluates it, approves it and registers it, so that the supplier then generates the final purchase order.
This whole process can now be simplified with electronic logistics operation schemes. Thus, the buyer only needs to issue a call for purchase or tender, receive proposals from potential suppliers and choose one, all through the same platform.
In addition to streamlining the process, this option reduces the cost of placing a purchase order.
There are several areas where you can implement digital improvements through e-logistics platforms, such as supplier management, customer service, procurement, production process, service delivery process and distribution and transportation.
Financial technology companies (known as fintech) are helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) grow by offering financial solutions better suited to their financing challenges, which are often not addressed by traditional banking.
In addition to financing, they also offer solutions such as accounting and financial management automation, more flexible insurance, administrative management and the digitization of payments.
One service we recommend you consider is digital payments. Not only will they facilitate payroll and employee payments, if you want to expand your business they will also make it easier to pay for international services and imports and receive payments for your exports. Another advantage is that they can be automated and thus reduce operating costs and risks of error.
You can find a complete list of fintechs operating in the region to evaluate the technological solutions that each of them offers. Download the Fintech Iberoamerica catalog for free here.
Digitize your accounting management
There are specialized software and technological tools that automate and simplify processes such as the basic accounting management of your company, cash flow control or the reconciliation of the operations of different bank accounts.
The automation of these processes will allow you to save time in tasks such as issuing invoices, managing payments or generating financial reports.
When choosing an accounting management software, we suggest you take into account the following:
- It should be intuitive and easy to use
- That it has quality customer service
- That it is scalable and adapts to the growth of your company.
- That it integrates with other tools and systems, such as the billing system or human resources software.
These recommendations and key points were presented by María Ignacia Jofré, vice president of the Chilean company FinteChile during the Cycle of Financial Inclusion for SMEs 2023. You can see her complete presentation here.
Finally, we suggest that to start the digital transformation of your company you first identify one or two areas where the adoption of a technological solution can mean a measurable improvement in productivity or efficiency.
Once you have made an analysis, implement the technological solution that you consider appropriate during a trial period that allows you to evaluate its pros and cons. The digital transformation of a company involves a process of continuous change, so your adaptation and change management will be key to the proper development of the solutions you decide to implement.
Remember that technology is also a means to achieve your goals, the success of its use will depend on your creativity and innovation!