Priyanka Salot - Co-founder, The Sleep Company

Priyanka Salot is an entrepreneur and Co-founder of The Sleep Company, a leading premium comfort innovation firm. With more than a decade’s experience in the area of consumer durables, she has been the driving force behind The Sleep Company’s focus on bringing research-based innovation in sleep and comfort products. Supported by an exceptional team and under Priyanka’s dynamic leadership, The Sleep Company today holds the patent for the SmartGRID mattress; a revolutionary comfort product. A driven and committed leader, she was instrumental in the company’s journey from its inception to years of research and development to its present position as an innovator and leader in the comfort technology space in Asia.

 

2020 has been the year of digital migration of businesses across sectors. Given the increasing digitalisation of Industry 4.0, this was inevitable. But the global pandemic was the push that accelerated the pace of this migration as more and more businesses moved from strictly brick and mortar presence to alternative models that included only digital and hybrid sales models. Even small businesses are now striving to go online, hoping to expand their presence and market. 

Digital migration or the movement of businesses from brick and mortar to online space was till recently seen as an alternative source of revenue, one that was growing at a remarkable pace. The pandemic further accelerated the pace of digital marketing in India with a 36% jump in the last quarter of 2020, showing an overall annual growth of 7.8%. With this rate of growth, the Indian e-commerce industry is expected to outdo the US by 2034 and become the second-largest e-commerce market in the world. 

A testament to this growth is the growing investment in the industry. In the last few years, global players have made significant investments in the Indian market, such as Facebook and Google’s investment in Reliance Jio. Other than the pandemic, the increasing penetration of smartphones has been the driving factor behind India’s digital growth. 

One of the significant developments that we see in this space is the growth of digital D2C brands. Where online marketing was largely seen as an alternative source of avenue, for D2C brands digital platforms are the main marketplace. By cutting out middlemen and streamlining the supply chain, these companies have been successful in cost optimization and tapping into India’s huge base of online shoppers. The mattress market has been one such sector that has seen great success with this model. With consumers becoming more quality conscious, aware and willing to research, compare product material as well as technology and make informed decisions, the online mattress business has been booming not just in terms of demand but with innovation as well. 

Guide to take your business online

However, despite its benefits small businesses still find themselves at a backfoot, primarily because of a mistaken belief that digitisation requires resources that they cannot afford. This is a mistaken belief on two fronts. Firstly, it should be seen as a critical investment rather than an expense. Secondly, thanks to many handy tools now available online, it is also remarkably easy. Here’s our easy guide on taking your business offline:

Audit your brand: Like any other marketing plan, this one also starts with the brand. Before we begin to carve a marketing strategy, we must first understand the brand, what makes it unique, and better than the competition. Then comes defining the target market. When it comes to digital, content is the king and to craft the right content, one must know the audience. The target audience also influences digital marketing strategies, such as picking the right digital platforms for digital ads. 

Develop a pricing strategy: When devising a pricing strategy, it is important that we take into account the pricing followed by competing brands. The online space offers easy access to multiple brands, giving you the full range of prices in the industry. An online market may have a higher initial cost with website development, but this can be adjusted with lowered supply-chain costs. 

Buy a suitable domain: The first step in setting up a digital platform is to buy a suitable domain. This is your digital address. For best results, it is best to buy a domain name that is the same as your business. Make sure it is not already registered or is under trademark. Unless you are going for a domain name that is already in demand, these are quite affordable. You can opt for country-specific domains like .in if your market is country-specific. For a more global domain, look for .com domains. 

Create the website: What’s a digital shop without a website? It’s the digital equivalent of a shopfront. With competitors just a click away, the internet offers you a small window to grab the buyer’s attention. Hence, it is important that the website is designed with due attention to minor details. Of particular importance is the user experience, navigation, and security of financial transactions. Ideally, it should not take a buyer more than three clicks from reaching your website to making a purchase. 

However, creating this is only one aspect of a digital shopfront. To be effective, it also requires relevant content that not only showcases the product, but also educates the customer. It is best if we hire professionals or an agency for the initial set-up. This can include hiring or outsourcing to specialists like website designer, SEO expert, photographer, and content writer. You may also opt to invest in its app development. 

Payments & shipments: This is one of the critical elements of an e-commerce site. It is crucial that we ensure a safe payment gateway. Any compromises in this respect can not only damage your reputation, it can also invite punitive action. Apart from a secure POS, one must also ensure proper receipt, multiple payment options, and automatic updation of inventory. For easy deliveries, the shopping cart should be connected to shipping services. 

Go live: Now comes the final step! But before you go live, remember to do a test run with your employees or a select group of people to pinpoint lags and lacunae. 

Remember, going online is just the first step. To realise its full potential, one needs to be alert and work smart. There are many avenues for online brand building, including SEO, social media marketing, continuously updating the content, and smart digital advertising. As the world becomes more and more digital, these online strategies will become inevitable. Brands that start early have a better chance of capturing the market, streamlining their operations, and set the standards. 

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