One of the qualities that make good entrepreneurs stand out is their ability to adapt. When changes appear in the local market or the industry as a whole, innovators find ways to take advantage of the new possibilities. In today’s digital world, many music businesses are seeing the advantages of moving all or part of their sales online. How can owners make the transition to e-commerce as smooth and profitable as possible?
First, it’s important to keep in mind that every business has different circumstances. This means that music shop owners need to evaluate their company’s operations individually. Giving some thought to what major players in the industry are doing is wise, but following their choices like a template isn’t likely to work for every music store.
Transitioning to e-commerce is smart, but that doesn’t mean it’s a decision to make lightly. Music businesses need to create customized strategies for website development, marketing, sales, accounting, customer service — even brand identity.
As an example, some music stores have no problems shifting completely from brick-and-mortar operations to online sales. Other businesses maintain a physical presence and integrate e-commerce seamlessly. The right choice depends on the store’s target customers and long-term goals.
The good news is that many high-tech systems that assist brick-and-mortar music stores also help with the transition to e-commerce. Point-of-sale systems such as Music Shop 360 are a huge help to store owners, and they provide a complete suite of e-commerce tools:
- Fully functional e-commerce website
- Wide range of supported payment types, including mobile apps, CNP transactions and customer financing
- Integrated POS features for music sales, musical instruments and instruction
- Business management software for payroll, taxes, inventory and more
- Marketing programs that are ready to go
With a high-quality POS system, most of the heavy lifting for e-commerce happens automatically. Business owners still need to plan, but the tools to reach their destinations are just a few taps away.
The difference between a successful e-commerce launch and a painful transition usually comes down to how well a music shop understands its core audience. Few businesses can be profitable without the support of a strong customer base, and music stores are no exception.
Target customers are the primary revenue drivers for a music shop. They’re the ones who defend their favorite brands and recommend stores to friends and family. When the target audience is happy, a business can prosper online and offline.
Unfortunately, some businesses forget about their clients when shifting to e-commerce. In the desire to “rebrand” or upgrade their business’s image, business owners can accidentally leave behind the things that their main clients love about the brand.
For example, a classic music shop that has sold vinyl records for decades needs to be careful when transitioning to a fully online experience. While there are cost benefits to eliminating a physical store location, what if it was the ability to browse old records in person that customers loved most? A more gradual transition may make sense to “test the waters,” so to speak.
It helps to think of the e-commerce move as a literal moving date. Some business owners are surprised to see the large list of things to do before setting up shop, the same as with a physical move. There are countless details to confirm and prepare for before the online “grand opening.”
Stores must decide how to ship items and what kind of prices they will provide to clients. Digital downloads have a cost, too. Oversized musical instruments can be tricky to ship, so research is needed for assigning costs.
Music shops should have a customer-friendly return policy in place. At the same time, rules need to protect the music store’s products from abuse.
Going online doesn’t eliminate the need to manage inventory. Fortunately, the tools are mainly the same. Inventory is usually only complicated for businesses that combine physical sales and online sales.
Online operations still require high-quality staff members to assist customers. For e-commerce, many team members work in areas such as customer service, marketing and order fulfillment.
A Final Note
Some music shops keep prioritizing local customers even after the switch to e-commerce. As long as the market supports it, this can be a smart move that reduces advertising costs. Other businesses see more revenue from national instrument sales. With the right tools and planning, any business model is possible.
The music business has seen a dramatic surge in e-commerce in recent years, with more and more artists and labels embracing digital methods of selling and marketing their music. This trend is likely to continue, and it is important to understand the keys to unlocking the potential of e-commerce in the music industry.
Primarily, it is important to have an accessible platform that can be used to promote and sell music. This could involve having a dedicated website or simply utilising existing online services such as iTunes and Spotify. Having a presence on these platforms and ensuring that all content is up-to-date and professional will help with visibility and credibility. It is also important to ensure that music is available in a range of different formats, enabling customers to download music in whichever suits them best.
Another important aspect of e-commerce in the music business is marketing. Unfortunately, without spreading the word about an artist or song, it can be difficult to make an impact. For this, it is important to utilise digital marketing strategies, such as social media and email campaigns, as these are effective at building a fan base and driving sales. It is also beneficial to make use of other digital marketing techniques such as SEO, Adwords and influencer campaigns.
Finally, it is essential to set up various payment options for customers. This is really important for international sales, as customers in different countries may not have access to the same payment methods. Popular payment options are often PayPal and cryptocurrencies, and it is recommended to have an understanding of both before offering them as payment options.
To conclude, these are the key elements that should be taken into consideration in order to successfully take advantage of e-commerce in the music business. By having an accessible platform, utilizing effective marketing strategies and setting up various payment options, music businesses are in a great position to benefit from the ever-expanding online market.