What If an Online Store Doesn't Work for Your Business?
How client management software can help small businesses to succeed online.
Suppose you are a photographer, artist, event planner, dog groomer, copywriter, web designer, or interior designer. In that case, a typical online store, such as Shopify, Squarespace, or Wix, may not be a good fit for your business.
Shopify, Squarespace, and Wix base their online stores on the assumption that you sell highly standardized and reproducible physical products, digital products, or services for which the online shopper should pay at check-out.
Freelancers Tailor Their Services to Their Customers’ Needs
Photographers, artists, or event planners usually sell customizable services or one-of-a-kind artwork and tailor their services to their customers' requirements.
Although some clients may ask for similar services, these services are rarely identical.
When your client first contacts you, their ideas and expectations may still be vague and barely aligned with their budget. In later meetings, you give your input and jointly develop the exact deliverables, adapting your services to meet your client's needs and budget.
Should this be your scenario, then an online store does not work for you.
► When an Online Store is Right for You — and When Not
Workarounds Are Probably Not a Good Solution
Of course, the internet is probably full of workarounds and apps trying to change how you do business, forcing you to align with Shopify's or Squarespace's underlying business model. But they are just that - workarounds. Your scenario does not fit a typical online store.
Industry-Specific Software, like HoneyBook or Dubsado, May Be a Better Fit
Instead, look for industry-specific software that supports how you do business. You may be surprised about how many web-based solutions are out there to which you can easily subscribe.
For example, HoneyBook and Dubsado are two client management software packages for freelancers, photographers, and event planners. Both are web-based and offer monthly or annual subscription plans. They cover all steps from lead generation to contracting and billing, allowing you to manage all client-facing communication through one interface.
Both HoneyBook and Dubsado offer contact-us-forms that you can easily integrate into your website, connecting it to their platform.
Connecting the contact-us-form on your website with HoneyBook or Dubsado has the tremendous advantage that any lead captured on your website immediately appears in their software, and you can conveniently respond to it from wherever you are.
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