How to Transition Brick and Mortar Stores to Online Shopping

The new way of life in this technology-inclined age is to have an online presence both as an individual and as a business person. Business owners who are still stuck in their old ways are missing out.

Business owners who have a strong online presence are unlimited, as they can attract customers from different locations (both far and near). It is not enough to be online, you have to know how to navigate social media tools to get information on your customers so that you can serve them better.

However, this has its challenges. While the sky is big enough for all birds to fly effortlessly, getting to that level can be very tough as competition is fierce.

Everyone is putting their A-game to be recognized successfully in the online space.

If you wish to stand out, you need to think outside the box and develop creative ideas. Stay dedicated and keep pushing – all you need is for just one video to go viral.

Another challenge is the increasing level of insecurity that customers feel. The increase in impersonation, fraudulent activities, what-I-ordered-vs-what-I-got, etc.

If business owners put certain safeguard measures in place, they can overcome this.

In this article, we will be educating business owners on how to successfully build and maintain an online presence.

Defining Your eCommerce Strategy

Business owners can define their eCommerce strategy in three (3) steps:

  1. Choosing the right online platform
  2. Product selection
  3. Target audience

Choosing the right online platform

The first step is to choose the right e-commerce platform to showcase your business. They include:

  • Shopify
  • BigCommerce
  • Magento
  • Wix
  • WooCommerce
  • Shift4Shop
  • Squarespace
  • Adobe Commerce
  • Ecwid
  • Amazon
  • Big Cartel
  • OpenCart
  • PrestaShop
  • Square
  • eBay
  • Weebly
  • Alibaba
  • Walmart
  • Etsy
  • Venda Inc
  • Salesforce Inc
  • Target
  • Volusion
  • Best Buy
  • AliExpress
See also  The Journey to Customer Loyalty: How USANA Champions Quality

The next step is to consider certain factors, such as:

  • Budget
  • Customization
  • Needs
  • Scalability
  • Features
  • Familiarity with website builders
  • Support
  • Analytics
  • Functionality
  • Design
  • Cost of the platform
  • Ease of use
  • Security
  • Flexibility
  • Customer support
  • SEO
  • integration with other software.

Product selection

Here, you will have to select which products you want to display on your online store—whether you wish to replicate your in-store offerings or showcase a curated selection.

While both options are achievable, they come with their pros and cons. If you replicate your in-store offerings online, be prepared for an unbelievable increase in shipping costs.

This is because all your products on display will have to be stored, packed and shipped when they are ordered. If not managed properly, both you and your customers can end up in confusion.

However, if you choose to go with the curated selection, you are just putting up products in season, best sellers, or unique items. This is a preferable choice because it will reduce your shipping cost.

You can then channel that money to product photography so that the pictures on your product page will be clear and inviting.

Target audience

If you are an existing business that wishes to implement this change, you have to check if your customer base will adopt these changes and what you can do to make the adaptation smooth.

Also, you have to check if it will be possible to reach more customers either within your location or in other locations.

Building Your Online Store

Now that you have defined your e-commerce strategy, the next step is to build your online store. We will be discussing how you can build your online store in these three steps:

  1. Design and User Experience
  2. Product Descriptions
  3. High-Quality Images
See also  How Crowns and Veneers are Crafting Beautiful Smiles in Perth

Design and User Experience

When building your online store, you have to make sure that your design is visually appealing. This is not just about what your customers see with their eyes as per graphic design; it also includes whether or not users are having a seamless experience on your site.

Your website should not just be suitable or smooth for those using a computer alone, those on mobile phones should equally have a smooth and seamless experience.

Product Descriptions

One disadvantage of online shopping is that you cannot feel the texture of what you are buying. For things like footwear and articles of clothing, you cannot wear them to see if they fit or are comfortable.

This is where product description comes in. You give your customers a detailed insight about the product they want to buy and you do it in such a way that it will be optimized by the search engines.

High-Quality Images

If you must transition to online shopping as a business owner, you must invest in product photography to get high-quality images and videos of your products and/or services.

Marketing Your Online Store

When marketing your online store, three things must be considered. They include SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing.

SEO is the acronym for search engine optimisation, and it is used to increase the visibility of one’s website. Social media platforms are used to connect with your customers on a personal level, run sales, promote your business online and introduce new products.

While content marketing establishes your authority and helps you to draw customers in, especially when you have ranked in search results.

See also  Unveiling The Benefits Of Online Marketing For Orlando Businesses

Fulfilment and Logistics

When it comes to logistics, you have to consider the shipping options available to you. Some shipping options you can consider, include:

  • USPS
  • FedEx
  • UPS
  • DHL
  • Courier services
  • Mail

After choosing the shipping option, most suitable to you, you have to work out how (strategies and tools) to synchronize your online and in-store inventory.

The major inventory strategies that you can consider include:

  • The Pull strategy
  • The Push strategy; and
  • The Just in Time (JIT) strategy.

For tools and techniques, here are some options to consider:

  • ABC Analysis
  • FIFO, LIFO, and Average Pricing
  • Traceability
  • Cycle Monitoring
  • Data identification with barcoding

When it comes to customer fulfilment, you should also consider implementing return policies under some conditions such as:

  • Return for a full refund
  • Return for an exchange
  • Return for store credit
  • Return unopened
  • Return unused
  • Return unworn
  • Only XYZ can returned.

Leveraging Your Brick and Mortar Advantage

Just because you want to transit to an online store, does not mean that you should close up your physical store or ignore it. While attempting to create a seamless online experience, ensure to do the same for your in-store customers.

Final Words,

Transitioning online holds key benefits that cannot be ignored. Transitioning is not something that is done impromptu. It involves careful planning and implementation. However, business owners must endeavour to stay updated with the evolving e-commerce trend.