How to make the transition from selling in-store to selling online.
By Abigail Thorpe
If current times have proven anything to business owners, it’s that having the ability to sell online is a life-saver. Beyond the demands of the current health situation—which has forced many customers buying habits’ online—having an online presence opens up new opportunities for broadening your customer base, increasing sales, and diversifying your marketing strategy. It further allows for omnichannel retail, so you can offer buy online, pick up in store options to your customers and drive further sales.
So you’ve made the decision to take your business online. What’s next? First you’re going to need to analyze your products/services, sales and current operating system, and come up with a strategy.
What products are best fitted to online sales, and which are better left to an actual storefront (either because of shipping concerns, legality issues, or simple product use and placement: i.e., spontaneous purchase retail items you keep on the counter). Utilize the lessons you’ve learned from your brick and mortar store to create a better online store. What are customers looking for? What kind of sales tools do they want? What draws their attention or simplifies their shopping experience?
Next, consider if your current point of sale or operating system integrates with an ecommerce platform. You’ll need a way to track inventory and sales, and it’s best if your online and in-store systems are integrated.
Your website is essentially your online storefront, so you’ll need to invest time and money in making sure it’s attractive to customers, easy to use, and secure. It will require ecommerce capabilities, so if you already have a website, see if there’s a plugin you can add. When choosing a website host and setting up your online store, consider integration with your current operating system, customer support offerings, flexible, scalable design, security, multi-platform functionality, and cost. You want your online business to be able to grow and adjust with your business needs, so don’t skimp when it comes to finding the best fit for your business.
Taking sales online means you’ll need to consider shipping and fulfillment. You can do it yourself, or utilize a third party service that warehouses, packs and ships for you. Either way, you’ll want to make sure it’s fast and reliable. How your package arrives says a lot about your business.
Going online opens more opportunity for marketing—particularly through shoppable posts and email marketing. But it also means you’ll need the knowhow and time to not only manage the marketing, but manage your online store. Make sure you (or a designated employee) are ready to devote time and up for the challenge of learnong the skills necessary to make your online business successful. An online business opens more opportunity, but it requires time and dedication, just like a physical store.
Finally, don’t feel like you’re on your own for the transition—it may seem daunting but it can be quite fun and we can make it an easy and exciting experience. Let Rocket Fish Digital know how we can partner to make your online business a success!