The Small Retail Business Guide for Transitioning to E-Commerce
Transitioning from a physical brick-and-mortar retail store may seem like an uphill battle; however, it is much easier than you might think. Since you already have an established business you are already halfway there, a lot of the procedures you follow in your store will also take place in your online store, it will just be held in a digital format.
Now more than ever, consumers are choosing to shop online to purchase everything from clothing to home decor. It is not surprising that 8 out of 10 Americans are buying online. By opening an online store, you are not only accommodating your current customers, but you are opening up your business to customers worldwide. Also, unlike your physical location, your e-commerce store will be open 24/7/365. Here we will take a look at five steps you will need to take to successfully transition from a physical store to online shopping.
5 Steps to Getting Your Brick-and-Mortar Store Online:
As with any other aspect of running a small retail business, transitioning to eCommerce takes a large amount of planning. Take some time to plan your efforts: Research the tools you will need, find required resources, and calculate the overall investment it will take to bring your business to an online environment
In order to move your small retail business online, you must decide which platform is right for you. Moreover, depending on what you are selling you can open a store on your website, join an online marketplace (such as Amazon or eBay), or sell via social media.
Keyword: Consistency. You want your customers to have a similar experience no matter if they are browsing through your physical location or your online store. Take a moment to look around your store and pay attention to any themes or unique design elements that stand out that you can incorporate online.
If you are using your website to sell your products, you have the opportunity to customize the look and flow of your site. Either by using ready-made templates and themes or by creating your design. If you are using an online marketplace like Amazon than as a seller will have some freedom to customize, but the designs and the ability to personalize will vary widely based on which marketplace you decide to use.
4. Product Selection
Ask yourself “What products will you be selling, and how many products can your platform host?” Keep in mind some of the items in your inventory simply don’t sell well online. These items include things that customers would want to hold, smell, taste, or see before they purchase. Would you order a mattress online or perfume? Probably not. So even though certain items are a part of your inventory, they should not be included in your online store. However, on the flip side, online stores have several advantages for selling particular products that your physical store does not. You will need to identify these niche products and stock accordingly.
5. Supplier Selection and Order Fulfillment
Essentially when you open an online store, you will need to plan a method of providing your customers their purchases. Unlike a traditional store location, it is no longer as easy as bagging their purchases and handing it across the counter. You will need to simplify the process and select a shipping provider that will be directly integrated into your platform.
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