Bringing your brick-and-mortar store online has both short- and long-term advantages. You’ll assist your consumers in adhering to physical separation while still serving their needs.
Moving your store online will keep you in business in the long run. Because of the shift in consumer behavior, tens of thousands of physical stores have closed.
They provide seminars and webinars to assist you in converting your store to an online store. You can also take advantage of other deals, such as a 90 percent discount on delivery.
Reasons Why Moving Your Brick-and-Mortar Store Online Makes Sense Right Now
Many things have altered as a result of technological advancements, including retail. People may purchase from the comfort of their own homes thanks to the internet. Rather than seeing it as a threat to your brick and mortar store, consider turning it into a hybrid.
Here are a few compelling reasons to make this change.
Even for tiny enterprises, the expense of running a physical store is prohibitively high. You may be required to utilize the facility for a year or more under some contracts. So it doesn’t matter whether the company is losing money.
When businesses are unable to sell their merchandise, they either return it or cut their pricing in order to conduct a sale. In either case, their costs rise while their profits fall. Another method for a retailer to lose sales is if they are out of stock and a competitor has the identical item.
Having an online store allows you to keep customers even if you don’t have the product they require. You can easily obtain the item from another person and resell it.
Reduce your costs and increase your delivery speed
Online shoppers want to be able to choose their own price and delivery time. At the same time, they demand free and quick delivery. However, if they had to pick between free and speedy delivery, they would chose the latter.
In many cities, large markets like Amazon offer free same-day shipping. When smaller brands try to compete, their revenue suffers since they aren’t available in every location. As a result, fulfillment takes longer and costs more. However, as a small firm in your community, you may deliver the same day and for free, effectively competing with local major brands.
Manage Capacity and Location Constraints
With a physical store, you’re constrained by factors such as equipment, space, and staffing. During peak shopping seasons like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this could result in delays and lower productivity.
Staff is required in a physical retail store to perform certain responsibilities, such as:
- Make a sale.
- Keep merchandise on hand, and
- Cleaning the premises
You’ll need many outlets to relieve burden on a brick and mortar store. However, this does not come cheaply. An internet retailer, on the other hand, can serve several cities while keeping its inventory in one place.
Get to know your customers better
There’s a lot you can learn about your clients by seeing them in person: we can typically tell if someone is a bit of a hipster by the way they dress, or if someone is a touch posh by the way they speak. Customers’ actual interactions with your items can also provide a wealth of information.
The intuitions you have about your customers IRL can be confirmed or disproven, quantified and analysed to help you make your offering even more appealing. Online data about your customers is different, but perhaps even more valuable: the intuitions you have about your customers IRL can be confirmed or disproven, quantified and analysed to help you make your offering even more appealing. Just make sure you’re collecting and using this information in an ethical manner!
Building Blocks for Converting Your Physical Store to an Online Store
You’ll need to lay a solid foundation before you begin selling online. You want to learn about the kind of people who utilize the things you sell because you already have a physical business. The next steps will be simple to follow once you’ve identified your target consumer.
Lay the foundation for your project by following the instructions below.
Create a User Persona
You must be aware of who you sell to and who buys from you. Your key clients are folks who currently shop at your physical store because you already have a business. All you have to do now is profile them.
You also want to discover whether marketing or messaging channels are used to attract these customers. Knowing where your clients come from can help you better understand how to promote to them.
Begin your online adventure by defining a buyer persona, or a person who buys from you.
A persona can assist you in answering questions such as:
- What is the significance of my product or service to my customers?
- Who is the ideal customer for me?
- How do I envision my ideal customer acting?
- What are the characteristics of my present customers?
- In what parts of the world do people utilize my products?
- What are my customers’ demands and expectations?
- What are the problems or disappointments that my present consumers are experiencing?
- Is my product only available during certain times of the year?
- In a nutshell, it defines who you’ll be targeting with your campaigns.
Keep in mind that your end-users may not be the decision-makers or buyers. Children, for example, may enjoy your gifts, but their parents or guardians make the final decision. You can find yourself in a more complicated situation if the influencer is not the same as the customer or the end-user.
So, while you’re describing your consumer, make sure you focus on the person who has the money and makes the decisions.
Select the Appropriate Platform or Software
Once you’ve figured out who your target market is, pick an ecommerce platform that appeals to them.
If your company already has a website, you’ll need to discover ecommerce software that can integrate with it. It’s even great if this ecommerce application can connect to a POS system. Your online and offline stores can employ a smooth checkout system if your ecommerce platform interfaces with POS software.
If you don’t have a website, see if the POS system in your physical store can be integrated with any ecommerce software or platform. Connecting to an integrated ecommerce platform may allow you to sync your present inventory with your online store in some circumstances. As a result, both channels will be easy to handle.
POS solutions such as Shopify POS, LightSpeed, Square, Vend, and others may be included in these integrations.
You may wish to know the following before deciding which platform to use:
- The entire price
- How simple it is to set up and utilize
- What kind of security and compliance program is included?
- If the design is adaptable
- How many goods can you upload at once?
- The ecommerce platform, web host, and domain name pricing
- If there are any additional fees,
- Its scalability is one of its most appealing features.
- Mobile and other device responsiveness
- How well it can assist you in achieving your design goals
- Customer service
- Technical assistance, as well as other services.
- You can proceed with your domain name once you’ve determined your suitable platform.
Select a Domain Name
Taking your business online is the same as moving your store. You’ve decided to direct your consumers to your new store.
If you want to develop brand awareness for your brick-and-mortar firm, you can keep your current brand name. However, if you wish to rename your store, it should be SEO-friendly and appealing to customers.
You want customers to be able to quickly recognize your store. As a result, pick a name that is simple to recall.
If your domain name is easily misspelled, you may wish to purchase the misspelled alternatives as well. Then point those domains to the original.
Select the Products to be Featured on the Website
If your physical store sells a large number of items, you’ll need to be strategic about how you present them online. Streamline your products by focusing on the most popular ones. More importantly, the products you start with must appeal to a wider audience.
Stocking your store with things that work well in your city or with your target demographic can also help you succeed. Make sure the things in your online store are simple to obtain, store, and ship. It doesn’t help if customers order your stuff online and then don’t receive it as promised.
Keep an eye on your rivals
Find out what other online retailers in your niche are doing by doing some research. Examine their price, which should include tax, service fees, shipping charges, and anything else that contributes to the product’s total cost.
To find out which products they promote the most, look at how they put up their website and their marketing techniques.
If you can’t match their pricing, don’t worry about it. You can also compete on the basis of the value you provide.
You can compete with the following:
- Products of higher quality
- Customer service that is better
- Shipping time is reduced.
Observing your competitors is for the goal of informing your promotional and business tactics, not for the aim of copying them. Blindly copying your competition can be detrimental to your business.
Create page titles and meta descriptions that are unique to your site
If you plan to swiftly convert your physical store to an online store, you may not have the time to thoroughly explain each product. Furthermore, it is not a procedure that should be rushed. Meta descriptions and titles, on the other hand, are rather simple to come up with.
Your meta description is a brief overview of your web page that appears in search engine results. It’s a 160-character chunk of HTML that tells your visitors what the page is about.
This manner of describing the page in a way that is not specific to individual products makes it simple to add more products.
Your meta description must have the following information:
- Differentiate yourself from the descriptions on your other pages.
- Make use of the keywords that the page is aiming for.
- Natural reading
- Use a lively tone.
- Make readers want to click.
- Be relevant to the page in question.
- Please refrain from being spammy.
The meta keywords and meta description you use have no bearing on your Google ranking. It does, however, boost your CTR (click-through-rate), which has an impact on your ranking.
Take Photographs of Your Stock
The majority of the time, buyers want to see and feel what they’re purchasing. However, by presenting your customers all of the aspects of each product, you may make them feel as if they aren’t losing out on anything. Seventy-five percent of online customers base their purchasing decisions on product images.
Use high-resolution photos to highlight your products.
Using your product’s original photographs rather than stock photos improves your SEO. With a white background, you may take a professional-looking photo with a camera or a good smartphone. After that, you can use a photo editor to enhance your image.
If your products are worn, you can use models. Otherwise, you might ask your regular customers to photograph the items they purchased.
Calculate Your Shipping Fees
The responsibility of providing the merchandise to the buyer comes with having an online store. You can either mail the things yourself or hire a third-party firm to store, package, and transport them for you.
Buyers value openness, so when the total cost varies at checkout due to hidden costs, it turns them off. Online merchants can use a variety of tactics to reduce cart abandonment, including:
Fees for shipping are displayed (with taxes, processing fees, and other expenses)
Offer cheap or free shipping to customers who spend a certain amount.
Use the prevalent dimension and weight measurements at the customer’s location.
Decide on your payment options
When choosing a payment option, think about how broadly it is accepted, how quick it is to set up, and how handy it is to use. It should be simple to integrate with your online store and sync with the inventory and checkout of your physical store.
If possible, integrate at least two payment processors to allow your consumers to choose their preferred payment method. It would be beneficial to use a merchant account or payment service providers (PSPs) in this case.
Payment service providers (PSPs) such as PayPal, Stripe, and others handle all aspects of making and receiving payments in exchange for a fee. The majority of buyers choose PayPal because it eliminates the possibility of their financial information falling into the wrong hands. As a result, you might want to include it as a payment option.
When you accept PayPal as a payment method, you enhance your consumers’ desire to buy by 54%. This tendency rubs off on non-Paypal users as well, even if they don’t use PayPal.
Almost 60% of PayPal users have abandoned a transaction because PayPal was not available as a payment method.
You could also utilize a point-of-sale system that connects to an ecommerce site. It will handle inventory updates, payments, and taxes from both your online and offline establishments at the same time.
Don’t Forget About Your Security and Taxes
Make sure you’ve addressed any security or tax concerns before launching your internet store.
Online customers place a high value on security. You owe it to your clients to keep their personal information safe from hackers. It’s necessary to include an SSL certificate in this case.
To avoid tax issues, you can employ a range of compliance software. For your store, certain compliance software solutions automate computations, tax submissions, and exemptions.
Create a shipping and refund policy for your business
Build relationships with your clients by using your shipping and refund policies. This is especially critical if your physical store isn’t well-known by customers.
Friendly shipping and refund procedures assist you in gaining the trust of potential customers. Show your company’s transparency by disclosing all relevant information about your brand and items to potential customers.
Include this information as a link in your emails to your consumers, along with a link to your FAQs. Buyers do not want to be pushed into buying things they do not want. As a result, some retailers allow buyers to return things for a period of 20 to 30 days.
Customers can request return shipping labels from some brands using a Return Request function. It also tells them if they’re still on schedule for their flight. Other retailers utilize reusable environmentally friendly boxes that allow customers to return items in the same box.
Optimize for Search Engine Optimization and Engagement
After you’ve completed all of the necessary preparations, it’s time to launch your store and optimize it for SEO. Visitors to your store are attracted by good SEO content, but you may see better results if you start with inbound marketing.
Here’s how to leverage inbound marketing to boost your product’s SEO.
- Creating content
- Using social media to interact with customers, and
- Creating product descriptions that are SEO-friendly
To optimize your store, follow the steps below.
Decide on a website design for your business
You want your website to match the look and feel of your physical store. It doesn’t have to be fancy, especially if you’re not in the fashion or design industry, but it does have to work.
You might go with an ecommerce platform or a host that offers shop themes that can be customized. You can also hire an expert to assist you. Whatever option you choose, make sure to put the customer’s experience first.
To avoid a cluttered home page, use simple navigation. Different ecommerce platforms offer different levels of flexibility, so make sure you understand how they function and if they’re right for you.
Because 87 percent of buyers look for products online before making a purchase, it’s critical to make your site mobile-friendly. Conversions for both new and repeat site visitors rise when your site is optimized for mobile and desktop.
Use Your Design to Increase Conversion Rates
For 76 percent of clients, a simple website design with easy navigation is the most significant element. They want to be able to find what they’re looking for with a single click of a button. Additionally, using navigation keeps your home page clean and uncluttered.
You may tidy up your pages even further by using white or negative space. Your customers won’t be overwhelmed by the amount of text and elements on your site this way.
If you want your customers to think of you as a professional, keep your brand, color, typefaces, and images consistent.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” they say. But they’ve made up their minds within 90 seconds of meeting other individuals or encountering anything. And color accounts for anywhere from 62 to 90 percent of their decision-making.
Sharp colors should be used to draw attention to what you want them to see, while bland colors should be used to reduce distraction in some areas. A prominent call to action button that engages users on your website is an example.
Make Your Product Page a Priority
Because product pages receive the most traffic in ecommerce, putting too much emphasis on the home page instead of the product page may be counterproductive. You do, however, want to put things to the test here.
Your home page, on the other hand, should give your visitors a sense of what your business is all about.
Your meta description was effective in attracting visitors to your website, but a detailed product page will engage them more.
Using the proper keywords on your product pages will help you get even more organic traffic. That’s why you should read your product descriptions carefully. You want to provide enough information to your customers so that they can make an informed purchasing decision.
Use high-quality real-life product photographs. Visuals convert better, so make a film that demonstrates how your products function so clients can see the benefits they can obtain from them.
Furthermore, you can display the testimonials, reviews, and ratings of your customers so that your visitors can see real-life examples of people who appreciate and use the things they purchased from your business. Although it may be tempting to solely present positive reviews, including the negative ones creates a more authentic impression.
Ensure that your product page has the following information:
- Return and Shipping Information
- The following are links to your shipping and return policies.
- Your shipping and return policies are described in detail.
- Wearable product sizing guidance
Build brand affinity by connecting with your customers with quizzes, blogs, or news items after you’ve created your home page and product page.
SEO Is Constant
SEO optimization is a continual effort rather than a one-time event. Ecommerce websites are driven by content since it engages your customers. And if you do a good job, they’ll come back for more.
You can do the following:
- Add banners to your company’s website.
- Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) to increase traffic from comparable questions on search engines
- For category pages, brief descriptions are provided.
- As you come across inquiries about your items, consider adding them to your FAQ list.
Boost Brand Recognition
Following inbound marketing, you must ensure that your visitors interact with your products.
This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including:
- Customers who have placed a purchase are being sent.
- Providing incentives for people to participate in your campaigns
- Sending discount vouchers to visitors who abandoned their shopping carts during the checkout process
The goal of brand awareness is to build trust in your company. People tend to recognize things based on their brand name over time.
“I Googled it,” you might hear someone say when they look something up on the internet. Coke has replaced fuzzy soda in the same way.
Track Results and Make Improvements
By gathering performance data and applying it to optimize your selling operations, you can utilize Google Search Console (GSC) or other tracking tools like SEMrush to boost your store’s performance.
Specifically, it aids you in determining the traffic and performance of your store. You can see which keywords are bringing in the most traffic, which product pages people are visiting, how long they spend on those pages, and other information.
SEMrush also compares you to your competition and shows you which keywords have the best chance of gaining your site some SERP features.
Here, data is a helpful ally. As a result, you may plan your growth plans based on the data you collect from your site and your competitors.
This is your guidance if you own a physical store and wish to migrate your business online. Because you are not limited by geography, having an ecommerce store allows you to reach a larger audience. An online store additionally expands your services to your customers because they don’t have to risk going out to shop when they should be indoors.