The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in major economic devastation worldwide, causing a global stock market crash, business closures, and unprecedented job loss in various industries. Two years into this health crisis, many companies have mostly recovered, but thousands are still reeling from the financial devastation brought about by lockdowns and travel restrictions.
Thanks to technology, not all entrepreneurs are succumbing to bankruptcy. Because of social distancing, several brick-and-mortar retailers have stepped up to the challenge and leveraged the power of the digital landscape to keep their investments afloat.
The future of commerce is digital. Although the e-commerce industry has been growing steadily in the previous years, the pandemic further accelerated its evolution.
Today, people are shopping more yet making fewer trips to physical stores. This is expected to continue even in the post-pandemic world. The digital economy will continue to rise, making life more convenient and scalable for business owners and consumers.
Before you make the leap from a physical business location to either a hybrid or purely e-commerce model, here’s what you need to know about going from brick-and-mortar to online.
5 Things You Should Know About Moving from a Physical to an Online Store
Through the internet, big brands and small to medium enterprises can reach more people with lower overhead and reduced marketing costs. Here are some things that you should know if you’re thinking of moving your brick-and-mortar store to an e-commerce site.
1. Set Up an E-Commerce Store
Building an online store is a complex, expensive process that can last for many months. However, modern e-commerce platforms with streamlined features make them faster, cheaper, and more user-friendly. Shopify and BigCommerce are just two of the sites you can use. Both have built-in functionality that can make shipping, payments, and multichannel sales support more efficient.
One aspect that needs meticulous attention is the domain name or the web address people type in the address bar to access your site. This must be the same as the name of your brick-and-mortar store. If you can't find an available match, choose a domain name with specific keywords that best represent your brand.
2. Implement a Good Online Marketing Strategy
E-commerce doesn’t start and end with a functioning online store. You also have to establish your presence on other marketing channels to increase brand awareness, communicate with your potential customers, and drive traffic to your e-commerce site.
Never underestimate the power of social media and email marketing. For example, you can use Instagram to collaborate with influencers and guide your customers from pre-purchase to post-purchase.
In addition, send out monthly email newsletters to share informative content, hype new products, and provide exclusive offers. Finally, you can use emails for your customer service initiatives and send personalized messages to more prospects as you gain more customers.
3. Take Quality Product Photos
Unlike brick and mortar shops, e-commerce sites can be accessed from anywhere at any time. Thus, giving people what they are looking for in just one click is crucial, from detailed product descriptions to high-quality images.
75% of shoppers depend on images when purchasing products online, so it’s best to invest in good product photography and sufficient information to increase sales. Consequently, 22% of the products bought virtually are returned because they don’t look the same as the online photos.
When taking product photos, focus on setting the right expectations and key differentiators of your products. Don’t just think about selling more. Showcase your offerings from different angles and layouts to ensure that customers won’t miss any details.
4. Create a Successful Order Fulfillment Strategy
E-commerce fulfillment involves getting the products from the shelves, packing them, and shipping them to customers. If you’re new in the digital space with hundreds of products to offer, implementing a powerful e-commerce fulfillment strategy is going to be one of your biggest challenges. The process of fulfilling orders varies, depending on the kind of products and services you offer.
Those willing to hire third-party logistics companies to do fulfillment services might get ahead. This option is an additional expense, true, but provides accurate shipping details and increases shipping speed. Moreover, it allows business owners to free up more time to pay more attention to other essential aspects of their business.
However, new business owners may choose to handle everything in-house without the help of a logistics provider. In-house order fulfillment is common among merchants who deal with small order volumes.
Find the process that works best for you! Just be open to possibly investing in a third-party fulfillment service that’s going to save you time, headaches, and ultimately, money.
5. Set Up Different Payment Methods
For your e-commerce site to handle secure and convenient payments, install a reliable and versatile payment processing solution. A payment gateway is a digital payment technology integrated into online stores to easily make and receive payments. Simply put, its job is to authorize each transaction and fend off cyberattacks.
6% of customers abandon their shopping carts because there aren't many payment options available. Figure out your target customers' preferred payment methods. Aside from credit card payments, you may want to include e-wallets, prepaid cards, money transfers, and gift cards.
24/7 Selling: The Future of Business is Digital
Future-proof your business and take the huge leap online. The thing is, even in the online world where everything is fast and convenient, overnight success is still impossible. After launching your e-commerce site, it may take about six months to a year before you see some promising results. Don’t panic — this is normal! Review key metrics regularly and change things accordingly to make your strategy more engaging and profitable. You’ll quickly notice that change is inevitable, and you’ll constantly evolve over time. Such is the digital world we live in.
Ready to scale your business by going digital? Let True POS help you unlock the power of e-commerce with a robust point of sale system that can streamline and simplify your operations. Get a free quote today!