Steps To Opening A Retail Store – Due to the spread of the new corona virus, many physical retailers have had to temporarily close their doors. Even before COVID-19, many physical stores struggled. However, the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated existing weaknesses in the retail business model. To make up for lost sales, many physical stores have moved their stores online. It’s a smart move that every brick-and-mortar retailer should consider, with or without a pandemic.
Many brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to incorporate e-commerce. For many, the revenue from online sales is what keeps their business going. However, getting started can be a challenge.
Steps To Opening A Retail Store
If you already sell in a store, you can take some of your knowledge and a large chunk of your customer base with you when you open an online store. However, there are several differences between e-commerce and physical retail. Understanding those differences ahead of time will make your transition easier.
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If you have a physical store and not an online store, consider this moment a wake-up call. There are many reasons why you should consider ecommerce an important part of your overall business. Online retail can also benefit you in normal times.
There are many moving parts to sell online. Some will overlap with your physical operations, and others will be completely new. Here are the key steps to turn your physical store into an online store.
The first question to answer is how and where to sell online. There are many different ways to set up an ecommerce store. Here are some popular ecommerce selling platform options.
If you make handmade items, an Etsy shop can be a quick and easy way to go from a physical store to selling online. Some stores have sold items well on eBay, Amazon Marketplace, Walmart Marketplace, Newegg and other online selling platforms. Pros: The platform does most of the work for you. You just choose your settings, upload photos of your products and sell. Customers know and trust these online store locations and seek them out so that new and existing customers can find you online. Cons: Understand the fee structure charged by the platform and price your products accordingly. With this option you will not get your own branded website. Therefore, you have limited control over how your products are displayed. Also, you can’t direct your customers to an easy-to-remember URL that contains your company name.
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WooCommerce is a WordPress extension that allows you to add a shopping cart to your existing site. If you’re already using WordPress for your physical store website, this could be a natural choice. Pros: For experienced WordPress users, WooCommerce is easy to set up. Moreover, it is a free plugin and includes free themes. It integrates with other plugins, including shipping and fulfillment, that help you customize your online shopping activities. Cons: As you grow your store online, WooCommerce may not work if you add a lot of products.
Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce selling platforms. You can use Shopify to create your own branded store. Pros: With multiple themes and a drag-and-drop builder, you can create a visually appealing store without much effort. You can test Shopify Drive with a 14-day free trial. It offers excellent support for sales driven by social media. Lots of options for Shopify fulfillment partners. Cons: SEO isn’t great for Shopify sites. You pay a monthly fee and some features cannot be customized.
These three free website builders all have shopping cart options. If you’ve already built a website with Weebly, Wix, or Squarespace, it can jump-start your ecommerce. The shopping cart option is just like the website out of the box. Pros: Beautiful templates make it easy to create your online store. In addition, these sites may cost less to add to a cart than other options. Cons: You are limited by the builder’s templates. Since these builders were not originally designed for e-commerce, there may be no customization options. Moreover, there are not many integrations available.
These are just some of the many possibilities. Choose an ecommerce platform that best suits your business size. Do your research, but don’t be overwhelmed by the plethora of choices. The most important thing is to get your store online quickly. If e-commerce works well for you, you can always switch platforms in the future.
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Order fulfillment is how you ship your products to your online customers. You may wonder why this step is so early in the process. You can wait until you have everything else in place before setting up your fulfillment business, but that would be a mistake.
Fulfillment is the heart of any online store. Packing and shipping your products professionally and quickly is a must. Improper or sloppy execution can cost you customers and money. In addition, you want to ensure that your fulfillment activities integrate with your online sales platform.
Above all, free shipping is the gold standard of e-commerce. You won’t be able to find out if you can offer free or discounted shipping until your checkout process is complete.
For a small online store, it can make sense to pack and ship orders along with your existing employees. After all, you’re probably tearing down the shelves of your brick-and-mortar store to make an online order. You may want to purchase packaging materials for small items, such as labels, boxes, padding, and mailing envelopes. Research shipping costs and create an account with the carrier that offers the best shipping options for your business.
How To Start An Online Retail Business
However, you may want to consider outsourcing your fulfillment to a 3PL service provider. Over time, your online store can become a major revenue stream for your business. Third-party logistics can significantly ease the burden on you and your employees. In addition, you get professionals for your inventory management, packaging, shipping and returns.
You don’t have to choose an e-commerce fulfillment company near you. In fact, maybe it’s better not to. Orders from your store can take a few days to ship to customers across the country. The best fulfillment company for your business could be one with warehouses for fast national fulfillment.
There is nothing more annoying than selling online and then finding out that the item is out of stock. Make a complete inventory before selling online. Keep your inventory up to date so you know what to sell.
Now is the time to digitize your inventory. If you don’t already have an inventory app, find one that works with your selling platform. It is an investment you will not regret.
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Let your existing customers know that you now have an online store. They are probably your first and best customers. But don’t stop at your current customers. Use social media to promote your store. Online advertising can be a cost-effective way to get people to visit your online store. Start a blog and write about your products. This will help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization – getting your store to show up in Google searches).
As mentioned above, you need an inventory system that integrates with your online store. You also want to checkout securely so that your customers feel secure when shopping online. Research will show you the best inventory and secure checkout apps for your ecommerce selling platform.
There are many apps designed to help you sell online. Apps can send emails when a person leaves a cart and allow one-click purchases. Perhaps you want an app to facilitate shipping or a chatbot to answer customer questions. There are many apps designed for specific sales platforms.
You don’t need to buy a lot of apps to keep your store running. However, building a suite of apps that work together to sell online will make your ecommerce operation run more smoothly.
How To Take Your Brick And Mortar Retail Store Online
You don’t need to have the latest technology when you build an online store. Get the most out of your existing systems for inventory, point of sale and other retail functions.
Here are some tips on how to combine your physical store and your online store to increase your sales.
Outsourcing your fulfillment is like adding warehouse benefits to your business without increasing your payroll. You can steer far and fast.
Invite your online customers to visit your physical store when they are in town. Offer cards with discount codes for online purchases at your brick-and-mortar location.
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Online sales are great when they run smoothly. Your fulfillment warehouse ships the order and you see the revenue stream. However, you should be prepared for an additional cost of online retail: customer service. When customers can’t interact with you in the store, they may have questions. Expect to receive more returns and resolve more customer service issues.
There are many benefits to putting your physical store online. people
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