7 Reasons to Take Your Brick and Mortar Store Online
Retailers have been adapting to changes in the industry for over 20 years. One recent trend is brick and mortar store owners transitioning into online sales.
There are many benefits to taking your store online. In the short term, you can still generate sales even if there is a restriction on in-person activity because of the pandemic.
Once life is back to normal, you can take advantage of the omnichannel retail experience. With both a physical and online store in place, you can offer things like BOPIS (buy online pick up in-store) and curbside pickup for customer convenience. You will also be able to provide an enhanced shopping experience with options such as giving customers who order from your website with free shipping or returns at their local brick and mortar store location.
It’s unclear what the world will look like post-COVID, but you can be ready for whatever happens by diversifying your business now. Having more than one way to reach customers and generate revenue is always a good idea.
If you are unsure whether to start an online store, here are 7 reasons why you should:
1. Cost-effective Expansion
A traditional brick and mortar store has overhead costs not present in online stores. You don’t need to worry about rent, employee salaries, or renovations if you have an online store.
There are a lot of eCommerce platforms that will allow you to build your website and provide all the tools necessary for an affordable price.
2. Increased Brand Awareness
As a small or medium-sized business, you may feel that the number of customers in your area is too low to make it worth expanding into other countries. However, taking your brick and mortar store online not only allows for international sales and local cross-marketing but also opens up many opportunities locally.
A solid SEO strategy is key to getting your eCommerce website in front of customers. By choosing an E-commerce solution that offers SEO capabilities, you can dramatically boost awareness and sales by increasing SERP rankings.
3. Increased Customer Reach
Selling your products online will increase the number of people who can buy from you. Your brick-and-mortar store is not always convenient for everyone, so opening up to an eCommerce website also gives you a chance to expand and reach new customers that would otherwise never have known about your business.
4. Round-the-clock Sales
The retail industry has transformed in the last 20 years.
5. Added Brand Value
Building a solid and trusting relationship with your customers starts by giving them detailed product descriptions, reviews from other people who have bought the same products, blogs about trends in your industry. All of these things make consumers more likely to buy from you.
6. Increased Customer Engagement
An online presence provides more opportunities for the consumer to get in touch with your business. The more ways you offer them, the easier it will be to engage and keep consumers coming back.
When it comes to marketing, POS and eCommerce solutions that allow you to capture customer data like contact information or birthdays can help tailor your message across different platforms. With this information at hand, features such as social media integrations (which let customers share content with their friends), Live Chat (where salespeople chat live online), and automated email campaigns become more effective.
7. Increased Customer Satisfaction
You have to give customers the freedom of choice. When it comes down to when and where they want their product and how they take ownership over them, these are all factors that determine customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
By providing customers with the option to shop in person or online and maintaining consistent brand identity across both channels, you can give them what they want. Who wouldn’t want that?
How to Transition a Brick and Mortar Store Online
There are a number of big decisions you need to make when taking your business online. We’ve listed the most important ones for any type of business.
When you’re making the transition from a brick and mortar store to an online store, your platform must be compatible with what you already have. If your business has its website and point of sale system, then the process should be much easier.
One of the best ways to have a successful eCommerce site is by using an existing website. If you are not currently running your online store, check with any point-of-sale systems that may already be in place to see if they offer integration into an eCommerce platform.
When it comes to the platform, here are some questions to ask:
- What is the total cost?
- Is it scalable?
- Is it easy to use and install?
- How flexible is the design?
- How many products can you add to the platform?
- Does it come with built-in security?
- Does it come with customer support?
- Will it support both desktop and mobile shoppers?
- Can it integrate with your existing business systems?
- Can it link your online inventory to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram?
Online vs. in-store inventory
For some businesses, the decision to sell online is relatively easy. It can be more difficult for others because they will need to decide which products are best for an e-commerce store.
Not all products are eligible to be sold online, but there is a certain amount of flexibility in what you can sell. For example, some items may not make sense for your store’s location or environment, and others might work better on the internet due to accessibility issues.
Shipping and fulfillment
Opening an online store is not as easy as walking up to the checkout counter and handing someone a bag of clothes. There are two ways you can ship your product, either by doing it yourself or hiring a third-party service that will take care of everything for you.
To simplify the process, select a provider that can integrate directly into your eCommerce platform and offer you shipping options. Make sure before anything is sent out, it has been sanitized.
As a business owner, you are often managing your new sales channel. Make sure that you understand how it operates and, if need be, bring in someone more tech-savvy to help.
Keeping your customers and community in the loop is essential when opening an online store. To do this, you need a marketing strategy that will be easy for them to access from all corners of the world. People can easily reach their audience by implementing shoppable posts into their website, which notifies viewers when they are looking at something on a company’s page.
Using your POS for a seamless transition from brick and mortar to eCommerce
For an easy transition from a brick-and-mortar store to an online, it is essential to have a point of sale system in place.
Retail Is Not Dying, It’s Transforming
Brick and mortar shopping is not becoming obsolete. Consumers still need to examine, touch, and try products in person before making a purchase decision. However, they’ve also come to expect total flexibility from today’s retailers, who must meet them wherever the consumer wants (online or offline) while delivering a consistent omnichannel experience.