Most businesses suffered losses during the pandemic but it was brick and mortar stores that were affected the most. Lockdowns left 263,000 retail stores temporarily closed globally, as per the report from GlobalData Retail.
This is majorly the reason why millions of brick and mortar stores have started thinking about going online. However, the task isn’t as easy as it seems. A lot of offline businesses have no idea how to launch an online store for their offline shop. To help such business owners, we decided to lend a hand!
In this blog, Techosquare will share a quick DIY guide to help retailers shift from brick and mortar to online. Below are the essential steps following which brick and mortar stores are going online right now!
You are going online for more customers and the journey of taking your brick and mortar store online should begin by looking at them. To understand and identify your customers, answering the following questions might help:
Keep in mind that the offline audience behaves differently online. Their expectations change along with value assigned to pricing, support, and personalization.
You want to shift your offline brick and mortar clothing shop online. Before thinking of website development, it’s important to understand:
Once the above questions are answered, a lot of decisions related to site development, catalog, pricing, and shipping will be answered automatically.
Consumers that find your products or services appealing share the same characteristics most of the time. Start by building a customer profile to uncover shared traits. Get in full-strategy mode to make observations related to:
Once you have noted down the demographic criteria of shoppers in your brick and mortar store, include psychographic criteria to go deeper and paint a clear picture of your target audience. Add the following points:
Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to your research while shifting your brick and mortar business to the internet.
Long story short, the more you know about your primary customers, the better you can sell to them.
Just like offline, online is crowded as well. While there are many ways to identify key competitors for your selected niche, Google is the best way to begin your research. Start with a simple location-based search. From there, you can explore competitors’ digital footprint by looking into:
Using tools and resources such as Alexa and Ahrefs can also help you dig up crucial information on your competitors. Ensure that your ultimate goal at this stage should be casting a wide net and get a comprehensive view of the online competitive landscape for your brick and mortar store.
Once you have the same, you will be in a better position to decide how much you need to spend on your online shop and what features are required to ace the game of online selling.
On reaching this stage, consider yourself halfway through the process of taking your brick and mortar shop online. This is the time to decide how you want to build your online store.
There are many ways to build an online shop for your offline business. Below are the 2 most promising ones:
Turnkey online store solution: The turnkey solution is best suited to entrepreneurs who do not want to deal with technical aspects of online store development, and just want to focus on their business. This solution is known for its simplicity and swiftness of taking brick and mortar businesses online.
When it comes to turnkey solutions, there are two solutions available in the market:
SaaS e-commerce solution: In this, you pay a small fee on a monthly basis to run your online store
Self-hosted e-commerce solution: In this, you pay a one-time fee to build your store and run it on your own through an easy-to-use interface.
The most practical online store builder for businesses of all sizes
Custom e-commerce solution: As the name suggests, a custom e-commerce web solution provides you full control over the features, functions, and appearance of your online shopping store.
A custom e-commerce platform is best suited for brick and mortar stores that require total control and don’t mind paying a big fee for the same.
Having full control of your online store infrastructure gives you more flexibility to meet customer expectations, adapt to e-commerce industry changes, and build resilience into your brick and mortar business.
After you’ve built your online store and launched it over the web, your first priority should be to inform your current customers that you’re open for business online.
Here’s how to announce that you have switched from a brick and mortar business to an online store:
Email to your existing customers: Have you been collecting customer emails all this while? If yes, now is a good time to create a now-online mailer and get it going! Let them know about the recent changes and how they can continue to purchase your goods and services online as well if coming to your offline store seems a hassle.
Post on social media: If you aren’t on social media yet, get there right away! Already active on social media? Talk about your brand new online shop on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Run discount focused campaigns on social media and use relevant business hashtags for your post. It will let existing and potential customers know that you are ready to do some serious business online.
Create/update GMB profile: Google My Business can play a HUGE role in making your new website visible to potential customers. Using this free tool, you can market your local business in Google Search and Google Maps. Add your website URL and photos of your products on your GMB profile. Also, list special promotions and offers so that customers get a solid reason to shop from your online store.
Promote offline: Just because you launched an online store doesn’t mean everyone will stop coming to your brick and mortar business address. Advertising your digital presence offline through banners, signage, newspaper ads, in-store merch, and everything else
Make more money with these 8 critical website features
So, you have informed the customers about your online business and now you are all set to sail your boat through the sea of e-commerce. Perhaps, you think that your journey of shifting from a brick and mortar store to an e-commerce website is complete. Well, the truth is NOT YET. Your digital adventure has just begun! From now onwards, you should commit to building your online store’s presence wholeheartedly.
Your online presence is very important because it will boost your search ranking, improve traffic, and also offline visitors. You can build your online presence by focusing on the below points:
The internet has a lot of potential for brick and mortar businesses with ambitions to boost sales as well as profits. However, it is important to take the right initial steps and invest in the right technologies.
Since building and launching an online store is a major expense of going online, make sure you think long term and invest in the right technology. Email your online shop goals to us at email@example.com and we will share all the e-commerce store cost insights to help you save and grow more.
With that said, we have told you about all the essential steps involved in shifting your brick and mortar store to the digital turf. Feel free to drop your queries in the comments section to get help!
Our ecommerce playbook is the perfect place to begin your ecommerce journey. Check out our ecommerce playbook to answer your every online launch and growth question.