How To Set Up A Online Store For Your Brick & Mortar Business

how to set up online store brick and mortar business ecommerce shop

Running a brick and mortar business can offer wonderful benefits. You get to interact with your customers, build a local, community presence, and have a sense of pride each time you walk into your retail space. But having an online business to complement your brick and mortar business is essential. 

Online businesses allow new customers to discover your brand more easily and widens your profit potential. Furthermore, as we learned with the spread of the coronavirus, it offers a failsafe if your retail business is shut down. Whether you’re selling coffee beans or women’s clothes, an ecommerce strategy can do wonders for your bottom line. Here’s how you can get started: 

Choose Your Platform 

There are many ecommerce platforms to choose from, and when it comes to hosting your online store, this first-step decision is one of the most important decisions. The platform you choose serves as the foundation of your business, so it’s important that you do your research and choose a provider that works best for your business and goals. Cost, security, flexibility, features, and intuitiveness are all factors you need to consider. 

Design & Imagery 

Your website is what provides the initial first impression, and you want your website design to be a primary selling point for your brand. If you’re tight on cash, you can hire a freelance designer to create high-end imagery and graphics for you without breaking the bank. All of your product photos should be high resolution, and don’t forget to focus on detail in your photos, too. 

Product Merchandising 

You wouldn’t just line up your product in any order on your retail shelves, and you shouldn’t do this on your website, either. It’s important for you to create an online ambiance with your product merchandising, just as you would with your retail location. Start by organizing your site into different departments when applicable. This is where product grouping comes into play. Make your layout intuitive and cohesive so that everything flows seamlessly together. Your branding will play a big role in this, too. 

Order Fulfillment 

Opening an online store means it’s no longer as easy as putting your customer’s items in a bag and handing it to them. The online fulfillment process is a little more intricate than you might be accustomed to. There are two main ways to handle this. The first way to take charge of fulfillment yourself. Whenever an order comes in, you package the item, work with a shipping center like USPS or FedEX, print your labels, and send it off. This is great way to save money if you’re just starting out, have low sales volume, and space to store and manage your shipments. Another way is to find a fulfillment center that can handle the logistical side of things for you. 

Start Marketing 

Just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll come. Unlike brick and mortar stores, a customer doesn't just walk by and happen to stumble upon your business. When it comes to ecommerce, they’ve got to be searching for it already and you’ve got to be putting it out there for them to discover. Marketing should be a huge part of your online strategy, and is not an area that you want to skimp out on. 

Email marketing, social media marketing (including influencer marketing), and even guerilla marketing can all take your business to the next level. PPC should certainly be a part of strategy, especially when you’re just starting out. Instagram, Facebook, Google, and Pinterest ads are of particular importance, depending on who your audience is. Always conduct market research before you start funneling dollars into your tactics. For example, if your customers are looking at YouTube reviews often, focus on that channel as a revenue stream.

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