According to TechCrunch, more than eight in ten consumers are now shopping online and this is far from a passing fad. With online shopping being the ever-growing approach for consumers to score the items they want, it is an absolute must that your business gets online, and in front of this huge demographic, sooner rather than later.
While brick and mortar stores aren’t expected to be entirely phased out anytime soon, if your business isn’t selling online yet, you are missing out on a huge number of sales. Not only that, if you are only selling to customers within your store’s vicinity, you are going completely unnoticed by millions of online shoppers.
Should My Store transition Online?
If the worlds Largest eCommerce retail giant has proven anything, Amazon has shown us that literally anything can be sold online. Amazon and its 3rd party sellers list just about everything under the sun, and most of it moves quickly. From kitchen sinks and furniture to food items, clothing, recreational equipment, and so much more.
Whether you’re a niche store, a general store, a big store, a small store, or anything in between, an online store could help you generate more sales and enable you to reach a much wider audience. But it’s not that easy, it’s a completely different competitive world.
Step #1: Build A Website
The first step to getting your store online is simply Building a website. If you aren’t tech savvy, that’s no excuse. With millions of freelancers and tech specialists online and willing to help, you can get a domain chosen, registered, and setup with your store’s own website in a matter of a few hours.
Make sure your domain matches your store and that it won’t be too long. There are plenty of articles on good naming etiquette to help you make a smart decision. When it comes to where to register your domain name and where to host your site, you also have an array of options for that too, just look up some reviews of the top companies, like godaddy.com.
Step #2: Choose An eCommerce Platform
With a domain all setup, the next step is to consider what eCommerce platform you want your website to be built on. While you can use a combination of WordPress and a bunch of different plugins, paired with a special theme, many store owners get better results by choosing a Shopify.com store.
WordPress, at its core, was designed to be the bones of a blogging or content-based website. Although it can be expanded with some finesse into an eCommerce store, you’ll experience an easier process if you choose to setup a Shopify store on your domain, just realize that you’ll be expected to pay a monthly fee for all of the features and convenience.
Step #3: Set up your Layout
Once you have setup your website on an eCommerce platform like Shopify, you’ll then be given a long list of things to customize and design. Again, if you aren’t tech savvy, that’s no excuse! With the use of “themes”, you can apply a fresh design in just a couple clicks. Some themes are free, while others are premium (paid). But, don’t get too caught up in the layout just yet.
You’ll also want to consider your brand’s image. You should keep things consistent, which means using your current logo and colors and getting a theme that matches your store’s current look and feel. If you can’t find such a theme, you can have one customized to your needs. Likewise, if you think your brand needs some revamping now that you are expanding online, you can have a new logo designed and even a new color scheme created to keep things consistent.
Step #4: Get Selling
With your domain registered and store setup, the next step is to begin listing your products. List your products with clear concise images and detailed descriptions. The more information you provide the consumer the less time they need to spend searching other sites for answers to their questions.
Maybe now is a great time to look into the concept of drop-shipping. Drop-shipping is when you list a product for sale but you don’t actually stock it. Rather, you act as the “middleman” between the customer who buys from you, and the manufacturer who is housing the product.
When a person buys a drop-shipped product from your website, they won’t know the difference, but you will! After a customer places an order, you will forward the order invoice to the manufacturer who will ship the product directly to the customer. Shopify is ideal for drop shipping because they have apps like Oberlo that integrate directly with your store and the major drop-shipping websites, like Aliexpress.com.
Step #5: Marketplace Distribution
Marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, Gum tree, Catch and many others have millions of monthly visitors. Sign up to these marketplaces and distribute your products to them. They have visitors that trust the Marketplace brand, visitors who would not purchase from you if they came across you online would purchase if they found it on one of the Larger marketplaces. Consumers trust these marketplaces because they have a proven brand with many years of experiences built on trust.
Enjoy Your Internet Success
Once your store is created and you are ready to begin adding products to it, think about the potential shipping methods you can use to sell your store’s current products and the potential of adding new products to your catalog in the future. After you have added some products, be sure to have someone make a test purchase to go through the checkout process and see how it all looks.
When that’s all said and done, make sure you begin learning about marketing strategies so you can reach new customers!
Get Familiar with Building Facebook Ads for your retail Business
If you’re looking to Build a successful Facebook ad strategy for your retail business we have a few tips to help you get started. To see how you can use Facebook ads for your retail business, check out our pillar page on how to Build a successful Facebook ad strategy for your retail business.