How to Make the Transition from Brick-and-Mortar to eCommerce:
Last year, an unprecedented number of businesses were used as physical stores adapted to the conditions created by COVID-19. Although the sharp rise in online sales in 2020 has led to record sales, it also maintains the existing trend of significant increases in e-commerce revenue for over a decade.
Whether you are adapting to the eCommerce space or have been adapting in the last year and deciding to create your own eCommerce store, you may face the uncertainty of being completely different than what you used to be.
Moving from physical to e-commerce means adapting to changes in four main categories: eCommerce store creation and design, shipping and service, customer service, and marketing. In this post, we will review and describe all the strategies merchants need to turn their new online home into a thriving long-term revenue stream.
Set up your e-commerce store
While creating and designing eCommerce stores may be the nicest process for many retailers, eCommerce platforms are becoming more dynamic and easier to store on a daily basis. By setting up your products and building a store that reflects your brand, you learn to think about MVP (minimum achievable product) versus long-term needs.
If you choose a nice theme that meets your store’s aesthetic and functional needs, it will be very easy to take your store to the MVP stage. After all, another designer has already done the best for you. Once there, allow yourself to publish and promote your website; don’t expect perfection as it can be an exciting goal post. Start by making a list of your various design and functional needs and long-term goals, and write down the feedback you receive on your website so you can begin your shop’s ongoing optimization process. Even the largest e-commerce companies in the world are never “ready”; they are always a work in progress.
Once your store makes its online debut, you will see that the eCommerce world offers benefits you wouldn’t get in a traditional brick-and-mortar store. The entrance was:
• Sales 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, online stores are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
• Pay more attention to your products: Your customers are no longer dependent on location, which means that your target group has become much larger.
• Customer tagging: From presenting remarketing ads to creating email signatures, you have more freedom to capitalize on the interest generated and make one-time purchases on repeat visits.
Presentation and execution
If you’ve never been involved in eCommerce before, shipping and service are some of the biggest changes. The need to pack and ship products add a lot of logistics, which you don’t even have to consider, and often requires planning and pre-loading to get it right.
First, determine if you are responsible for packaging and shipping and if you will outsource this activity to a distribution service. The former usually leads to higher profit margins, but the latter is often the most efficient and scalable option. Consider both short and long-term goals when choosing the right one for you.
Either way, make sure your eCommerce platform integrates with your shipping choice. You are happy in this area if you have chosen Volusion, as we work with all major shipping providers.
Now that you’re online, your customer service needs will be a little different. Fortunately, the skills your customer service reps need haven’t changed, which means your favorite ex-local customers are still important online assets. The biggest changes are the nature of customer service requests (more logistics and troubleshooting) and the way your customers and representatives communicate.
To solve logistical problems, it is necessary to wait for as many doubts and problems as possible and give your representatives the necessary training to solve them. You may not take care of them all, and that’s fine. Ask your reps to track every interaction so you can spot trends immediately and provide the training you need to manage them.
The question you need to use for customer service is the question that works for your company. Options include phone, live chat, email, social media, and even SMS. Most companies use at least a combination of phone, chat, and email to provide options for customers without dividing too many employees. Get their attention as quickly as possible and, most importantly, whichever method you use. This usually means adding at least one option that allows customers to communicate in real-time during business hours.
Marketing is the space where you feel you have entered new territory; As waiting for pedestrians no longer works, you need to actively research your customers. Web traffic is unnatural and you may need to invest in some marketing strategies before you make money. Invest in SEO to build a sustainable foundation for long-term organic traffic and consider paid advertising to generate short-term revenue.
At the same time, continue to create a fun and engaging social media presence. This is often the easiest way for physical companies to make the change, as successful companies often have a good social presence. In that case, your advertising money is better spent on the platforms your customers are on. If not, but you used another marketing tactic with great success, believe me. The way that best suits you is the way you and your employees have already built comfort and enthusiasm.
When starting an online business, think about the lessons you learned from your physical activity and how you can use it to build your electronic brand.
• Do your customers generally prefer one color SKU over another? Create the product image.
• Do they usually buy an item again after 45 days? Create an automated email offer around that timeline.
• Do your products generate more in-store sales when viewed? Create online video demos to add products and landing pages to help your customers make purchasing decisions.
If the transition to e-commerce seems difficult, remember that your existing knowledge and insights are a great tool. You already have a good idea of what your customers want and need, so you already know which value propositions work and what weaknesses your customers experience. This insight helps you create a user experience shaped by your knowledge. Learn from them about their successes and failures as you look for what works best. And most importantly, remember that being online offers the opportunity to make a difference to more customers than ever before.