Many owners of retail stores have found themselves contemplating the same question over the past few years: should I start selling my products online, too?
It’s understandable that those who own brick-and-mortar stores have begun to contemplate this question. We are, after all, constantly told that ecommerce is the future of the way that humans shop – so it’s natural that conventional retailers have started to wonder if they should embrace this and open an online division, as well as considering how they should make such a venture a success.
If you own a retail store and have found yourself contemplating an online version of your store, here are three things you will need to do to ensure the process is as successful as it can possibly be…
#1 – A keen awareness of what can set your store apart from others
The world of ecommerce is well-established at this point, with many websites having been in operation for 15 years or so. As a result, if your ecommerce store is going to be a success, it has to offer something different – lower prices, outstanding customer service, niche products that people can’t buy elsewhere… whatever it is, you’ll need to identify what can help you stand out from the online crowd and establish yourself as a leader.
#2 – Ensuring success in the online realm
Your offline store is thriving; brick-and-mortar retail is your forte, your talent, and clearly something you do extremely well. However, running an online store is an entirely different proposition, so if you decide to add an online element to your offering, there’s going to be a lot of research required. You’ll need to think about ensuring you choose the right catchy domain name, working on SEO to ensure maximum visibility for your company, and using user research software to ensure that visitors to your website are able to navigate comfortably – and much, much more besides. You’ll therefore need to carefully plan everything related to your website to ensure the venture is as successful as your offline store.
#3 – Time in your schedule to plan and execute the opening of an online store
As our first two points have made clear, opening an online store requires a huge amount of dedication and, most importantly, of time. You will therefore need to make sure you can find space in your schedule to manage the entire process from the first buds of planning to actually being in operation and selling items online. One idea you may find helpful in this regard is to think about when your offline store is usually fairly quiet for seasonal reasons; you can then utilise these quiet periods as an opportunity to focus on launching the online version of your retail brand.
Deciding to take your offline store online is a huge commitment, but ultimately, you should find that a two-pronged approach to retail is likely to be the best choice for your business’ future. We hope you find the points above useful as you embark on this exciting new phase of your business!