How to Take Your Physical Business Online
The ecommerce boom happened quite a while ago now, but it doesn’t seem to have ended. With so many people online today (and with that number only increasing) the potential market waiting for ecommerce ventures is truly massive. Furthermore, with the same advancements in telecommunications driving the remote working phenomenon also making it easier and easier to run an ecommerce venture, it is a rare entrepreneur that does not consider ecommerce as an important thing to get in on.
So popular is ecommerce today, in fact, that many businesses with a traditional brick-and-mortar outlet have moved their business onto an ecommerce platform. Some companies have even found greater success online than they ever did in physical commerce. However, there is still a lot to be said for physical outlets but at the very least, transitioning online (while not abandoning the physical outlet) is a terrific way to open a new income stream derived from a remote customer base.
So, if you want to transition your physical business online, there is certainly a set way to go about it and see success. Nevertheless, selling online obviously brings with it a learning curve.
Ecommerce vs. Physical
Before getting on to the best way to bring your physical business online, it is worth laying out the relative advantages and disadvantages of physical outlets compared to online. As mentioned, you have the potential to reach a much larger customer base online (which does not mean that you automatically will) but there are still a few advantages that physical selling retains.
For one thing, you have a much more captive customer once they enter your shop compared to the customer who enters your ecommerce site. In a physical location and surrounded by products they can physically inspect a customer is much more likely to make a purchase compared to the site visitor who can click away from your site at a moment’s notice. This is what makes physical shops so good for encouraging impulse buys. Olympic Eyewear, a company that sells bulk sunglasses nationwide out of Salt Lake City, see a good deal of their business from physical stores simply because products like these are great to strategically position in the store and encourage an impulse buy.
In the end, it might be better to hedge your bets and move online carefully, keeping your physical store all the while. So, how can you move online?
Keep Your Brand Appeal Consistent
If you’ve already built up a brand reputation with your physical outlets, your aim should be to maintain this as you go virtual. Ensure that the site design mirrors the aesthetics of your brand and that the brand is easily recognizable online. This way, you can get a head start by encouraging some of your physical customers to check you out online.
Choose the Right Platforms
For maintaining your brand appeal, you will want to ensure that your brand is still visible online. So you should certainly have your own site. Nevertheless, making use of other platforms such as Amazon, Shopify, etc. can help you build up customers when your site is still relatively unknown.
Update Your Inventory
Some things sell better online while others sell better in person. The aforementioned impulse buy products like inexpensive sunglasses can work in both contexts, but the rules are a bit different. If you have a wide variety of products, try to represent that diversity on the homepage. In other words, try to mirror the presentation of your physical store with a virtual store.
It’s getting to the point now that companies with no online presence are genuinely quite rare. For any kind of growth, you really cannot neglect ecommerce.