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How to Transition from a Physical Store to an E-commerce Site

  • May 7, 2020

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How to Transition from a Physical Store to an E-commerce Site

Wondering how to transition from a physical store to an e-commerce site?

Today, more and more people take their shopping online instead of heading to a brick-and-mortar store. According to a report by the Commerce Department in 2019, online shopping grew to 12% during the year, narrowly beating sales from department stores and super-centers. With the COVID-19 outbreak, businesses are forced to close their brick-and-mortar stores, limit operations, or shut down completely.

Whether you're frustrated by the sluggish foot traffic in your brick-and-mortar store or want to continue operations despite the pandemic, shifting to e-commerce is an excellent idea.

Learn how you can transition your operations online.

Preparing your online store

A lot of planning goes into transitioning your business into e-commerce. It begins by identifying your primary customers, who may be outside your existing customer base. Determine how they will find your website-is it through social media, email newsletters, or other forms of marketing?

Related: Ready to Start That eCommerce Business You’ve Been Thinking About? Here Are Three Considerations Before Getting Started.

Select an initial list of products to place online. If you have a wide selection of products, choose your bestsellers or the items you receive special requests for during the year. Pay attention to the seasonality of these products, too.

Make online shopping more convenient by accommodating popular payment methods, like credit and debit cards. Be mindful of shipping fees as well. If you're planning to ship your products online, consider getting the help of international consolidated delivery companies to lower shipping costs.

Consider offering free or discounted shipping for first-time customers. Make sure shipping fees are transparent before checkout.

Optimizing your online store

Once your website is up, it's time to optimize its aesthetics and implement SEO.

  • Website design: Not only should your site be aesthetically pleasing, but it must also be responsive for mobile devices. Tweak your website design so that it improves the customer journey, from window shopping to final purchase.
  • Product descriptions: Use relevant keywords and make sure the description connects with your customers.
  • SEO-friendly content: Blog posts, infographics, and videos should benefit your readers.

Marketing your website

A sound business strategy is essential for converting leads into sales, but an excellent digital marketing strategy helps get your online business off the ground. Email your existing customers and post announcements on your social media pages that your business is online. Make sure that walk-ins to your store also know you have a website by adding the link to your signage.

Update your local listings as well. Optimize your Google My Business page by posting your URL, as well as photos of your products.

Maintaining your online store

You can start by improving your website's performance. Use tools like Google Search Console to discover the highest-ranking keywords, which posts are the most popular, and other factors.

Look for different ways to boost conversion rates. Gather feedback from your customers through surveys and ask them for suggestions for improvement. Optimize your website so that it loads faster and encourages your target audience to stay longer.

Many brands are building a bridge between their offline and online businesses, reaping success in the process. By creating an online counterpart of your business, you can increase conversions and encourage your customers to visit your physical store.