According to SalesForce in Q3 and Q2 of 2020, e-commerce growth in Australia was the highest across the globe. The pandemic changed the way that we live, work and interact. Retail stores have not only had to alter their financial outlook, but also their long-term direction.
One of the most important trends emerging from the pandemic for retailers, as well as a way to increase your customer base, is taking the brick-and-mortar business online. As customers become increasingly more digitally savvy, they also want to have an easy and convenient shopping experience. Retailers must start building their presence on the web.
With consumers constantly on the go, it’s more important than ever for offline retailers to open the door for the digital expansion of their stores. With an online store, retailers can continue to serve their customers and build a more agile business.
By creating an effective online and offline store, your customer experience will increase as you can meet their needs where they are. However, you will need to make sure that you select the right tools and platforms to ease the process without taking up too much time.
What is eCommerce?
eCommerce refers to the process of buying and selling goods and/or services online. Retailers that have physical stores can expand their service by offering options like curbside pick up which still brings the consumer in contact with the store.
Having several ways to reach your customers and generate income will be a definite benefit to your business. Here are some reasons why you should consider expanding your brick-and-mortar school online.
- It’s a cost-effective expansion
Launching a brick-and-mortar is a costly affair compared to an online store. Expanding into the digital world requires different overhead costs like eCommerce platforms and other online apps.
- Increased brand awareness
Going online helps to increase your potential client base. It can help bring new locals to your actual store, as well as people who aren’t in your physical location.
However, marketing an online store is different to a retail store.
- Increased reach
An online store increases your reach. No longer restricted by location, customers can connect to your store from wherever they are.
- 24/7 Shopping
Online stores are available to shop at 24/7, meaning you can now make sales all day long. Shopping is now more accessible and convenient to shoppers.
- Understand the purchase funnel
Online stores can track every click that a customer makes before making a purchasing decision, which provides the retailer with invaluable information and insights into the purchasing process. This also opens the door to new opportunities.
Online Store vs. Brick & Mortar
You don’t need to choose one channel over the other. Being omnichannel brings the sales channels together to create a better experience for your customers. You are allowing them to choose how to interact with your store and giving your store more options to build better relationships with your customers.
Your online store will complement your retail store, and vice versa. This satisfies the needs of the customers because some prefer to order online and some want to see what they buy, and some don’t have a preference. Shoppers want the flexibility to shop according to their schedule.
As a store owner expanding your channels also means that you can connect the online and offline experience. For example, if shoppers can see the availability of a certain product at the actual store, they can decide if they want to shop online or at the actual store. If they then decide to go to the actual store and the product is not available, you will have a bad customer experience that is difficult to recover from.
With the online store, you will be able to collect data and build a customer profile. Once a profile is created, you can create email campaigns that are targeted to them.
Get the Right Tech
Now that you have decided to go online, you need to consider the technology that you need to get up and running quickly and easily. This will include your eCommerce website or ordering pages, list the actual products, set up payments, and set up the business operations such as order fulfilment, shipping, tax, inventory management and more.
Keep the following in mind:
- Secure payments
You need to accept secure payments in a manner that reduces any friction for the customer. Consider your payment options as well.
- Keep your inventory synced
The more sales channels you have, the more possibilities to run into inventory problems. Monitor your stock levels across the different channels so that you don’t accidentally sell out of stock items.
Use an inventory management system to automatically sync your orders between your sales channels to stay on top of your orders and inventory. They can also help to monitor fulfilment and shipping.
READ MORE: 9 Epic Tools For Your Ecommerce Business
Setup your website
Your website needs to reflect your brand and make sense for the type of business you have.
Here are some top tips for your eCommerce website:
- Create a good looking website with a design that isn’t too distracting.
- Include a search function and make sure your products are searchable by relevant terms.
- Your website needs to be mobile-friendly.
- Easy site navigation is essential.
- Leverage your header banner for important promotions.
- Use at least 3x high-quality images on each product page. Add video if possible.
- Use testimonials and video testimonials
- Add badges on your products to highlight new products, sale items and popular items.
- Make it easy to checkout. Use the 3-click checkout rule and browse over products to add to the cart feature.
- Make your add to cart and checkout buttons stand out. They shouldn’t blend in.
- Capture emails wherever possible. It lowers the cost of communicating with your client base.
- Use email sequences to welcome clients, encourage sales, bring people back to the site and more.
Change your strategy
Launching an omnichannel strategy will create a seamless shopping experience whether online or offline. This will open up new marketing opportunities, giving you new ways to promote and interact with your clients. This is the future, and even if you haven’t started an online store, it isn’t too late to start. Just figure out what works for your business, and what makes sense moving forward.