Everything has changed ever since the pandemic started, and the threat of COVID-19 took control of our livelihoods. In a few months, many businesses (especially in retail) have been hit hard and left wondering what their next move should be.
Loads of different businesses have taken sanctuary in the online market and have been selling items online to keep their businesses afloat. However, what is left for those who don’t have the knowledge and technical prowess to be able to build up an online empire?
Stop restricting your reach and potential income by being stubborn and sticking with offline retail. Here are some full-proof strategies and knowledge that you need to know when switching to online retail!
Understanding The Benefits of Going Online
Before we get to the tips, you have to understand why you have to go online in the first place. Moving from a strictly offline retail business to an online one ensures that you don’t fall into obscurity in the future!
During the pandemic and in the long run, e-commerce and online selling will inevitably become even prominent than it is now.
Business on the Internet & Increased Reach
If you haven’t already noticed, the internet is the perfect platform for anyone to build a business. It’s vast, and your geography doesn’t limit you. You can reach people all around the world and garner a diverse customer base.
The increased opportunity of reaching your customers isn’t the only good part of the internet. It’s accessible to everyone seeking information is also a critical factor that you should keep an eye on.
People are most likely going to be looking for info on your business through the internet. If you don’t have an online presence, you don’t have control over what people think about you and your business!
If you know anything about business, you know how important it is to form connections, network, and collaborate with others. This boosts your growth and gives you more opportunities for projects in the future! However, you probably also know how tiresome and time consuming this process is.
Open up a store online, and you see a massive change in the difficulty of forming connections. Social networking sites and connections with other businesses for collaborations become as easy as sending them an email!
Making The Switch
So, you think that you’re ready to make the switch and dive into the online retail landscape right away? Before you do that, make sure that you carefully plan out what you want to do. Switching online from an offline business isn’t something that you should go into half-baked.
Do you want to build an online business alongside the business that you already have?
Do you want your integration into the online scene to be gradual?
Or do you want to go all or nothing and switch from offline to an online business straight away?
E-Commerce Platforms—Which One You Should Choose
Choosing between the hundreds of e-commerce platforms available for your business is easier said than done. You can’t just pick a random one from the pack. Getting an e-commerce platform that has everything that you need requires careful planning and research.
Picking an e-commerce platform is your first and most crucial step when moving your business online. Here are the two types of e-commerce platforms that you will usually see:
An open-source platform doesn’t have built-in-tools that make web design easy for people who have no experience designing a website. It requires a lot of technical knowledge, and you may even have to hire a web developer to help you out if you choose this option.
Open-source means that the code for the website is available for anyone to modify or enhance. Though this is a lot cheaper and customizable than SaaS options, it is a lot more difficult to set-up without prior knowledge.
If you choose an open-source platform, try out Magento or WooCommerce as they are popular platforms and have more support and communities backing them!
Software as a Service platform or SaaS is a software that you can utilize through monthly or yearly subscriptions to have access to. Though they’re expensive, this is a perfect choice if you’re a beginner and don’t have any coding and web design experience. The interfaces they have are user-friendly, and they have ready-made tips and tutorials that you have free access to.
You can create stunning sites with SaaS ecommerce platforms without as much effort, and they’re usually worth the cost. Some bug name platforms that you should check out for yourself are Shopify and BigCommerce!
SEO & Marketing
After setting up a website, you have to make a solid marketing plan to ensure that people see it. Expanding your reach is the power that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and marketing have.
Make Use of Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool. If you don’t already have a social media page on Facebook or Instagram, it’s probably the time for you to make one. Social media sites make marketing a lot easier through engagement and interaction through posts and comments.
Don’t be afraid to spend a few extra dollars a month to pay for ads. Tools such as Google AdWords or paying for ads on social media platforms like Twitter and Google are only some of the ways that you can get the word out on your business.
Get an SEO Expert
Getting on the top of the Google searches is a goal that every business aspires to achieve. The way you get that is through driving traffic to your site with SEO.
However, search engine optimization is easier said than done. You can’t do it on your own, so make sure you hire a professional to help you!
Launching & Going Live
Your website is optimized, you have everything prepared for marketing, and you’ve configured the payment and shipping methods for purchases done on your site. Now, all you have to do is go live and show everyone what you got!
Launch by sending emails to your loyal customers, stream your opening, and heavily advertise through deals and discounts!