In the past, a brick and mortar store was the first step toward setting up a retail business. Back then, it was obvious that you needed a physical store to represent your identity and brand.
Now, you can easily start a business or enhance your existing one through eCommerce. If you're looking to expand your brick and mortar retail business to larger markets, then eCommerce is your answer.
Why is starting an eCommerce store important?
The benefits of selling online are evident in today’s fast-growing eCommerce market.
When you combine the power of social media and omnichannel marketing, you can basically tell the world about your business. This will increase your clientele and in turn, your revenues. This is also your opportunity to expand into international markets without opening new outlets, making it more cost effective for you.
How to set up an eCommerce store
Follow these steps to make setting up your eCommerce store a stress-free experience!
1. Evaluate your products
First, think about what you will actually sell online. When starting out in eCommerce, it's advised not put your whole inventory online. Begin by only putting between 20-30% of your products so you can see if demand is strong for overseas markets.
2. Allocate your budget
There will be additional costs for maintaining an eCommerce store, such as monthly platform fees, online marketing, and shipping costs. Don't forget to allocate some of your budget to your online expansion efforts!
3. Choose a platform
Choosing the online platform that will host your eCommerce store is a very important decision. There are many options available and some will be better suited for your business and management style.
Shopify is one of the most popular and best options right now, as it allows you to build a store easily without having to know how to code anything. Still, there are other equally good platforms that you can consider. Compare Shopify with Bigcommerce, Magento, or Squarespace.
4. Set up a payment gateway
You'll need a way to collect payments at checkout from your new customers. Luckily, many eCommerce platforms offer out-of-the-box payment gateways to get you up and running quickly!
5. Figure out fulfillment and shipping
Now that you're selling online, order fulfillment and shipping is the only way your product can physically reach customers outside your market.
It's easy to put shipping on the back burner, but doing so won't help your online store. Instead, you could end up receiving negative feedback for late orders or failed deliveries.
When looking for reliable shipping couriers, it's worth finding one that covers the areas or regions you are targeting. You can also negotiate rates with couriers directly to get shipping discounts that will help entice customers to convert at checkout.
Setting up your your logistics doesn't need to be a drag – Easyship integrates with multiple eCommerce platforms to get you shipping in minutes. Learn more.
6. Automate your systems and integrate them
Make sure you find ways to automate and integrate all the management systems that you use in your brick and mortar store to your eCommerce store. Your stock and inventory should also be dynamically linked to the website.
Automation is the key to scaling up your business – learn how to do it successfully from our white paper.
7. Online marketing strategy
Online marketing is extremely important for your online venture. You should take advantage of the reach of social media so anyone from anywhere can find you. Facebook and Twitter ads don't cost too much, and they provide you decent analytics tools to help you see how your campaigns are performing.
8. Train your employees
Make sure to introduce your staff to this new addition to the business strategy. Ensure they are able to handle the extra load of online orders and that your order fulfillment process is streamlined.
Check out our blog post on making an unforgettable packaging and unboxing experience.
We hope these tips help you successfully add an eCommerce channel for an additional revenue stream! If you've done this before and have any other tips, do share them in the comments below.