4 Tips to Take Your Retail Business Online

Contributed by TradeGecko. 

Have you ever considered expanding your brick-and-mortar retail business to include an online store? An eCommerce store is only limited by your choice of shipping locations, enabling you to take your brand to a whole new audience anywhere in the world.

In a report by eMarketer, the estimated value of the global eCommerce market is $1.888 trillion, accounting for 7.4% of total retail sales. As a brick-and-mortar retailer who is already established in the neighborhood, you are well-placed to take advantage of this growing eCommerce trend.

To help you grow your retail business, we’ve come up with a list of our top 4 tips on how to start a successful eCommerce extension of your physical store.

  1. Figure out your fulfilment processes

    Before you start creating your eCommerce store, you need to decide on how you’ll be fulfilling customer orders. For starters, think about whether you’ll be dropping parcels off at the nearest post office or arranging for courier services.

    For example, in the earlier stages of your business, you may have orders come in sporadically – in which case it makes more sense to drop packages off at the post office weekly. However, as your eCommerce venture gathers steam, it may start making more sense for you to arrange for a courier to come by at regular intervals to pick up packages from you and deliver these to your customers.

    Another point of consideration involves deciding how you’d like to charge your customers for shipping. You could offer “Free Shipping” as a way to attract their interest, although that means you’ll have to decide if you can afford to absorb the shipping cost. Alternatively, you could charge them a flat rate for shipping, or use a shipping calculator that reflects the real-time rates.

  2. Make your business discoverable

    According to a report by RJ metrics, about 10 – 12% of the internet consists of eCommerce websites. With plenty of online stores and marketplaces like Amazon as potential competitors, you’ll need to ensure that potential customers can find your business.

    To help drive buyers to your site, you can look into paid advertising on platforms like Google or Facebook. While Google only offers pay-per-click advertising where you’ll only be charged if a visitor clicks the link to your site, Facebook offers you the option to pay for either impressions or clicks. With impressions, you’ll be billed based on how many times your advert shows up in the feed of your target audience.

    You’ll also be able to track your best converting keywords and work these throughout your site to ensure organic discoverability.

  3. Ensure your site inspires trust

    eCommerce transactions often involve credit cards and the prevalence of credit card fraud means that you’ll need to inspire trust in your customers.

    For a start, you can work on getting approval in the form of trust badges from external safety accreditors like McAfee or Paypal, who can assure customers that it’s safe to shop on your site and that they will have an effortless payment process.

    When it comes to inspiring trust, site design also plays an important part. You want to ensure that your site layout is customer friendly, focusing on clear images of the product and making it easy for customers to checkout.

    Thanks to software like Shopify, WooCommerce and Amazon, you’ll be able to accomplish the above without having to do too much ground work on your end.

  4. Consider catering to mobile commerce

    Mobile commerce consists of 30% of all U.S. eCommerce. As an eCommerce store owner, you may want to consider catering to mobile users by ensuring your site works well on mobile. If your eCommerce site is difficult to navigate on a mobile device, customers are likely to give up on shopping.

    To make your eCommerce site mobile friendly, you need to think about optimizing your site for speed, as potential customers are likely to bounce if the pages take too long to load. On this front, you need to simplify your content to make it as easy as possible for customers to read on their small screens.

    Finally, you have to make your website light so that they’ll load easily for customers shopping on the go regardless of what device or connection they’re using. Your images need to load quickly and easily, so keep them small and use formats that don’t take up too much space so every visitor has a great user experience.

These are some tips to help you get your online store off the ground and into the awareness of potential customers all over the world. And as the online aspect of your business grows, you may choose to expand your business to include new sales channel like Amazon, or even consider branching out into wholesale.

Contributed by TradeGecko. TradeGecko provides Inventory and Order Management Software to small and medium sized businesses. They offer a free trial. Connect TradeGecko to your sales channels to automate inventory management in the cloud instantly!

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