Your 4 Step Guide to Moving Your Offline Business Online
If 2020/21 has taught us anything, it’s that retailers need to think creatively when it comes to how they continue to sell their products, when they can’t open their doors to customers. And this has led to many businesses embracing the ecommerce marketplace.
Statista estimates that there will be 2.14 billion global buyers online by the end of 2021.
But whilst the global pandemic has helped to drive an increase in online shopping – it’s not the only factor at play. In 2018, there were 1.8 billion global buyers online. And in 2016, it was 1.66 billion. Which means ‘global buyers online’ has been trending upwards for many years.
And this is the reason why it may be time for you to think about opening an ecommerce store; whether as a replacement to your offline store, or complimentary to it. But before you open your online store there are some important things to consider and steps to take, starting with a plan for how you’re going to move your business online.
First You’ll Need a Roadmap
We recommend that before you do anything, you create a roadmap for moving your business online. Your roadmap is your step by step strategy for how you will move from where you are now, to where you want to go – running a wildly successful ecommerce store.
When outlining your roadmap you should consider the following:
- Your Ideal Customer. Conduct digital market research to deepen your understanding of your ideal customer’s behaviour in the online space. Ways of doing this include, surveying existing customers, checking out the competition including reading comments on their social media posts and reviews left by their customers and scoping out forums where your ideal customers go to ask questions.
- Your Budget. Define your budget for this project and consider how it will be best spent; for example paid advertising or a Social Media Manager to boost your profile more quickly.
- Your Digital Brand. Whilst branding is important for any business, a strong brand that is used consistently across all platforms where your customers interact with you, is essential if you’re going to succeed in the ecommerce space. This is how you build brand awareness, trust and loyalty – all things you need, to turn website visitors into raving fans. When defining your ecommerce brand ask yourself these questions: Who are we as a company – what are our values? How do we want to be perceived in the online marketplace? What is our brand voice? Are our brand values and brand voice reflected in our brand assets (logo, brand colour palette and fonts)?
Next – Consider Products & Pricing
For some businesses the decision of what to sell online is easy – if you sell clothing in a physical store, you can sell clothing in your online store. And the pricing may not change – you’ll just need to allow for packaging and shipping. However, if you sell, for example, lamp shade workshops and kits for making the lampshades, but want to reach a wider online audience than those who can attend the workshops in-store, you’re going to need to get creative. Your online offering might be an online class + lampshade kit that is sent to the participants prior. And of course the pricing may differ for this option.
“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers”. – Seth Godin
Our client Sweet Talk is an excellent case study in getting creative about how to reach more customers via an online store. Sweet Talk makes the most amazing cakes – which they sell via their physical store and online to customers in Auckland. But of course people all over New Zealand love to eat cake – which is where Cake Jars come in. The Cake Jar is a cake in a jar and Sweet Talk can deliver it to any address in New Zealand. With the addition of this one creative product, Sweet Talk is able to reach a much bigger audience than they can with their other cakes.
The point being that almost every business can transition to selling their expertise online or launch an online shop to complement their brick and mortar store – what needs to be determined is whether that means selling your existing products or creating something new like Sweet Talk did.
Now Somewhere to Sell from – Ecommerce Website
Once you’ve made the decision to sell your products online, you’ll need a place to sell them from. You may already have a website, but selling your products via it doesn’t just happen.
As a minimum your Ecommerce website will need:
- A homepage that communicates your brand well and makes it clear that you’re open for business online
- A product page
- A way for customers to pay you
- Shipping Information
- Your return and exchange policy
- Customer Support
And, you’ll require a website that does the selling for you.
And Don’t Forget Your Sales ‘Team’
When a customer walks into your retail store you or your team members are there to do a lot of the ‘heavy sales lifting’. You can showcase your products to shoppers personally, answer their questions and close sales in real time. That isn’t how it works online – which is why it’s so important that your website showcases your brand’s identity and takes browsers on the journey towards becoming customers.
Here at Keetrax we build ecommerce websites for our clients on Maropost (Neto). What we love about Maropost is that it puts your inventory management, picking and packing system and all sales channels (including email automation and marketing implementation) under one roof – making your ecommerce business secure and scalable.
Ready to move your business online?
If you’re ready to take the next step and put your products online, we’d love to help you by building you an ecommerce store that reflects your brand and turns website window shoppers into buyers. We can also assist you with a digital strategy for launching a successful online store.
Contact Keetrax for a complimentary chat about selling your products online.