Brick-and-mortar stores are still relevant pieces of the retail industry. But just running an in-person store isn’t enough anymore. To drive more sales and quicker growth, it’s absolutely essential for brick-and-mortar stores to set up an online presence.
Getting your store up and running online requires the right software, a solid web design, plenty of payment options and a coordinated marketing attack. Just having an online presence at all can do wonders for how you promote your products. And it’s easier than you think.
Below is a five-step process to getting your brick-and-mortar store set up online.
STEP 1: Choose the right shopping cart software platform.
You have an established brand. Now, you need software powerful enough to keep the promises your brand makes to your customers. Of course, it’s great to have it at small business pricing.
Do a little research to find out which features make the most sense for your business. Find one with plenty of software integrations through partners. Excellent customer service is a plus. A long-standing reputation in the ecommerce community is another bonus. (Might we suggest 3dcart? Take a look at our features here.)
STEP 2: Design a website that mimics the look and feel of your store.
You’ve put a lot of hard work into your brand. Your customers expect a certain experience from your store. It’s important to deliver that same experience online.
When it comes to designing your online store, you have two options. Many software platforms include templates that you can customize on some level. If you want the website to reflect your brand accurately, it’s best to go with custom design. Hire a designer or design team and make sure you choose software that gives you access to customization tools.
STEP 3: Sync your stock and accounting program in-store and online.
If you’re already using software to organize and track your products, you’ll want to sync your stock between your stores. That way, you’ll avoid a lot of time spent on manual input and avoid issues that can occur from maintaining separate counts of stock.
Accounting software presents a similar situation. Luckily, some of the most prominent ecommerce software programs include ways to directly sync these types of platforms.
STEP 4: Promote your new website in-store and through marketing channels.
Once you’re up and running, the next step is to get the word out. You already have an in-person audience. Use them to spread the news through flyers, posters, mailings and the like. Or, if you already maintain an email list, make sure to direct subscribers to the new online store.
STEP 5: Offer rewards for new customers.
Offer customers of your brick-and-mortar store and new shoppers who find you online rewards or discounts for their first purchase. You’ll get the ball rolling and build up a strong loyalty for online shoppers. Discounts also play a role in increasing the average order size, ensuring greater monthly profits for your new online business.