Today, it would be near impossible for a retail business to stay afloat without some sort of online presence. If you’re a small retail business owner, you’ve probably already realized the many benefits that you could enjoy by selling online. E-commerce stores these days can be fairly cheap to set up on your own thanks to a variety of high-quality DIY website building platforms, and it’s a great way to expand your business to other parts of the country or even around the world. So, before you take the plunge to sell your products online, what are some of the factors to take into consideration?

E-commerce Platform

Unless you’re able to afford to pay a professional web designer to take care of everything for you, you’re probably considering using an e-commerce platform to create your own website. The choice of platform is not one that should be taken lightly; don’t just think about your website design but everything else that you’re going to need the site to do, such as integrating with the card reading software or inventory system that you’re using at your physical shop. Take some time to research and get to know the different platforms, and make a list of your needs and requirements to find the best fit. PieSync.com is a good place to start; have a read of their e-commerce comparison to learn the difference between popular options like Shopify and WooCommerce.

Overall Site Design and Usability

Once you’ve decided on the right eCommerce platform for your store, you’ll need to consider the design and usability of the site. The good news is that reputable platforms like Shopify offer a range of pre-designed templates that are responsive to mobile devices and created to provide the best experience to your user. You might want to spend some time reading about the various templates available or playing around with different options before you find one that goes well with your brand. Focus on aspects such as a navigation system and the ease of searching for and finding products.

Marketing

E Commerce is a very saturated market - not only are there smaller sites selling pretty much anything, but you’ve also got the big names like Amazon to compete with. So, marketing your eCommerce store should be something that you start thinking about as early on in the game as possible. If you’re currently operating your business from a physical store, you can start by displaying posters or flyers to advertise the launch of the online side of your business. And, utilize social media to your advantage - it’s the best place to get your brand in front of your audience as quickly as possible.

Customer Experience

Because you’re not dealing with customers face to face, customer service when selling online needs to be a priority. It’s easier to build a good relationship with customers in person, but there are strategies to help you achieve the same results online. Make sure that it’s easy for customers to access information about your brand online and provide a number of options for getting in touch.
If you’re running or thinking of starting a retail business, getting online can take your brand to the next level.
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