How to Successfully Make the Switch from Brick and Mortar to E-commerce

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article | How to Successfully Make the Switch from Brick and Mortar to E-commerceThere are many advantages to either adding an ecommerce store to your business to compliment your brick and mortar store or making the switch completely, closing the brick and mortar outlet to focus purely on online sales.

High streets are struggling more than ever thanks to a very challenging 2020, and many shops are looking at alternative ways to sell to their customers. Ecommerce gives you options. When you sell online, you can sell 24/7, without actually needing to be online all of the time. You can even continue to trade during lockdowns and forced closures. Online, it can be easier. It’s often easier to encourage people to click on a link than it is to walk into a store, it’s also cheaper, both for you and your customers. Online also has the massive advantage of taking you out of your local area. Even very small home-based businesses can use the internet to sell to a much larger area, instead of relying on local footfall and loyalty.

Selling online can be cheaper, easier, and a fantastic way to expand your business. But, making the transition isn’t easy. If you’ve never sold online before, or have only ever done so in a very small way, there can be a steep learning curve. Here are some tips to help you.

Prioritise User Experience

In a brick and mortar store, user experience is everything. With every decision you make, you’ll ask yourself how it affects your customers, and if it enhances their shopping experience. The same should be true online.

In store, you might carefully position shelves, take your time to find the optimal heating and lighting settings, and even consider the volume of your in-store music. Online, you need to think about how easy your website is to use, how accessible it is, how easy it is to find products, to add to basket and to check out, and how customers will get in touch if they need to. You’ll even need to consider how easy your font is to read, and whether the colours that you use are pleasant to look at.

Don’t Neglect Customer Service

New ecommerce sellers often make the mistake of skipping customer service. But, it’s at least as important as it is in the real world. Make the effort to engage with your audience on social media, reply to emails and messages, and send personalized notes with packages, or emails on dispatch. For a smaller business, relationships are crucial to success, whether on or offline.

Get Visual

One advantage that real-world shopping has always had over online is that you can see and feel the products. You can check for quality and better judge how much you like something.

But, thanks to the development in online visuals, this is changing. Great photos, 3D visualizations, and explainer videos mean that you can offer your customers a much clearer idea of what they are buying. Using a 3d visualization and rendering service from Cadesign form means that you can show consumers exactly what they are buying. Cadesign form can also offer videos explaining even the most complicated products, which are ready to use on your ecommerce store directly, but also on social media, and in your email campaigns for the best effects.

Filming live videos, and Q&A sessions on social media can also help your customers to learn more about your products and business. Excellent visuals give you the best chance to advertise, educate, and build relationships, and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Start Email Marketing Straight Away

Email marketing gives you a great way to form personal connections and keep in touch with your audience. Emails have a much higher conversion rate than social media posts, and give you an easy way to offer a range of content.

But, many businesses neglect email marketing entirely. Perhaps because it takes more effort to build an email list than it does a social media following. It’s worth it, however, and should be part of your marketing strategy from the start.

Get to Grips with Analytics

In store, you can see what is working. You look at sales to monitor conversions, and you can feel how busy your shop is. Online, initial impressions are harder to make, but if you study your analytics you won’t just get a conversion figure. You’ll know how old your customers are, what gender, how long they spend on your site, where they come from, and what kind of content they engage with. Analytics give you a great chance to build a very clear customer persona, which can be a big boost to your marketing campaigns.

With an incredible online store offering great visuals and an easy use interface, as long as you optimise digital marketing strategies and continue to build relationships with your customers, just as you would in the real world, your switch to ecommerce should be a complete success. But, it may take time. Don’t be disheartened if you make mistakes, or it takes you a while to find your audience online. Keep going, learn along the way, and take some risks, monitoring analytics to see what’s working, and you will never look back.