Online store for your offline business
Updated: Oct 19, 2020
Reasons for creating an online presence for your bricks-and-mortar store.
In our earlier article, Online, Offline, Omni-channel Retail, https://www.barcodeireland.ie/post/online-offline-omni-channel-retail, we discussed reasons why e-commerce brands should consider establishing a physical brick-and-mortar store, here, we discuss the inverse, why physical stores should consider an online presence.
1. Elevating your business image
In the internet, social media, digital era, customers will expect that you have an online presence. Competitive businesses of all sizes are establishing an online presence, whether it be a website, blog or social media, asserting their authority and seriousness in the market.
2. Extended hours of availability
As we are aware, many businesses already offer around the clock services, for example, petrol stations, grocery stores and fast food outlets, however it is nigh impossible for most businesses. Having an e-commerce website, potential customers can browse your products and order 24/7, 365, business hours or holidays. Such extended hours would impact positively on your business.
3. Customer support
By creating FAQ’s, videos, sales webinars, chat boxes and web forms once off online, you can answer customer queries/solve problems, saving time and providing a better service. An email facility is one of the best marketing tools to increase sales and customer service. Your customers receive the information they require to make decisions at the click of a button, obviating the need for technical phone calls and time spent sorting customer issues.
4. Low start up costs
A good website/e-commerce solution can be designed simply and relatively inexpensively and, using your existing product line, opens up a whole new customer base. Basically, you will need to:
Get a domain, your door to your online brand identity
Choose a hosting package to suit your business
Select a hosting plan to host your website
Build your own with, for example, Website Builder, no coding experience required
Use a professional email with your domain name for strong brand identity
Connect with your mass customer base and boost your conversion rate with exciting newsletter offers, campaigns, mailers using Mailchimp
You can of course outsource the technical elements such as social media marketing etc. Once your virtual store is established it can virtually run on auto-pilot.
5. Better analytics
You can easily see which elements of your website are working and which are not using tools such as Google Analytics. Site traffic, ad clicks, where your customers are coming from, how long they spend on your site, and the impact of marketing strategies on sales can all be instantly measured.
6. Internet business facilitator
The immediacy of the internet means that your potential customers are only a keystroke away from your online store. You are able to display your products and awards, inform/instruct potential customers and solve their problems. Orders and payments are received to your email inbox.
The vast majority of shoppers will use the internet to connect with businesses with an online presence and should you not have one, you will be losing out on a vast market to your competitors.
7. Location independent
Taking your bricks-and-mortar business online lends itself to location freedom meaning that with an internet connection you can conduct your business from anywhere in the world. Its possible with the internet and drop shipping to live on one continent and have your physical store and warehousing on another. There are exceptions but the internet drastically reduces your need to be physically present somewhere.
8. Reduction in operational costs
An online store can significantly reduce your businesses operational costs. Online orders reduces the number of customer service staff needed and with sales and product information online in webinars and FAQ’s, further staff reductions can be made resulting in reduced overhead expenses.
9. Global market
A click-and-mortar approach potentiates a global market of millions! Whilst your bricks-and-mortar store serves as a physical presence and showroom for your products, attracting foot traffic and offering a space to examine and try the goods, an online presence makes your brand accessible worldwide.
As with an off-line store, online-store success depends on marketing. Increase the traffic to your virtual store by creating a blog, content marketing and social media.
10. Business responsiveness
The internet allows for instantaneous ordering, purchase and confirmation thereof to your customer. With a competent e-commerce application you can automate the tracking of inventory, outstanding orders and sales. The resulting fast response times convert to satisfied customers, increased sales and less admin burden for the retailer.
Compelling reasons to take your traditional off-line store - online.
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