The trend of transferring your physical store online has been quite noticeable before Covid-19. However, since the pandemic hit, there has been even more incentive to transition to eCommerce.
Right now, more people are shopping on the internet. By becoming an online store owner, you also get to benefit from having a business that is open 24/7. Shoppers can purchase goods online whenever they want so long as there are no issues on the website.
But how does one make the transitional period easier? Even if a store manages to cover all the basics, it can still be difficult to implement digital transformation successfully.
Let’s take a look at some of the key elements when transitioning from offline to online with your business. Use the suggestions below as your foundation to ensure a smoother process.
Register a Domain Name
As someone who already owns a physical store, you should have registered a domain name a long time ago. However, if you have not done that before, the original name you want for your domain might be taken.
If so, get in touch with the current owner of that domain and explain the situation. So long as another party is reasonable, you should not encounter issues. And if things get too difficult to solve amicably, there is the option of claiming ownership of the domain name because of how the law works.
Find the Right Platform for the Website
There are different options as far as available eCommerce platforms go. It would probably be better to go with Shopify or a similar solution rather than developing a website from scratch because of convenience.
Make sure that the platform has the necessary features, such as automation plugins and a solid security system.
When you are going to build a website, you will also need to choose a theme. Most themes are mobile-friendly and have an intuitive UI, but you should still double-check to ensure that these elements are present since mobile eCommerce is quite prominent these days, with more than 50 percent of all online shoppers using smartphones and tablets.
You will also need a dedicated server or multiple servers for hosting the website, creating a knowledge base about the business, and storing important customer data on a third-party service because some eCommerce platforms do not offer these features, so keep that in mind.
Create Product Pages
It is one thing to shop in a physical store and shop online. Customers do not have the option to preview the goods in online stores most of the time, so they need as much information about a product before purchasing it.
From high-quality product pictures and detailed descriptions to videos covering showcasing how they work, a product page should have all the necessary details. Missing information will lead to fewer conversions, particularly when you are looking to attract new customers who found you via organic search.
Finally, consider adding user reviews. According to Trustpilot, roughly 90 percent of online shoppers read online reviews and pay attention to prior customer feedback before making the final decision.
Add Relevant Content
Other than product descriptions, an online store should also have other content. Shoppers expect to find information about returns and refunds, shipping policies, and an FAQ page.
A contact page should also be present because someone might have a proposition or another reason to get in touch with those in charge of the store.
Take Care of Legal Matters
Just because you are taking the store online, do not expect to be exempted from legal procedures. If you ran a legit business before, you want to follow the same approach.
If anything, transitioning online might come with more obligations depending on where you live. A thing that stands out regardless of one’s location is the GDPR, which is general data protection regulation.
Consumer rights online are a bit different than rights shopping in a physical store. However, if you implement the necessary policies and abide by the rules, there should be no issues with the law.
Set Up Payment Gateways
These days, shoppers prefer to have flexible payment methods, meaning that you need to consider how many different payment gateways you are going to set up in your store.
Imagine shoppers who save items in wishlist and return to the store to purchase the goods later only to find that their preferred payment method is not available. The odds of them abandoning the shopping cart and not returning to your store are high.
Besides the obvious credit card option and direct bank transfer, services like Payoneer and PayPal should also be pretty clear choices. You then have Stripe, Skrill, Google Pay, Wise, and other similar options that are not as popular but might still be worth it.
Finally, there is cryptocurrency. While still not being taken seriously by many online businesses, cryptocurrency is gaining more popularity as a legit payment method.
You need to understand that the more payment methods you introduce in your store, the more different shoppers you can accommodate.
Let People Know About the Online Store
Announcing the move online is one of the best things about the whole endeavour. Since you owned a physical store before, you want to inform your regulars first. Send them emails, give them a call, or use other means.
Of course, you should not expect that all your previous customers will suddenly switch to shopping online as well. Some of them will not move with you. To compensate for the loss, you will need to put your efforts into attracting new customers via social media, PPC marketing, search engine optimization, and other marketing techniques.
Monitor How Smooth the Transition Is and Make Adjustments
If the transition is smooth, you can shift your focus toward advertising and scaling the business. On the other hand, the odds of encountering some issues, regardless if they are small or big, are relatively high.
Reacting and solving problems is part of being a business owner. In some cases, you can take care of issues yourself, while other problems require help from someone who is well-versed on specific topics.
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