Flex your business beyond brick-and-mortar (Part 1 of 2)

 In Small Business Tips

How our POS Solutions can help you expand online!

If you are like most business owners, making a big change that can affect your operation or even the sales of your business is frightening.  That is why transitioning from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce may not be in everyone’s future, but for those that are willing and have some coaching, they will be able to adapt to the ever changing demographics and remain relevant.  The easiest part is that you already have a physical store where you can set up your online operation.  The most important step is making sure your POS System can handle sales of both in person and online.

So Why would You Want to Consider Online Commerce

We will not be the first to tell you that more and more consumers are making purchases online. More than 8 in 10 consumers shop online. The first step is admitting you need to change, and that it is the right decision.  The benefit of changing the sales strategy is that you will be able to manage your existing customers better while opening up new avenues for more business. The location of your storefront can only reach so many potential customers, and online you will be able to stretch that to other counties…cities…states, or World Wide!  Not only is your reach farther, but your store has more exposure since an E-Commerce store is open 24/7/365.  You are not only reaching people who happen to be off of work – driving around, you are also reaching those that are at work, on the go, or cannot sleep.

Noteworthy Items to Consider

You will need to consider which e-commere platform will best suite your business and your products.  This is similar to planning your floor layout and stock room location of your store.  Not only do you want to showcase products up front, but you want to be able to cross sell other relatable products, similar to putting candy next to the checkout for those last minute purchases.  You will also want to see viewing, purchasing, and browsing data of your customers so that you can fine tune your store to make things easier for the potential customers.

One big benefit of a cross-service POS platform like ShopKeep is a direct integration into e-commerce platform provider. This connectivity, along with a guided setup process, will allow for a quick and easy transition from brick-and-mortar to an online store. Your store inventory will sync with your online store, and that will allow for an easier management process across both channels.

Now that you know which e-commerce platform you will use, you need to hammer out a design, from scratch or use a pre-made theme/template. The design will convey your brand and look of your online store.  Users want bright colors, easy to read text and photo-centric product photos.  The look and feel of the theme determines if the user has a good visual experience while browsing your online store.

Don’t forget that you need to have a mobile-first design, so having the website be responsive is a major consideration.  It would not be beneficial to only target desktop users if 60% of your visitors are on a tablet or mobile device.  Those users would have trouble purchasing products or even navigating the site with ease.

What it Takes to Transition Your Business Online

Keep in mind that while a major transition is stressful, it is not impossible. Like everything in life, you have to have proper planning, proper coaching and some faith.

The Plan. Just like your business plan you made when you started your store, your re-launch in the online market needs the same approach.  Consider all your options, weigh your investment, and allocate the necessary resources.

A Platform. You need the e-commerce platform, your need the website design to coordinate the platform, and you need the integrated POS system that ties it all together.

Shipping and Fulfillment. The best solution to getting your product to your new clientele with the least amount of hassle, is having a shipping provider that integrates direct with your e-commerce platform.

Resources. And lastly you will need to manage the online store, the shipping/packaging and the inventory.  Save this for your tech savvy employees who will have a shorter learning curve.

To be continued…

In our next post we will look at the benefits of the online store and look at solutions to make the user experience even better.