ON-LINE STORES offer more ways retailers can reach consumers and conduct business with or without the need for a brick-and-mortar storefront. It’s your venue for the online market. It’s absolutely economically imperative for a retailer to sell online today. With many continual changes in our world, it’s important to have different avenues for revenue for business strength and a balanced revenue capability.
You’ve seen and ordered from online stores and thought it might work for your business, but you just haven’t taken the step to develop an online store for your products. It feels overwhelming and that it would be so much more of a time commitment and you’re not sure you can handle the responsibility of something you don’t even understand. Here are 6 VALUABLE reasons to think about starting an online store:
ORDERING MADE EASY: An online store done right will be a mobile friendly site with a clean look and incorporate online retail best practices. There should be easy navigation on your online store and it should be intuitive for shoppers who want to get somewhere fast and easy anytime!
Online businesses are most likely to increase your sales and profits faster than only having a brick-and-mortar storefront because selling online offers the advantage of being open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Be sure to promote online sales on a regular basis. From taking advantage of holiday shopping (get 15% off for Mother’s Day, 31% off for Halloween, 50% off of select items on Black Friday, etc.) to simply offering great deals for no reason at all, this will help ensure you have regular web traffic.
Writing a BLOG is more than a great way to establish yourself as a leader in your industry, it’s also an indirect way to help promote your online shop.
- Include one relevant link back to your store in each blog post (either link the home page of your store or link directly to a product) and make sure each blog is informative and helpful. (Don’t forget to link any images back to your web store or a specific product too!)
If the content isn’t strong, it’s not going to do you any good. Quality blog posts will help you grow your online business, however, so if you have the time, it’s a great project to invest in.
BRAND CONSISTENCY: You have established a UNIQUE BRAND for your business and developed BRAND GUIDELINES for many reasons. In its simplest form, you want to deliver a consistent brand experience to your target audience. You want to avoid brand dilution. Having your very own online store ensures your branding will be consistent throughout your marketing on the web because you are in charge of your online brand presence. Your brand will be shown to the world and your customers 24/7. What great exposure! A centralized web presence location will effectively deliver your brand message while selling your products.
People can find your brand and interact with it when you establish an online presence, including tapping into a whole new (potential) customer base. Much of online traffic is organic, meaning that if you build your e-store correctly, customers will find you from all over the country and world without spending a dime. All you need is a robust Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platform with an online visibility strategy and delivery to spread the news. Also, while traditional advertising is very costly, if you do get involved in online visibility marketing the cost is nominal comparatively.
NO BRICK-AND-MORTAR OVERHEAD: An online store will give you the comfort of knowing if you are unable to afford a brick-and-mortar store you still have a great venue for selling your products until you can afford a brick-and-mortar space if you want one. And if there is a national disaster, i.e., this pandemic which we are experiencing right now and you have to close your doors to the public, you still have your online store to sell your products 24/7, seven days a week.
STRATEGIC REPORTING: Any online store will show you who is responding to your product and give you expansion in knowledge of who is your target audience and what products they are responding to. It will show which products are most popular and which are not so you can plan your buying strategy in the best way possible. You will be able to gather information on inventory performance (products with highest turns and slow movers), fill rates, and order statistics (average order sizes, etc). Online store reporting helps determine which products should stay, which should be discontinued, and can help you determine what approach to take for reorder timing, communications, and budgeting.
WORLDWIDE EXPOSURE: Selling online also allows retailers to sell their merchandise in any part of the world without additional expense.
While the small retail store on Main Street would never dream of competing with a national chain retailer, a mom-and-pop shop may find itself on a more level playing field with its big box competitors with it’s very own online store.
CAMPAIGN MARKETING STRATEGY: Even your most basic online company store setup should include a marketing element to help drive awareness and usage of your online store. Marketing can include email communication packages to help promote new products in the online store, seasonal updates, and special promotions, however online visibility programs are VERY effective today to promote through social media platforms. Social media is essential if you want to promote your online shop effectively. But, as with anything, it takes effort and time to build followers.
Depending on what you have time for (or if you can hire a professional to handle your online visibility), you will want to check out the following sites to help market your store: (And continually try new sites to figure out what bests works for your business.)
- StumbleUpon (Mix)
- We Heart It
For social media marketing to work, you need to post regularly. For most businesses, this will be at least once a day, if not 2-3 times, depending on how many followers you have. Post enticing pictures of the products you offer, along with any deals you have going on. Always include a direct link to the specific product for fast purchasing at your online store.
Products and content on your online store should be updated seasonally to keep it fresh for users. Marketing for your online store on the web as well as in print media and traditional marketing in your actual brick-and-mortar store are important for your online store program’s success. It’s important that you don’t just launch an online store on the web and expect everyone to know how to get there or know what products are on there, without letting them know where to go and how to get there.
So, what’s holding you back? You want a beautiful and effective On-line Store, but you don’t know who to call? Check out our online stores we would love to create one for your business success!
Give us a call with your questions @ 425-890-7271. We would love to give you expert advice.