The lockdowns happening all over the world forced big companies to scale down their operations to meet the lower demand for their products. Even with their reduced capacity, these companies still experienced lower revenues.
In comparison, small retailers were more affected by the situation. Many of these businesses closed while others shifted from operating a mortar-and-brick store to e-commerce or selling online. This shift allowed retailers to reach a bigger market, especially as consumers started to flock online.
You can also make this shift and go from operating a physical store to selling online. Here are some steps to take to enter the world of e-commerce:
The first thing you need to have is a website. By this, we mean setting up your online or e-commerce store. You can sign up for a package offered by an e-commerce platform. There are several options, including Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce, among others.
You also need to secure the domain name for your store and a secure or SSL certificate to protect data transfers, logins, transactions, and other information that passes through your website. You should also get a hosting plan to make your website accessible on the internet.
Make sure to fill in all the necessary information on the website, including your contact page, shipping information, return and exchange policy, and other details your customers may need to know.
If you already have an existing inventory from your physical store, you won’t have much of a problem with product availability. All you need to do is to make sure they are ready to ship and your inventory is updated. To facilitate this, using a barcode scanner is definitely a must. Just make sure it’s working fine. If not, you can have your scanner, such as a Zebra bar code scanner, repaired.
When adding your products into the online store, make sure you use the best pictures of these products. You should also make sure to include all the pertinent information about the product, including price, description, expiration date if any, and available sizes.
Some e-commerce platforms allow you to migrate your POS (Point-of-Sale) data into the website. This facilitates inventory when you shift from physical to online selling. So, you should make sure to check what is included in the e-commerce platform package you’re getting.
Setting Up Payment System
Setting up the payment system on your website is the next thing you should do. You can set it up to accept credit card payments since many customers will likely use their credit cards to make purchases. You should also set it up to accept other payment methods, such as PayPal, Apple Pay, and Amazon Pay.
It’s important to give your customers these payment options since you wouldn’t want to lose a customer simply because you don’t accept credit card payments or PayPal payments. Some e-commerce platforms also offer their own payment systems, like Shopify Payments of Shopify. You can take advantage of these options to make your life easier.
With the online store set up, the products listed, and the payment system ready to go, it’s now time for you to launch your store. Launching the store means informing your customers that you already have an online store. You can send them an email, post it on your social media pages, and put up a sign in front of your physical store. The important thing is that your customers are aware of the existence of your online store.
Marketing and Promotion
With your store up and running, you should start marketing and promoting it to attract new customers. At this point, search engine marketing (SEM) and social media marketing (SMM) will come into play. While you can create and post the ads on search engines and social media pages yourself, it’s always better to let professionals handle it so you can concentrate on running the business.
E-commerce has given small retailers a fighting chance during the pandemic as they have started shifting their operations from brick-and-mortar locations to the internet.