ecommerce Advice - Taking Your Physical Store Online

ecommerce Advice - Taking Your Physical Store Online

May 25th 2020 - 4 minute read

Want to create an online store for your brick-and-mortar business?

A strong online presence has always been important for modern retailers, but this is especially true in our current situation However, many smaller retailers may simply not have had the time or expertise to set up an online store. The good news? It’s a lot easier to take your physical store online than you may think!

If you’ve long been considering setting up an online store but aren’t sure where to get started, you’re in the right place. I’ve put together some of the most essential steps you need to take to move your business online.

Read on to kick off the process:

Start by choosing the ecommerce platform you’d like to use

I’d highly recommend getting a free 90-day trial with Shopify. This gives you enough time to use the platform and see whether it works for you and your business. This extended free trial is on offer for a limited time only, so get your hands on it quickly!

Choose your Shopify theme

Browse through the Shopify Theme Store to find the right template for your online store. There are a few free themes on offer, or you can purchase one if you have the budget.

To create a recognisable brand, you’ll want to build an online store that has a similar vibe to your physical store. A Shopify designer can help you find the right theme that suits your brand. Keep in mind that you’re not stuck with one theme forever - it’s easy to customise it later.

Start by working on the most essential pages

As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It will take time to get all your web pages to a place where you’re happy with them. I wouldn’t recommend waiting until all the pages are ready to launch the site and I would also advise against rushing through all of them. Start with the most essential pages. The sooner you get your Shopify store live, the sooner you can start selling online.

Essential pages include:

  • Homepage
  • About page
  • FAQ
  • Contact Us
  • Product pages

Make sure your online store is easy to navigate

What’s even more important than your colour theme, fonts and Shopify template? The navigation structure of your online store. This can have a huge impact on important metrics such as conversions, sales and bounce rates.

If you’re not quite sure how to build an online store with simple navigation, find a Shopify developer experienced in designing such sites. It’s imperative that you make it easy for customers to browse and make purchases online.

Start adding your products

Once you’ve got a layout in place for all the essential pages mentioned above, it’s time to start populating them. Start with your product pages, as these need to provide every detail in the most compelling way.

The winning formula for high-converting product pages? Stunning product photography and well-written product descriptions. You want visitors to go away thinking ‘I must have that!’. No easy feat, I know, which is why I’d recommend investing the most time into these pages.

If you have a vast catalogue of products, you’ll be glad to learn that Shopify makes it easy to bulk upload them. They also provide an inventory management and reporting tool that helps you identify your top-performing products.

Create an affordable and convenient delivery experience

If you’re starting an online store for the first time, it’s important to get to grips with shipping and deliveries. You’ll want to create a seamless customer experience so shoppers can get the products they ordered quickly (and cheaply). Here are some tips to help you do just that:

  • Keep delivery costs low by choosing manual shipping if you can. This will mean you need to manually fulfil orders, including printing labels, tracking orders and sending delivery notifications.
  • Use free packaging to keep costs down. Register with the Royal Mail to see what mail supplies are available for free.
  • Set up click and collect. This allows customers to purchase your product online and pick it up at your physical store or another location of your choice. It’s often much quicker than delivering and keeps shipping costs down.

Decide which online payment methods to offer

Make things simple for your customers by allowing them to choose from various payment options. Shopify makes this easy, with Shopify Payments. You can use this tool to enable credit card payments for your online store. Connect your store to digital wallets such as Apple Pay and popular platforms such as PayPal to give shoppers even more choice.

Remember, the more convenient it is for your customers to pay, the less likely they are to abandon their shopping cart.

Time to announce your launch!

Almost there. Once you’ve gone through the essential online store setup steps above, it’s time to start letting people know that you’re available online. This is the fun part!

  • Got an email database? Tap into your existing customer base by sending out an announcement email. Continue to build this database so you can keep in regular contact with your customers.
  • Use your social media channels to create a teaser campaign, counting down to the launch day of your online store.
  • Add the URL of your store to all your social media bios so customers can find it easily.
  • Add signage to the front of your physical store, simply directing interested customers to your new online store. It’s simple, but highly effective.
  • Update your business listings. Head to Google My Business to add your site’s URL and any brand/product photos.

Need a hand with the design and development of your Shopify store? I have years of experience working on ecommerce projects for a wide range of clients across London, Hertfordshire, Essex and other areas.

Get in touch and I’d be happy to jump on a call or meet for a coffee to discuss your Shopify development needs.