If you have been running a brick-and-mortar-based business for years, it can be challenging to take the step of transitioning your store to online. But as surely every business owner knows, there are many advantages of expanding your business to the online marketplace. Firstly, unlike expanding by opening another physical store, launching an online store is incredibly cheaper. There is no rent to pay and only minimal overheads. Having an online store also increases your brand awareness and your customer reach. When your business is online, you break down time and border boundaries too. Anyone from anywhere in the world can buy your products round the clock. So, why would you not want to open a digital store?
Even though taking your first steps can be daunting, it makes sense for any brick-and-mortar store to transition to the international online marketplace. Here is some useful advice to help you get started.
Move Your Data to the Cloud
One of the first steps is to transition your data. If you are using an in-house server or even good old-fashioned filing cabinets for storing your accounts, customer details, wholesaler details, and so on, you need to use an online cloud storage system. It will then be much easier to integrate information with your digital store. It also means you have access to all data anytime you need it, wherever you are. All sorts of businesses, from bookkeepers to artisans, can take advantage of cloud storage’s benefits. Furthermore, when you use a file server on the cloud, file server mobility is enhanced and security is increased.
Create a Business Plan
Just like you did when you set up your brick-and-mortar store, you need to create a solid business plan and structure for your online store. Regardless of how good your physical store’s business is, you need to approach your digital store from a fresh perspective. First off, you need to revisit your business fundamentals and understand what elements of your business will change and which will not change once you are online. That will result in discovering the things you need to most focus on with your digital store. They could include learning how to create content for SEO purposes and developing your online presence. You then need to define your business goals and target audience, revisit your brand identity, and come up with an effective marketing strategy.
Create an SEO-optimized Website
You will know just how much effort goes into making a brick-and-mortar store attractive to entice customers in. Well, the same applies to your digital store. You will need to utilize UX and UI design approaches to ensure your online store attracts customers, makes the site easy to use, makes it easy for visitors to complete calls-to-action, and makes it simple and secure to enable the purchasing and shipping of products. If you have no experience in building websites, you will want to hire a professional to ensure your site starts ranking highly on search engines like Google and attracts and maintains customers. There are all sorts of things to consider when building a website, including selecting your domain name, the website’s structure, and the payment and shipping options you provide.
Put Your Marketing Strategy into Action
Finally, the other major step is to focus on marketing. You will already have come up with an effective online marketing strategy during the business planning stage, but now is the time to implement it. You should research your target audience so you can post ads on relevant social media platforms. It is also a good idea to post regular informative blog posts or other content to further expand your customer reach.