ECommerce is booming.
Approximately 4.48 billion active internet users contribute significantly to the 3.53 trillion USD eCommerce industry.
Yep, that’s 12 zeros!
Oberlo estimates that eCommerce sales will account for 15.5 percent of global retail sales in 2020.
An eCommerce business is the wave of the future.
That’s a scary fact for you as the owner of a brick and mortar store. In fact, 5,524 US brick and mortar stores closed in 2018 with that number expected to increase by 23 percent in 2019. The chances of your brick and mortar store surviving seem slim.
You can convert your brick and mortar store into a successful ecommerce business. Sure, there’s a lot of other businesses that you will need to outperform to be competitive on the eCommerce market and few brick and mortar retailers earn a profit in eCommerce. They probably didn’t know how to create an eCommerce business the right way. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process.
Step 1: Create a plan of your successful eCommerce
Treat this transition as an important investment for your business. You’re essentially restructuring your business model. Your strategy will change and so will your budget. It’s important for you to think carefully about how you will position your brick and mortar store to create a million dollar eCommerce business.
Step 2: Convert your brick and mortar store into an omni channel distributor.
Omni channel distributors provide a “system that enables customers to complete a purchase and receive orders from their preferred channel”. It’s like a fusion between traditional brick and mortar retail and eCommerce.
Your brick and mortar store has a distinct advantage over large competitors such as Amazon. It’s strategically located in the closest possible proximity to your target audience. This means that your brick and mortar can become an omni channel distributor offering both in-store and online options.
Target is one traditional brick and mortar retailer that is now an omni channel distributor. Here’s how Target’s omnichannel strategy works.
- 1Customers download the Cartwheel app or Target app.
- 2They use the app to create shopping lists and check availability of the products in store.
- 3An order is made and the customer can pick it up in store or have it delivered.
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What Will You Need for an Omnichannel?
You’ll need to make a hefty IT investment. Successful omnichannels have robust inventory and warehouse management systems. Customer security is also an essential component. Additionally, staff should be trained so that they can efficiently use the systems and create the best possible customer experience.
Step 3: Create an eCommerce website.
Omnichannel distribution is incomplete without an eCommerce website. Some tips for creating an effective eCommerce website include:
- 1Choosing the right eCommerce and website hosting platform. WordPress is one of the most popular options but several exist.
- 2Registering a domain name. Using the free domain option provided by the web host limits your reach. For instance, yourfashiongirl.com is more likely to be found in search queries than yourfashingirl.wordpress.com.
- 3Choose a simple theme that suits your brand’s aesthetic. If you can’t use existing themes to create the website you desire, hire a web developer.
- 4Develop a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy.
- 5Ensure that your payment gateway works seamlessly.
Step 4: Consistently evaluate and improve your process.
Creating an ecommerce store is an imperfect process. Challenges abound and there will only be new obstacles as your business grows. Evaluation of your omnichannel should be consistent. You and your team should then use the lessons learned to make the system better.
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Ecommerce is changing the way people shop. However, that doesn’t mean that you should ditch your brick and mortar store. You can create a fusion between online and traditional retail by transforming your brick and mortar into an omnichannel distributor. The initial investment may seem overwhelming but the results will make it worthwhile.