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How to Transform your Physical Store Into an Online Store

move to online store

The Internet has revolutionized the way we shop, and customers have quickly adapted. Thus, going from a physical store to online store makes sense.

With this change you will be ahead of the competition with a loyal customer base that will be excited to see your expansion into the digital world. But how do you start? It is easier than you think!

Why should you go from your physical store to an online store?

While we don’t yet know exactly what the world will look and feel like pro COVID-19, diversifying your business now is a smart move.

Having more than one way to reach your customers will benefit you in the short and long term, which is why going from a physical store to an online store should be your next move.

And aside from the topic of the pandemic, in the last 20 years, the retail industry has been transformed into a 24/7 business. Relying solely on a physical store means you’re missing out on sales while you sleep.

With an ecommerce, you are freed from the restrictions of opening hours and, best of all, you do not need to be present at all times or hire additional staff. With platforms like WordPress Woocommerce and Shopify and a strong content and sales strategy, your products can pretty much sell themselves.

Guide in 6 steps to move your physical store to an online store

Next, we will tell you what are the basic steps so that you can carry out this transformation from your physical store to an online store.

1. Choose a platform

Choosing the right platform to build your online store, like WordPress or Shopify, should be the first step in your online transition.

With so many to choose from, we recommend keeping functionality at the forefront, jargon-free, and fuss-free. That is why it is very easy to have an ecommerce since it frees you from all the technical part.

But going back to the choice of our platform, the most efficient way we have to do it is to ask ourselves these questions:

What is my budget?

It is important to have our budget grounded, to know what resources we can count on and how far we can go. Nothing happens if the initial budget is low, the important thing is to start.

What customer support features does my store need?

Here the options are many, and it will depend on your budget which is the option that best suits you, but here we leave you a recommendation,  WhatsApp Business  is free and very easy to use for customer support.

What staff do I need to start my online store project?

Also, it depends a lot on your budget, there are many online stores created by their own owners, and they have been great successes. But if you require support in this process, a web developer would be a great option.

2. Prepare and optimize your store

Running your online store is not much different from running your physical store. A physical store needs you to implement as many strategies as possible to increase sales, and an online store too.

In addition, both require certain maintenance and certain “facilities” that in the case of the physical store are the parts of your store – counter, warehouse, windows and other elements – and in the case of an ecommerce are the parts of your online store , the parts of your website. 

And to define which parts your online store should have, you will have to make several decisions to respond to trends, sales per hour or day that you expect, or stock levels, among a thousand other variables. But the first thing is to choose a theme! 

Pick a topic

Find the perfect theme, or website template, for your online store in the WordPress or Shopify Theme Store. You can start with a free theme, or you can  buy a theme  designed by one of our Partners.

The objective is that there is a harmony between your physical store and your virtual store, therefore, try to search for a theme according to the category or type of product and select the one that best corresponds to your brand. In any case, you will have the possibility to  customize your theme  in the future.

Prepare your main pages

The sooner you open your digital store, the sooner your customers will be able to continue buying your products. Focus on the essentials: Make sure your store reflects the characteristics that distinguish your business (such as your logo or the colors of your brand) so that it is easy for people to visit and buy.

You don’t need to worry about the details. Your priority is to offer your products online and sell all your stock of products. These are the pages we recommend creating before launching:

Homepage

Think of your home page as the storefront of your store. Users use the home page to discover offers and promotions as well as to access product pages.

Consider having a banner or notification bar that shares important information with customers, like what purchasing or shipping options are available to you, or how they can support you with the purchase of a gift card.

FAQ Page

The last two years have been challenging in the supply chain. The Covid crisis has been affecting transport services in an unpredictable way, and it is very possible that your clients have some questions regarding when their shipments will arrive.

Leave answers to common questions on this FAQ page. To find out what they are, you can check with other local businesses to find out how they are handling shipping issues right now and what they are often asked.

It is essential that on this page you also indicate any other additional measures that you adopt so that your customers do not run any risk when sending orders to their home, such as additional precautions when preparing or packaging the products.

To close, also leave in this section the answers to the most common questions that your customers usually ask themselves: How to use your products?  Return Policy?  Changes? Guarantee? etc 

Optimize your site for tablets and mobile devices

Remember that the online world is not only seen from a computer, and your potential customers must be able to enjoy the experience of your online store from any type of mobile device.

contact us

A good customer  contact page  defines true expectations and specifies where and when customers can contact you. Consider adding a map of your store location for local shoppers, as well as a contact form so people don’t need to leave your website to contact you.

product pages

Your product pages represent the value of your products, therefore it is essential that they are accurate and attractive. Adding products can be quite time consuming if you have a large catalog, but there are ways to do it quickly.

Tip : Prepare your store inventory first. If your business has a large number of storage units (SKUs) and the thought of including your entire catalog seems overwhelming, take advantage of the inventory management tool or the reports that will allow you to identify the products of higher profitability to load them in the first place. If you don’t already have a system, then do an  ABC analysis  to spot your best products.

3. Configure the payment method

One thing to keep in mind is payments, you need to provide payment and SSL security for your users and make sure your website is easy to use. Make sure you have all kinds of payment options.

There are some aspects that you should consider when choosing which payment methods you want to offer online.

If you want your customers to pay with a credit card, you can use different Payment options or a  third-party provider.

There are also other options for customers to pay online without using a credit card, such as  PayPal,  Amazon Pay, and Apple Pay. Lastly, store the shipping and payment information of returning customers in order to speed up the checkout process.

Follow these guidelines and instructions  to ensure you choose the appropriate payment methods for your business.

4. Prepare shipments and delivery

Shoppers need their order delivered to their doorstep, so providing an accessible and timely shipping experience is critical. The following recommendations are key to keeping your business profitable.

Keep shipping cost low

Shipping costs can quickly eat into independent retailers’ margins, so be strategic about how you approach order fulfillment and shipping. Here are some suggestions to reduce costs:

  • Opt for  manual shipping : Print labels, prepare shipping notifications and track the entire process of your orders, and  fulfill orders manually when possible . 
  • Avoid fancy packaging . You can get free packaging from major courier services in the United States (USPS, DHL Express, and UPS) and Canada (Canada Post).
  • Schedule  local shipping . When customers are near your business, you can offer a “local delivery” option. Local delivery rates will be automatically applied at checkout for customers located in the area you selected.
Offers “store pickup” for local customers

The store pickup service allows your local customers to buy something online and pick it up at your store—without even getting out of their vehicle. This “click & collect” option not only minimizes person-to-person interactions, but is also faster and reduces shipping costs. The steps to follow are as follows:  

  1. Your client will request the order and pay you online in your digital store
  2. You will receive the order by email, so you can prepare it safely
  3. Then you inform the customer when the order is ready to be picked up.
  4. Your customer will drive to your store and open the trunk
  5. You will place the order in the trunk safely
  6. That’s it, you’re done!

5. Promote your ecommerce

Every store needs customers, especially when they are new to the online world. Therefore, do everything possible to reach your audience and inform them about your transition from physical store to online store.

Social media is often a great way to accomplish this. They are fast and also, the social networks of your brand will be mostly made up of your community, that is, the people who know and buy your products or services. 

Make multiple ads on them, indicating that you now have an ecommerce. And share the link to your store on as many sites as possible.

Use SEO and advertising

Through SEO, paid media and social media advertising you can start with the launch of the website, you can even launch a countdown campaign.

This will add to the excitement of current and potential customers who will be eager to see how you are doing!

Promote your online store in your physical store

Mention to customers who go to your physical store that they are also moving online. Perhaps some cards with a QR code on the store counter could be a good option.

update google

Remember to confirm that Google and your local listings have the correct information about your online store and URL, otherwise it will be a bit more difficult for those looking to find it.

6. Retarget your customers

This is a good strategy that helps your online store grow. When you use paid ads to retarget customers who visit your site, it brings them back to your store, which ultimately drives traffic to your site and increases your profit.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is great for this, as it’s a direct connection to your prospects. It is worth talking to specialists on the subject to implement this element in your online store.

The transition of your business from a physical store to an online store is easy, but you need the right strategies to succeed and of course, the desire to start. With the advice we gave you in this article, you can surely have a solid start.


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