When moving your business from a brick and mortar store to an online business, there are many things to consider. Obviously, you want to maximize your chances for success. Just as most offline businesses don’t succeed, the same is true with online businesses.
Take advantage of the benefits of an offline business
If you are moving online because your business is not succeeding locally, you must be careful. You may end up failing online as well. It will depend upon the reason for closing your shop. If it is due to the cost of having a brick and mortar store, then you need to focus attention on reducing your overhead as much as possible.
When you sell online you will be able to store you inventory in places that may not have much foot traffic, and this will mean much lower rent for your goods. You will also be able to save on utilities and lower your payroll costs as well. The savings realized by having an online business can mean the difference between success and failure.
Make sure your website is up and running smoothly
Your online business needs to be in operation before you shut down your offline store. This includes a website that can take orders smoothly and an inventory program that is working accurately.
Your payments system must also be working well. Always keep in mind that before you make a commitment to doing business full time online, you must make sure all of the major issues surrounding your website are addressed. Down time is something that can be very expensive, and there is no equivalent in the offline world.
Keeping your shop open to compliment your online business
You may want to think about keeping an offline store as you use the Internet to expand your sales. This is becoming a trend with large and small retailers. People can shop online and pick up their item at the local store. This allows a much larger inventory to be offered for sale. Shelf space costs money and a larger storage space can be used to hold a business’s entire inventory.
In fact, it may be possible to move into a smaller retail space with less rent paid each month. A smaller version of your present store could offer more products and produce more sales.
In short, it may be a good idea to attempt to integrate your online store with your brick and mortar store, at least in the beginning as you begin to transition from offline to online selling. You may find that you do not need to completely stop selling locally but only change your business model that accommodates an online store with an offline store.
Capturing your existing customers for e-commerce
This may be difficult to do, but make sure all of your present customers are aware of your transition to an online store. You can have them sign up for a newsletter and opt-in by providing their emails.
Make sure they are given a strong motivation to stay with you as an online customer by giving them special deals and online coupon codes. This type of promotion will give your new online business a needed boost from the beginning.
Jason Kane has worked in e-commerce for the last five years. He recommends *Webgistix for any and all product fulfillment needs. *