Brick-and-mortar businesses have had to make major changes over the past couple of years. While a majority of physical stores enjoy a web presence, some just never made the jump. But it’s become increasingly clear that embracing eCommerce is no longer a nice-to-have—it’s a must.
No matter how long you’ve been in business, moving your products or services to the web can feel significantly difficult. If you’ve ever wondered how to become an online seller, you’ve likely made a list of the resources you need. As an already large seller, you probably have many of those resources—you just need to strategize a little differently.
Fulfilling online orders—for instance, international orders—means figuring out how the supply chain works, how to prepare a digital marketing campaign, and how to handle international customer questions and concerns. It’s a significant learning curve.
But eCommerce is today’s normal.
Below, we’ve put together some tips for you to transition from brick-and-mortar to an online storefront.
1) Get a user-friendly website
You may be tempted to hire the best and brightest talent to build a stellar site—and this isn’t a bad thing—but what you really need is just to get online quickly. With Square, you can set up an eCommerce store complete with a user-friendly website and payment portal within a day.
As we discussed in The Future of Retail in Canada 2021, over 72% of Canadian shoppers prefer online shopping—and they spend nearly $3 billion per month.
Some other tips for getting your website right include:
If you sell products, get pictures of each item. The background should be a simple white and not distract or detract from your offerings.
Invest in content marketing. It’s your content that converts casual visitors into future loyal customers. Your content also convinces those that haven’t heard of your brand why your products and customer service are superior to your competitors.
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2) Use existing delivery methods
One of your biggest concerns, understandably, is shipping and delivery. It can be tough to package and mail every single order in-house with your existing staff. That’s why large-scale retailers have moved to either hiring extra delivery personnel or subcontracting their driver needs.
If you have a warehouse and staff onsite, you can opt for FedEx or Canada Post for your shipping needs. Both allow you to set up pickup schedules. Because all shipping companies experience some delays, it’s a good idea to inform customers on your website about expected delivery schedules and wait times.
3) Hire (or promote) staff to remote positions
Most of the world is no stranger to working from home. Ask certain responsible onsite staff members if they’d like to transition to remote customer service positions. If you plan on selling internationally, create job postings for your remote positions. Having dedicated staff in different time zones helps you:
- Process orders quickly
- Answer customer questions and concerns as close to real-time as possible
- Eliminate wait time
- Run your business round the clock
While 37% of Canadian shoppers prize affordability, 13% say their experience is the most important aspect of online shopping. Fast responses to consumers are one of the easiest ways to improve customer experience.
If your business warrants it, ask team members in these different time zones if they’ll assume responsibility for their area’s shipping and delivery. Of course, they’ll need their own inventory, but this can decrease the time and fees for shipping. For instance, if you’re based in Edmonton and you receive an order from a customer in Sudbury, a team member in Winnipeg can handle shipping. The customer gets their products faster and it may cost much less.
Pivoting from brick-and-mortar to online sales requires the ability to adapt quickly. It’s integral to your success, as the faster you’re able to get online, the better it’ll be for your income statement.
Get the word out to your current in-store customers by putting signs in your physical locations, sending out messages and emails to your contacts, and sharing the information on your social channels.
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Square is always innovating new technologies that can make your life as a business owner easier. Our flexible solutions support scalable growth and new ways to run your business.
We can work with your existing business setup or help you reach new capabilities aside from our products. Want to learn more? Contact us and find out what it’s like to work with Square. We can help you become more successful now and into the future.