The difference between selling from a bricks and mortar shop and selling online are too numerous to mention, but there are various similarities that exist. In an increasingly digital age, they will both be using the power of the internet to advertise their business. It’s true that selling online will bring you to a wider audience and at present it accounts for around 14% of global retail sales and it is becoming easier and considerably cheaper to set up an online shop, whether you have a real-life shop or not.
Get your cake and eat it!
The slice of the online cake is getting smaller and smaller though and reaching a wide audience isn’t guaranteed as soon as you have your online shop up and running. In fact, the internet is drowning in e-commerce. You only have to open a browser to be hit by adverts selling you the latest trend. So, let’s look at what is out there and how you can join the party.
There are many e-commerce tools available, with Shopify, Etsy, Amazon, and eBay being a few of the biggest players, each with their own pros and cons. Most are easy to set up within a day, but the real question is how you stand out from the crowd with content that will strike a chord with your next customer.
Iron out your mistakes at the start
Common mistakes I’ve seen are retailers starting with a platform but not fully exploring all its features. Many set out with what’s called a ‘minimum viable product’ (meaning in this case your online shop) and while they are selling, they will add features when the need arises. I have found though that you will almost invariably never catch up!
I suggest to my clients that avoiding this like the plague will have them coming up smelling of roses! And the one thing I tell them to do? Think through the entire customer lifecycle.
It’s essential to do this early on, as you set up. Ask yourself how people are going to find you in the first place, what your online shop does to respond to cart abandonment (when customers add things to their basket but don’t check out) or how you advertise offers to attract and retain customers. And, once they’ve purchased, what now? How do you want to follow up, invite reviews, get a repeat order..? Think about it now, while you have the time to get things set up.
When you’re busy fulfilling all your orders, don’t forget that automation is your best friend! Ask yourself, and your team, what could be automated to ease the pressure? Think easy to complete transactions and receipts, a system for them to sign up to offers, follow up emails and newsletter offers.
The lifecycle of the lesser-spotted customer
And talking of customer lifecycle, what kind of customers you have will depend on the type of business you have.
Is it important for them to have quick delivery (on a product in stock for instance) or is it important for them to know their order will take some time (if you are making to order)? Is your product line likely to include repeat orders or is the purchase a one-time-only kind of thing? And if you have complementing products in you range, you can have a great time with the suggestions features of the platform.
For instance, if a customer buys a towel from your bathroom range, you can add a feature that suggests they buy facecloths or bathmats. OR maybe they could be offered towels from your kitchen range too. The possibilities are endless!
Has this inspired you? Or touched a nerve? If you think you can do more to reach and retain customers, but need a little direction, call us now for a free content review.