So – you have this great retail store in a great location. Your customers are loyal and come around often enough to give you a decent living, if not a spectacular one. Your community thinks well of you, and you feel like you are ready to make the next step. If that next step includes adding an online store to your current physical location, we need to talk. Because while it may be the same business, selling the same products that your store sells, it is not the same kind of store.
There are different rules to know, different approaches to selling and most of all some very different skills to acquire. Just to give you a bit more of an idea of what you might have in store for you when you make the shift onto the web, here are three important tips every retailer should know before venturing into e-business.
Familiarize Yourself with the Technology
You don’t have to know how to build a website, but you should be able to understand its basic structure and how to navigate around on the administrative side of your site. This means getting comfortable with the technology such as understanding the point of sale technology on your web store. You don’t have to build it or configure it, but you should be able to understand how it works and most of all how to look at it to see how your business is doing.
Website technology today gives us all kinds of statistics that help us to improve the number of people who come to our site, stay a bit longer looking around and most of all ultimately decide to buy at our site. Why they do these things is a big part of the technology of today’s retail websites and well worth investigating even if you don’t plan to do more than read the reports they send you.
Build Your Online Community
Believe it or not, the web is a great place to reach out and build community. It is this very ability that actually makes it a great place to shop for many people. Many successful retail sites have blogs that chat about things that interest that community, newsletters to keep the community connected and social media pages outside of the site to keep that connection going.
All of this takes work and a bit of forethought, but in the long run is not only smart it can be fun. After all, if you aren’t enjoying it why are you even taking the time to do it? Let your passion for what you do show in all these efforts and you may be surprised to find others of a like mind among your customers.
Invest in Imagery
The web is all about images, so don’t skimp on what you spend on the site for good ones. You may know someone who will do all your web pictures for a really good price, but will that pay off in the long run if they aren’t top drawer? Spend the bucks on the right photographer, someone whose other websites knock your socks off with great images of product.
In the end, it is those images that will connect your potential clients with your products, so it has to be an image that speaks to them. It is an investment that will ultimately pay off in major dividends for you and your business online.