Many established businesses are making the transition from a retail showroom to e-commerce. However, even the most successful ‘brick-and-mortar’ storefronts find this move challenging.
Operating a successful e-commerce business is no easy feat. It will put you through a roller coaster of emotions and test your guile and determination along the way, but if you can withstand the turmoil you will be financially rewarded. Here are four simple tips to help you streamline the process and get up and running online.
Develop a Professional Website
Think of your website as you would think of your store displays; you want to create something attractive for consumers, to draw them in. It is important that you don’t frustrate users by using excessive Flash or other web technologies.
The goal is to create a neat and clean space that allows users to easily navigate through your online shopping system. Keep your navigation bar in the predictable locations and clearly label your shopping categories. Your customers should be able to find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently.
Engage Shoppers with Virtual Customer Service
Customers traditionally go into a store and speak to a sales representative if they have any questions or concerns. It is critical to keep this same service available, but in a virtual setting.
Utilize all forms of communication including a toll free phone number, live support chat system, email, and fax. Cater to your customer’s needs and they will reward your efforts by opening their wallet.
Adjust Your Pricing
One reason e-commerce is so successful is because online distributors are able to provide the same products you can find in local retail stores, but at a lower price point.
The lack of high overhead costs associated with running a store front will enable you to pass the savings down to your customers. To be clear – I am not advocating pricing your products below market value, but be sure to research your competitor’s pricing in order to list your products competitively.
Reward Customers with Free Shipping
If possible, entice customers with free shipping. You will convert more sales by building the average shipping cost into the product price and running free shipping promotions than listing the product at a lower price point with an additional shipping charge. Sales conversions are largely based on the perception of a “good deal”, so utilize the buzz word ‘free’ to your advantage.
Making a successful transition from a brick-and-mortar retail storefront into the unknown realm of e-commerce will be determined by your fortitude. It’s essential to check your pride and retail showroom success at the door and open your mind to new ideas.
Have you successfully integrated e-commerce into your business strategy? Share your experience, challenges and tips in the comments section below.