HOW TO GET YOUR SHOP ONLINE…
So you have finally made the decision to take your shop and products online – go you! A study at the beginning of this year predicted that 9 out of 10 small businesses would be selling online by the end of 2018. What’s stopping you from getting your business online? Read on for advice to take your existing shop to the next level.
— Picking the Right Products
You already have a shop that people visit in person which is great! But think about it. Would you get a wider audience if you moved some of your products online? To make this step, you need to research & choose what product/service you will make available to that audience. Doing market research and using social media & customer surveys are good ways of getting feedback for your ideas, and finding out where the demand lies for your industry.
You should also decide if your shop will be local, national or global as this will again impact your product choices, as you should be thinking about the delivery charges that it would entail if you chose to give your customers the option to get this delivered direct to them.
Once you have a small selection of products/services that you are happy with & feel will be promising, you should get those live on your online shop as soon as possible. You don’t need all of your products live in one go to make a good impact, and you can add products at your own pace to ensure that you don’t get obliterated with orders left, right and centre. It’s a good way of steering the traffic to more manageable products, making it easier for you to make the same decisions again going forward.
— Managing Your Stock
Now you have an online shop and a retail shop it’s as important as ever to ensure that your stock is well managed. Now you’re selling in two places you’ll need to think about consolidating your stock to avoid confusion.
You may already have records available offline, but remember that your new web shop can keep track of your sales and can make changes to stock levels as they change both online and offline. By liaising between your retail shop and online shop you can ensure that stock is always up to date at the end of each day.
If you don’t have time for this, or just want to make the process easier you may want to consider an epos system. What this does is link up a till with your online shop so that you don’t need to do manual updates daily, instead the stock is just automatically synchronised between the two. This is a much more costly route, although more efficient!
— Your Delivery Strategy
Picking a path to go down for your delivery options can be difficult. You should be finding out what your customers value most in a delivery option; speed, flexibility or cost. This will help you narrow down couriers.
Abandoned baskets are usually from an unexpected, expensive delivery charge once a customer hits the checkout. Have you considered offering free delivery to your online audience? Most web shop “start-ups” offer free delivery over a certain threshold. This can be a very good way to increase your order values. But the main thing to do is make it as clear as day what your delivery policy is, and implement it everywhere so nobody gets caught out at the checkout.
The cheaper alternative to delivery would be a Click & Collect option which around 60% of Brits tend to choose to pick up their orders if they are close to you. By letting them know that their product is in stock and ready to collect straight away should they be able to is valuable to those local to you, and it’s a bonus that they’re getting it for a good price too.
— Choosing a Payment Gateway
The first thing to note here is that choosing a payment gateway isn’t as hard as it sounds. You may use Worldpay in your retail shop on your POS machines, however that doesn’t mean you have to use them on your online shop too. It is good practice to contact your provider and find out if they can give you a special offer though.
Most business owners tend to look for the cheapest fees when choosing an online provider. It’s important to check that the one you choose allows payments in the correct currency and countries that you sell to. You’ll find that some will charge a monthly fee, whereas others will be transactional. Most people start with Paypal or Stripe which are both transactional gateways. Given, the fees may work out a little higher than monthly ones, however this option means you only pay when someone buys which keeps the fees manageable which is great to get started.
The second thing to consider is to decide whether you want the user to stay on your website to make the payment (integrated solution), or whether they get sent to an external site (hosted solution) to complete the payment. The former gives a clearer user experience as it avoids the confusion of being taken away from your website. However this does mean that you should have an SSL certificate installed on the website to ensure secure transactions of data.
Merchandising is the fancy word for making your web shop look pretty, appealing and easy to use in the lead up of getting a visitor to purchase.
Using quality content for your descriptions is key for getting those sales over the line, and is also good for search engine purposes too. When doing a write up for a product you should of course describe what the product is, but consider going further than that. How can the product be used? Does it solve a problem?
Photography is also an incredibly important part of getting your web shop looking the part. A good quality image of your product or service will communicate just that, quality. Good photos can also demonstrate your company values, trustworthiness and credibility. You don’t always need a professional to help, so if you choose to go down the DIY route, ensure that your camera or smartphone produces high quality imagery and make sure you photograph the product in a clear, tidy & well lit or staged environment.
— Need a hand?
Thinking about moving your shop online but not sure where to start? Talk to us. Get in touch – 01562 747411
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