In 2019, Deloitte released a report that showed the retail industry is facing an increase in debt and expenses but a decrease in revenue growth and asset turnover. When the pandemic hit, these shaky financial foundations started to crumble. As the months progressed, a lot of small to medium businesses were forced to file for bankruptcy and close down.
Apart from the public health crisis, there were many signs that foreshadowed this economic recession. One of the outstanding reasons is today’s new digital landscape that has shaped and reshaped customer experience. Deloitte shares that most brick and mortar stores have systems that are vulnerable to the shock waves of technological changes. As customers demand contact less transactions and more convenient shopping, these businesses did not have the systems to meet their expectations.
As we witnessed in the 2008-2009 recession, faulty systems were exposed, new trends were embraced, and organizations were forced to refine (or overhaul) their model. In those years, we have seen a steady growth of eCommerce and the decline of brick-and-mortar retail. Instead of seeing history repeat itself, it's time for brick-and-mortar stores to change their traditional ways and take a step into the digital sphere of business—not just to stay relevant, but to survive.
Why You Need to Sell Online
According to Valassis, around 42% of 1000 Americans are shopping more online. As people continue to work from their homes, they spend more time online. In favor of also maintaining social distancing, they are spending more online. LEK Consulting also reports that people are spending more on fitness equipment, pet supplies, and medical supplies. Transitioning online and putting up a website will meet people’s needs for a more convenient and health-conscious transaction.
Putting your products on an online store also widens your reach. While you may be cities apart, you can engage with customers in just a few minutes. No longer limited by physical distance, you can create more connections.
Thanks to tools that are available online, you can also study user behavior once they click into your site. As you get to know your customers better, you can find or create more solutions and strategies that fill their needs.
By publishing content and encouraging people to leave their reviews, you can also gain leads and positive sentiment. Happy customers are always the best way to market your products. Whenever you run a marketing campaign online, people can share them on their social media pages and invite their friends to try it.
Essentials When Selling Online
Now that we have covered the different benefits of having an eCommerce site, here are some important elements to work on as you get started:
Create a marketing strategy to attract customers
In an eCommerce inbound marketing strategy, the attract stage focuses on driving traffic or getting new visitors for your website. These website visitors can become leads which you can engage to make a purchase, and eventually delight them to be one of your loyal customers.
This process may sound simple and completely linear. But as retailers trying to get your brand out there, you would need a strategy tailor-fit for each stage. In the attract phase alone, you would need to leverage different channels such as search engine optimization, content marketing, social media, and paid ads to drive new visitors to your eCommerce website.
A good SEO strategy will help your listings rank on search engines. Find out what keywords people use to look for your products and ensure to implement those on your product pages. Aside from that, upload high-quality photos for each one. While great visuals won’t necessarily affect your search engine ranking, these are what build customer trust and a good reputation. As most people are also visual learners, this will also help them understand your product better.
In the same light, running advertising campaigns on Facebook or Google can put you on people’s radar. Advertise your discount codes for new customers or publish blogs that feature some of your best-selling items. A well-made strategy is sure to attract leads to your website. If executed well, you can start converting customers soon.
Integrate your website with Shopify for a better buying experience
Shopify is one of the many eCommerce platforms that offer a wide array of tools to help online businesses grow. With over 800,000 businesses making a $100B total in sales, the platform is convenient not just for your customers but also for you.
However, its user-friendly features should not be your sole guarantee for success. Opening a business, even online ones, come with risks. To maximize your chances of growth, here are several things you can do:
- Research: Shopify helps online sellers by publishing different guides that help them improve their marketing, sales, graphics, and more. Not only will this give you leverage over your competition, but you can also maximize your Shopify account to the fullest.
- Use the app: Shopify App Store offers different features that help you manage your customers, transactions, and inventory. While some are not free-of-charge, it is important to find the ones that will help you streamline your services and improve customer experience.
In light of recent events, it's time to meet your customers halfway. While you might be getting giddy at the thought of the endless opportunities that come with selling online. But similar to a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll need a great strategy and proven process.
Take a deep dive on setting up a marketing-ready website with QuicklyLaunch’s free web series “What is a Marketing-Ready Website?”. In this short course, you’ll learn what it takes to build a website that uses marketing best practices to help your business convert, and also get access to our “The Anatomy of an Online Marketing-ready Website” ebook.
Are you interested in taking your website a step further? Check out our Podia-exclusive course where we help you learn the ropes of Shopify's eCommerce platform and features. Click the image below to enroll in our premium course “An Outsourcing Expert’s 5 Simple Steps to Setting-up your Online Store” and find out how to create the best eCommerce strategy with the right tools.