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Transitioning your brick & mortar store online

Perhaps before 2020 began, you’d been contemplating a move to take your business online. Either away from a physical space or in addition to your store.  These last few months may have been the final push you needed to make your decision. In order to keep your store open and allow a possibility for growth, now is the time to make the jump to include an online presence.  So….now what?

 ‘Going online’ sounds simple and feels like it shouldn’t take more than a few button clicks.  In reality, there are a number of decisions to be made and the first few of these actually take place offline.

Know your ideal customer – create a buyer persona

The items you sell or service you provide will give you a good starting point of who your ideal buyer is. Consider the age and gender of your average client, their interests, lifestyle, and salary. Are they likely to shop online or would they be more inclined to come to your store? Review your available data and see what insight it can provide you. For more help in making an informed decision – prepare a quick and simple survey (1-2 questions maximum) that customers can complete while making a purchase in your store.

Product Offering

If you sell physical goods, consider how they translate into being sold online.  You will have some cost savings for an online store – less overhead being one of them – the added expense of shipping may be new for you. Logistics make up a good chunk of the cost of goods, anywhere from 6 – 11 % by some estimates. Transportation and delivery costs are calculated by weight and dimensions of the item sold and that makes a huge difference if you’re selling tea bags or if you make hand-knitted area rugs. 

And now that many giant online retailers (thanks, Amazon!) offer free shipping, smaller stores need to find creative ways to stay competitive. People will quickly ‘x’ out of their browser window when they see they are paying $25.00 in shipping for an $11.00 item. You’ll need to find a way to keep your shipping costs in line before they become a deterrent for shoppers. 

An optional approach could be a staggered launch. Choose a selection of products – perhaps one specific line. Then, as the volume of sales increases and your experience grows, add additional products in stages. This would enable you to refine your online retail plan as you get feedback from your customers.

Choosing an online platform

One of the most important decisions is the platform you choose as the framework for your site.  Things to consider include; how customizable is it, does it offer integrations with your existing inventory systems? With your payment processing systems – are there monthly subscriptions or are they one-time setup costs? If you plan on growing your online presence, be sure to pick a platform that can scale without massive updating and a ton of work from your web development team.  

A vital component that cannot be overlooked is how you will handle online payments. Does your existing financial institution have a way to integrate into an online store or will you have to use a third party for the online portion of your business? There are many options available for accepting payments, just make sure that whomever you choose works with your existing system and lessens your workload instead of adding to it.

Over and above all these – your site must be mobile-friendly, or “responsive” as those in the know would say. People spend more than 50 percent of their time online on a mobile device (excluding tablets)* and BI Intelligence has forecast that m-commerce (shopping on a mobile device) will reach $284 billion, or 45 percent of the total U.S. e-commerce market this year.**   This is critical to include in your online plan – you need to be where your customers are.

The People Factor

Depending on the size of the online store you plan to have and inventory you’ll carry, you will need to either hire additional staff or reassign existing ones into new roles. There be work in fulfilling and shipping the orders, but there will also be some man-hours for the front-end as well. Website maintenance, inventory control, and perhaps a help desk to answer emails and phone calls. 

Omnichannel Retail

One critical goal for any retailer is to provide an omnichannel retail experience. This means that a customer shopping on your site would have the same experience when they shop at your brick and mortar location.  A retail store revolves around the customer and you need to create a seamless, unified experience every time they shop with you, regardless of format. Creating this kind of experience for your shopper’s ties in greatly with the aspect of omnichannel marketing.

Omnichannel Marketing

Your overall marketing strategy needs to have one common voice. Your store and brand should have the same feel and personality across all platforms.  A traditional brick and mortar store could send out flyers, coupons, and personalized offers but an online marketing campaign has several more facets.  Personalized emails, social media posts on various platforms that invite engagement, discount codes and individual landing pages are all spokes in a wheel that create a truly unique and customized experience for the consumer.  

After all the work you’ve put into creating your online store, people need to find it. They need to know your site exists and what you offer.  In today’s crowded online world, a savvy and attention-grabbing marketing campaign will need to be included in your launch. This is one puzzle piece you cannot forget.

Final Thoughts

One element that can’t be reproduced online is the physical experience of being in your store. The human connection we’re all missing these days is one of the hardest parts of the new way we now live.  Going shopping was something that seemed so ordinary and now it’s one of the things we miss most. It shows how important the experience needs to be!

Large brands today have the resources to create seamless and frictionless experiences for consumers. Smaller businesses can achieve this on their own scale by putting great planning and thought into how they set up their online stores, how they create their customer experience, and how well they unify their physical store with their online one. 

Moving online does not have to be scary, it can be a lot of fun. With a well thought out approach, you will be amazed at the interaction you can get with your customers, and how you can foster a sense of community within your social channels. Invite them in to see you, your brand and your store, and you will create brand advocates who shop with you time and again…and bring their friends along for the ride.

*Source: Statista


10 Reasons to Start a Work from Home Online Business


Work from Home – 10 Reasons to Make It Happen!

Are you sick and tired of the stressors and demands your daily job brings to your life? Have you always thought about the freedoms of working from home? Have you been thinking about starting your own business for more freedom and flexibility? Well, that’s why Pure-Ecommerce would like to share with you ten reasons to start a work from home online business.

1.     You Can Control Your Schedule


Wouldn’t you like the ability to decide when you work? Maybe you’re an early riser and prefer to work before dawn breaks. Or maybe you’re a “night owl” and want to work late into the evening when you have more quiet time. No matter what you prefer when you own your own online business you have the ability to set and customize the work hours that meet the needs of your life and family.

Having the extra flexibility and control over your schedule is great but you’ll need to remember to minimize any distractions while working from home. You’ll also want to create a schedule to ensure your meeting deadlines and completing tasks on time. Plus, you’ll want to ensure you have the entrepreneurial skills to take on starting your own online business.

2.     You Can Work From Anywhere


That’s right when you choose to start an online business, you’ll be able to take it anywhere you go! Yes, you’ll probably be working from home the majority of the time but if you choose to go on vacation you can take it with you. If you’re traveling in an RV across the country, you can take it with you. If you’re spending time with friends or family for a while, you can take it with you too. No matter where you choose to go your online business can go to as long as you have internet connectivity – wow, that’s convenience and flexibility, right?!?!

3. You Can Save Time


When you work outside the home let’s face it, you lose time, precious time! From spending time sitting in your car or on the train for your morning and evening commute. Did you know the average employee in the U.S. spends 26 minutes commuting each day to work? This is basically lost time, they only thing you’re getting out of it is arriving at work or at home! Wouldn’t this time be better spent with your loved ones, exercising, doing your favorite hobby, or any other activity you choose? By working from home you get back approximately eleven days per year that would otherwise be wasted. Now, that’s something to think about! 

4. You Can Have a Better Work-Life Balance


This is one of the most frustrating things about working outside the home. If you’re a parent, grandparent or simple have a life outside of work, you’re probably always feeling that pull of back and forth. You know you should be working and taking care of those responsibilities at your workplace, but you feel a pull not to miss out on personal or family events. 

When you choose to start your work from home online business you’re able to create a better work-life balance. You can create a schedule based on a special event that may need your attention. It will help reduce the strain you feel and make both work and life more enjoyable!

5. You Can Reduce Stress While Boosting Productivity


Are you constantly stressed at your current job? The answer is probably “yes” because most people feel the demands and stressors of their daily job. There is too much work to be completed while not enough time to complete it, right? Well, by running an online business from home you can help to reduce the pressures you may feel in your career now. Yes, there will still be stressors and pressure to succeed. However, YOU will be in control of them. You will not have a boss or manager standing over you demanding a task be completed “yesterday”. You will be able to complete tasks at your pace and on the deadlines, you create for yourself. 

6. You Can Be In Your Own Environment


No more cubicles or stuffy office spaces – you can create an office environment that is suitable for YOUR needs! Let’s face it when you work in an office environment you are surrounded by other people and everything they bring with them to work. From disgusting germs to their own life dramas that you probably prefer not to know about, right?!?! 

Yes, working with others can be great but you’d probably prefer to have control over your own working environment. By starting your work from home business you can create a home office that best suits you! Whether you like a bright and cheery space with soft music playing or a more muted, darker area that helps you focus – the look and feel of your home office are up to you and no one else! 

7. You Can Increase Your Volunteer Time


Another benefit of having a work from home online business is again you have more time to do what you want. This means if you enjoy volunteering at your child’s school, local shelter or anywhere in your community, you will have the extra time to do so. You will not have a boss complaining that you want to help serve food at a local shelter one afternoon a week. Or a supervisor who says your not allowed to leave earlier to coach your child’s sports team. You will have the ability to dictate your schedule and if you choose to volunteer in your community that is your prerogative! You’ll feel satisfied that you’re not only able to run your own business but also help others at the same time. 

8. You Can Create Your Own Dress Code


This may sound a little silly to you but have the flexibility to wear what you want when you want can be very liberating. One day if you do not feel like getting out of your pajamas, you can. If you prefer to wear your leisurewear with “I don’t care hair” – you can! Or if you feel your best when you’re in your best work attire, you can wear any style outfit you want when you work from home! 

9. You Can Phase Into Your Retirement


Whether you’re in your in 20’s or 60’s, it’s never too early or too late to invest in your future, as well as, think about your retirement. That’s why staring a work from home online business is a great idea because you can work it for years as you phase into your retirement. Pure-Ecommerce offers many different online business ideas for retirees. A drop ship website can give you the opportunity to start a business with minimal investment, have a manageable workload, and low risk due to low overhead. Plus, by working with the team at Pure-Ecommerce you’ll have step-by-step consulting as you learn to set up, run and manage your new online business. 

10. You Can Be Your Own Boss 


Finally, isn’t it time to become independent and be your own boss! This will enable you to answer to yourself, become free from corporate demands, have more freedom and flexibility in your life, allow you to pursue your genuine interests and put your passions to work for yourself – not for others. 

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