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Going online

Taking your business online: what you need to know

Physical premises vs selling online, if you have one, you should have both, right?

Well – the online world has it’s own complexities, but a basic understanding helps.

Selling online means you can bring your products to people who otherwise could never be your customers because they just weren’t passing by or in the area.

So if you’re looking to expand revenue without having to hire more people or pay for more premises it makes perfect sense!

However, there are plenty of wrong ways to go about it.

For those planning to make a complete switch – as we’ve seen on many high streets, think about your people. Any employees you may currently have can continue working for you and can even be an asset if trained to help you manage the online version of your business.

Undoubtedly, expanding your business online while keeping your “bricks-and-mortar” stores is far easier, as you will already have space for stock storage and willing employees to help you deal with picking and packing orders.

Here are some top tips to consider if you thinking of making the move to the online retail space.

1. Decide which products to sell online

You may find that sales work somewhat differently online to those in your physical store, so it is a good idea to choose your products carefully—especially if you are purchasing new products purely to sell in your online store.

It is best to start with products that are not overly expensive and work your way slowly up to the larger ticket items. This way, if the products do not sell as fast as you would like—or in fact, at all—you will not have too much money tied up in stagnant stock that is taking up valuable space in your storage area.

2. Enlist specialist services to design your eCommerce website

Rather than trying to sell your items from a standard website that isn’t properly set up for this and not for for purpose, you may find that it is far easier to enlist the services of a Shopify expert such as

They may be able to set up Shopify on your website and ensure that it not just looks great, but performs as it should—providing your online customers with an excellent shopping experience. They may also be able to spruce up your website with their excellent design services, or design you a new website from scratch if you do not currently have one to support the online side of your business.

3. Explore shipping options

You have no doubt been used to your customers coming into your store to purchase your goods; however, the chances are your online customers will not want to do this. This could be because they reside too far away, or are thoroughly enjoying the convenience of having your products arrive at their door after they push a button on their laptop or (more commonly) their smartphone. Either way, you are going to have to look into shipping options to get your products to your customers on time and in one piece.

While regular shipping options like the Post Office or a three-letter courier will probably fit the bill, you might have specialist products to sell which may be fragile and need special handling. You’ll need to check these operations out and see what kind of insurance coverage they have before using them. Regardless of who you choose, you need to pick a collection time each day that is convenient for you, so both you and those who work for you have a clear deadline to get orders packed.

4. Look at creating information products

Going online also means that you can expand your product range to include new products that would not fit a regular brick-and-mortar business. This might typically be a downloadable information product directly related to your store niche. For instance, if you sold spices, it might be a cookbook that showed customers how to get the most from your products; or if you sold pianos, it could be a guide on tuning a piano at home.

Once created these can be sold time and time again at minimal cost to you, and provide an extra revenue stream for your business.

Final thoughts

If you’ve been a traditional retailer for some time then the thought of taking your products or services online might fill you with dread. However, using specialist services to put your site together for you can give you peace of mind—as well as a superior website.

Of course, you will need to decide which of your products would be best suited to online selling, and you could even add a few digital products to your range. Regardless of what you are selling it needs to get to your customer, so you should also look at shipping options—especially for any products you are worried would perish in the mail.

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