retail shops to e-commerce

The transition from a brick-and-mortar store to an e-commerce website is not easy and can be intimidating. However, this digital transformation cannot be delayed any further. 

For many major brands, the global pandemic has accelerated the pre-death stage of retail stores into a possible extinction moment. For a smooth transition into online selling, retailers need to keep up with the digital transformation and the only way to go is to adapt no-code to run their e-commerce store.

From brick-and-mortar to selling online in seven simple steps:

Know your customer 

The one valuable thing about having a brick-and-mortar store is the face to face interactions you have with your customers on a regular basis. You can use this as an advantage to leverage your e-commerce store as knowing your customers behind a screen requires a lot of research and resources.

Since you are very well aware of what kind of customers you need to target, their purchasing habits, their likes and tastes, you have a head start to sell online. 

You can start from your existing customer base and your online store by:

  • Talking to them and asking them if would they be interested in the online store?
  • Collect their emails: for marketing purposes.
  • Spread the word: they could help you set it up and might know of someone that would be interested in shopping online at your store.

Also Read: Cultural transformation and digital transformation go hand-in-hand. Here’s how to get it right

Select your products

As a retailer, you already have an existing range of products at the brick-and-mortar store and are aware of best-selling and underperforming products. This information will help you made decisions when you set up your online store. Here are a few options of products that you can choose from to sell online:

  • Best-selling products: These are the set of products that already perform well in your retail store.
  • Underperforming items: These are the range of products that are hard to sell in person. You can boost the sale of these products with a new online audience.
  • Unique products: These are the products that must be highlighted in your online store, as uniqueness pays off for handcrafted or personalised products.
  • Make it a niche store: You can focus on just one product category for your online store. This will be easier to market as well. 

After finalising on what you’ll be selling, it is time to move straight into the action, and start to set up your first e-commerce store.

Select an option to set up your online store

There is a misconception among many business owners that online stores are difficult to create and manage. With the existence of platforms, who provide the opportunity to retailers to create, manage and customise an online store with zero technical knowledge, starting an online store in 2021 is much easier and affordable.

These platforms are designed for anyone who is new to e-commerce and provides all the necessary solutions such as hosting your website, designing your online store, adding products and so on. These platforms are:

  • Shopify: the most popular e-commerce platform out there as it provides the most versatile options.
  • Woocommerce: This is a free plug in of WordPress
  • Wix: One of the most popular drag-and-drop website builders, Wix gives a lot of clean templates to choose from. 

Depending on your priorities, you can choose to set up your own website with the above platforms or to sell on Amazon, Flipkart or Ebay. Choose what makes sense for your business and products.

Choose a suitable payment method

Choose a suitable platform that will serve as a financial bridge between you and your customer. This step is important as choosing a payment method allows customers to complete their purchase on the site itself. 

You can subscribe to a third-party service, these are the options:

  • Paypal or Paytm is the most popular, Paypal and Paytm (India) offers online checkout experiences, invoicing, and in-person payments.
  • Stripe is a payment solution created specifically for e-commerce that allows for international payments and a lot of customisation
  • Square provides both online payment processing solutions and Point of Sale hardware (card readers, stands) for brick-and-mortar businesses.

To subscribe to the above payment platform, you first need to create an account and then connect your bank account to the payment processing account. While making the choice, make sure to keep in mind the fees and the features of each platform.

Also Read: In August, digital transformation took centre stage as startup investors embraced a whole new normal

Set up a backend workflow option

The make-or-break factor of an e-commerce business is the backend workflow which is essentially the processes that take place to ensure smooth delivery of the product to the hands of the customer. From accounting to the management of vendors and inventory, the backend processes are many.

For any brick-and-mortar store to transition into an e-commerce website, adopting a no-code approach is a no brainer. Currently, companies understand how crucial the mobile-first approach is when it comes to serving and communicating with their audiences. With e-commerce workflow automation, streamlining processes helps with both efficiency and productivity. 

Here are the major no-code process automation platforms that you can choose from:

  • Quixy is a leading No-Code Process Automation Platform that simplifies business with which repetitive operations can be automated and streamlined. It offers automation of management of vendors and inventory, addressing grievances and returns, accounting, fulfilment of orders and more.
  • Quickbase is an application development platform that helps businesses accelerate the continuous innovation of unique processes by enabling citizen development at scale across one common platform.
  • Mendix low-code application development platform offers building, deploying, and operating enterprise-grade applications.

Pick a convenient shipping option

This step depends on how much control you want to have on the shipping process. You can either handle the shipping yourself or contract a third party service to do it for you.

By managing the shipping yourself, you will be able to control the packaging of products, manage your own schedule, and deliver according to your needs and capacity. The problems you will have to deal with are handling taxes and fees, managing warranty-related issues and doing all the manual work by yourself.

By using a third-party shipping service, the company will store and manage inventory at their location, package your products and ship it to customers. The problems associated with this are the limited packaging options, extra costs and less control over your business.

If you are handling small quantities of products it makes sense to manage the shipping yourself. If you’re selling in large quantities, the amount of time and money you can save by using a fulfilment warehouse can quickly add up.  You can choose your preferred shipping option by carefully considering factors such as your budget, availability and the nature of your products.

Also Read: Why brick and mortar shops are here to stay

Build a strong online presence to attract new customers

Build an online presence with different social media platforms to reach new audiences and to make them aware of the existence of the your online store and products. Engage different audience members through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other platforms to promote your products, communicate current offers or discounts, address relevant grievances and questions.

Post regularly and encourage clients to share their pictures, videos or feedback about products. You can also make use of other digital strategies such as email marketing or online ads to reach a segment of your audience.

The above steps and tools have helped us at Purplenooks in selling my artwork online. Using no-code platforms has allowed me, a person who doesn’t have the slightest notion of programming, to smoothly run my business every day. I am sure these steps will help you set up any business online with a great amount of ease!

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Image credit: Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

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