As of July 2nd, Kentucky had seen more than 15,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and Tennessee had seen just over 45,000 cases according to The Covid Tracking Project. The pandemic has changed the way that we do business and it's likely that even once it is a distant memory some of the habits that consumers have acquired will continue. Bricks and mortar businesses, many of which were already struggling before the pandemic hit, are being forced to look at new sales channels in order to survive. Here are a few ways How Your Brick and Mortar Business Could Pivot to Online.
The coronavirus pandemic meant that families were forced to stay home for months. During that time they still needed to buy things so they exercised the only option they had; to buy things online. This means that 2020 has been a great year to be an e-commerce business. Amazon posted revenues of $75 billion in the first quarter of the year, and while the retailer is perhaps the king of all e-commerce platforms, their strength shows what's possible for those who have a good online presence.
Smaller local retailers can take advantage of the same trends that have allowed the bigger companies to thrive. Many consumers, conscious of the damage that the coronavirus is doing to the economy, are looking to support local businesses as much as possible, including those in Hendersonville, Nashville, and Middle Tennessee. Store owners who make the effort to move some of their business online may win over that audience by making it easy for them to shop in a conscience-friendly way.
One of the main barriers to selling products online is the act of launching an online store website. Some platforms are confusing to set up, others require powerful (and expensive) servers, and ongoing maintenance too. That technical burden is one that the average bricks and mortar store owner is likely to find overwhelming. It doesn't make sense to spend huge amounts of money to launch a store if your clientele is primarily people in your immediate surroundings.
Fortunately, there's no need to do so. Using platforms such as BigCommerce or Shopify you can launch an online store relatively quickly, and without needing extensive programming experience. These platforms handle all the difficult back-end issues such as security and payment processing, leaving you to focus on simply adding your catalog and getting the branding right so that you can provide your loyal customers with a familiar experience via their laptops and phones, and stay connected with your core audience throughout the pandemic and beyond.
Selling online may seem odd at first, especially if your business has always focused on building a personal connection with customers or offering a boutique experience, but there are a lot of benefits to having a robust web presence:
1) An Online Store Boosts Your Brand Image
The events of the last few months have raised questions about the resilience and future of many businesses. Now, more than ever, having an online digital website presence that is regularly updated and that offers clear information to customers is a must. Having an online store reassures customers that you are still a going concern, and will make you appear more reputable in the minds of shoppers.
2) Customers Can Reach You at Their Convenience
Lockdown has forced people to investigate other ways of shopping. Even people who would previously make a point of making a trip to a store have been pushed towards ordering online. Those who were previously comfortable with online shopping have found that they're using websites even more, and the concept of "business hours" has been forgotten by many people. Shoppers are used to going online whenever they want, and having products delivered to their home within 24 hours in many cases. They're used to sending emails or using live chats for customer service at any time of the day or night.
Launching an eCommerce website store puts you within reach of those customers. Your bricks and mortar store is useful only during opening hours. Even if you are willing to put in long hours, malls close early in the evening. Your online store is working for you even while you're asleep.
3) The Word of Mouth Potential is Huge
A store is like a giant, always-running advertisement, and one of the ways that it can work for you is by enabling easy word of mouth advertising. Shoppers can browse your products, and if they see something that they like or are excited about buying they can quickly share it with their friends via messaging apps or social media. Turning your current customers into brand advocates is a great sales tool, and one that every good digital marketing agency would encourage. The power of getting people to "tell their friends" is something marketers have used throughout history, but it is massively amplified in the digital age. At this stage, if you're not offering an online store and providing easy 'share links' to social media on all of your product pages, you are unnecessarily leaving money on the table.
To fully take advantage of the power of selling online, your eCommerce website store will need to reflect the brand that you already have in the real world. If you're hip and trendy, that's the look your site needs. If your focus is luxury and elegance, again, your logo and images need to reflect that. Working with a BigCommerce or Shopify website designer to make sure that your branding is clear and consistent will help your launch to go more smoothly and give your customers the confidence that they're dealing with the brand that they've already come to know and love.
You've spent years building up a good reputation with your clients, taking that goodwill with you as you pivot into the online space is possible if you get your launch right. Call Navarro Creative Group today, or fill out our online contact form to discuss your website and your plans for expansion.
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