How to transition your business online

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The trend to move your physical store online was quite noticeable before Covid-19. However, since the pandemic hit, there have been even more incentives to switch to e-commerce.

Nowadays, more and more people are buying on the Internet. By becoming an online store owner, you also benefit from a 24/7 business. Buyers can buy products online whenever they want as long as there are no issues on the website.

But how can the transition period be facilitated? Even if a store manages to cover all the bases, it can still be difficult to successfully implement digital transformation.

Let’s take a look at some of the key elements when making the transition from offline to online with your business. Use the suggestions below as a basis to ensure a smoother process.

Register a domain name

As someone who already owns a physical store, you should have registered a domain name for a long time. However, if you haven’t already done so, whatever original name you want for your domain can be used.

If so, contact the current owner of that domain and explain the situation. As long as another part is reasonable, you shouldn’t run into any issues. And if things get too difficult to resolve out of court, there is the possibility of claiming ownership of the domain name due to the operation of the law.

Find the right platform for the website

There are different options when it comes to the ecommerce platforms available. It would probably be better to go with Shopify or a similar solution rather than building a website from scratch for the sake of convenience.

Make sure the platform has the necessary features like automation plugins and a solid security system.

When you are going to build a website, you will also need to choose a theme. Most of the themes are mobile friendly and have an intuitive user interface, but you should always check that these elements are present as mobile ecommerce is pretty big these days, with over 50% of all online shoppers using smartphones and tablets.

You’ll also need a dedicated server or multiple servers to host the website, build a business knowledge base, and store important customer data on a third-party service, as some ecommerce platforms don’t offer not these features, so keep that in mind.

Create product pages

It is one thing to buy from a physical store and to buy online. Customers don’t have the ability to preview products in online stores most of the time, so they need that much information about a product before purchasing it.

From high-quality product images and detailed descriptions to videos showing how they work, a product page should contain all the necessary details. Missing information will lead to fewer conversions, especially when you’re looking to attract new customers who found you through organic search.

Finally, consider adding user reviews. According to Trustpilot, around 90% of online shoppers read online reviews and pay attention to past customer reviews before making their final decision.

Add relevant content

Besides product descriptions, an online store should also have other content. Buyers expect to find information on returns and refunds, shipping policies, and an FAQ page.

A contact page should also be present as someone might have a proposal or other reason to get in touch with the store managers.

Take care of legal affairs

Just because you take the store online, don’t expect to be exempt from legal procedures. If you were running a legitimate business before, you want to take the same approach.

On the contrary, going online can come with more obligations depending on where you live. One thing that stands out no matter where you are is the GDPR, which is general data protection regulation.

Online consumer rights are a little different from buying rights in a physical store. However, if you implement the necessary policies and follow the rules, there should be no problem with the law.

Configure payment gateways

Buyers these days prefer to have flexible payment methods, which means you need to consider how many different payment gateways you are going to set up in your store.

Imagine buyers who save items to wishlist and return to the store to purchase the goods later only to find that their preferred payment method is not available. The chances that they will abandon the cart and not return to your store are high.

Besides the obvious option of credit card and direct bank transfer, services like Payoneer and PayPal should also be pretty clear choices. You then have Stripe, Skrill, Google Pay, Wise, and other similar options that are not as popular but might still be worth it.

Finally, there is cryptocurrency. While still not taken seriously by many online businesses, cryptocurrency is gaining popularity as a legitimate payment method.

You should understand that the more payment methods you introduce into your store, the more different customers you can accommodate.

Inform people about the online store

Announcing the move online is one of the best things about the whole business. Since you used to own a physical store, you want to let your regulars know first. Email them, call them, or use other means.

Of course, you shouldn’t expect all of your old customers to suddenly switch to shopping online as well. Some of them won’t budge with you. To make up for the loss, you will have to put your efforts into attracting new customers through social media, PPC marketing, search engine optimization, and other marketing techniques.

Monitor the smoothness of the transition and make adjustments

If the transition goes smoothly, you can focus on advertising and growing the business. On the other hand, the chances of encountering certain problems, whether small or large, are relatively high.

Responding and problem solving is part of being a business owner. In some cases, you can take care of the issues yourself, while other issues require the help of someone familiar with specific topics.

Posted on September 29, 2021


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