How to Sell Online if You Already Have a Physical Store

Small brick-and-mortar retailers can discover new clients, experimentation with new products, and generally grow their business when they begin selling online. For recognized retailers, the initial steps toward ecommerce frequently begin with merchandise preparation, software selection and integration, and learning about internet marketing and customer services.

Ecommerce is a quick expanding retail segment, increasing 20 percent in america in the first quarter of 2013. According to estimates from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the IBM Online Retail Index, total ecommerce sales excluding travel and automobiles might have been as much as $50 billion in the first quarter.

These kinds of statistics can make ecommerce quite attractive to retailers that now sell just from a physical store or shops.

Prepare Product Descriptions and Photographs

In a real-world shop, a customer can view a product on the shelf, hold it, and read its label. But in an internet shop, the storekeeper should present a description, a listing of features or specifications, and a picture or video showing the item.

Some producers and distributors will offer appropriate product photography as well as written descriptions, but there are usually two types of problems related to getting pictures and copy this way.

First, the copy isn’t unique. The product description could be identical to the description on the company’s own site or the descriptions on a dozen competitive websites. When search engines such as Google or Bing select which sites to list first on a search results page, these search engines won’t choose a completely new page with a copycat product description. For some products, this may be acceptable, but oftentimes, you will need to compose a 35-to-50 word description for each and every item which will appear on your site.

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Second, just about any producer or distributor will provide the item data in another way. Some provide CSV files through FTP and many others use a digital asset management system. These differing systems imply that almost all the initial product information collection has to be carried out manually.

It could make sense to handle this task in smallish pieces, writing a couple of product descriptions and processing a few images every day. Additionally it is possible to hire freelance writers or picture processors to help prepare the item info. Consider trying to locate help at Guru, oDesk, Virtual Staff Finder, or comparable.

When you’ve got a product description and picture for virtually every product that you want on the website at launch, you will be prepared for another step.

Manage Inventory and Accounting

For merchants selling exclusively on the internet, stock and accounting — or transactions — are handled in the ecommerce platform. But, brick-and-mortar retailers just getting started with ecommerce likely already have an inventory management system and a favourite account program suite.

You will want to locate a solution which enables online and physical-store sales and stock to be managed in a uniform or almost uniform manner. Sometimes, this means your soon-to-open online shop will have to integrate with your existing systems, but in others situations it may make more sense to alter point-of-sale (POS) solutions or accounting suites.

Consider checking out services such as Vend, which is a cloud-based POS using an application programming interface which can be connected to a lot of ecommerce platforms. Conversely, you’ll want a POS system for your shop that does not go down when the world wide web is unavailable.

The payment card industry has a digital safety benchmark for card-not-present transactions; you will need to comply.

Inventory management will be important also, particularly when the physical shop and internet shop are sharing units. When a shopper buys a product at the physical store, the online store needs to know to not sell it as well.

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Select an Ecommerce Platform

Ecommerce platform software handles displaying and storing your online product catalogue, counts online stock, links to payment gateways, and, in a nutshell, makes it possible to market products online.

There are lots of very good solutions, and deciding which one to use will require some thought.

Consider making a list of everything you need your ecommerce store in order to do, include things like take PayPal check out, have layered navigation, be responsive so it looks good on mobile devices, and similar. Try to locate a solution that can do everything on your list either as part of its core functions or via a dependable extension or plugin.

You’ll also need to search for a solution that permits you or your designer direct access to the style sheets, page design, and JavaScript. Even in the event you decide to use a template and make no changes to it, being able to control how your ecommerce website looks will nearly certain become significant as your online business grows.

Order Fulfillment

Brick-and-mortar retailers will be quite familiar with getting shipments from FedEx or possibly a third-party logistics firm. But sending orders to customer is rather different.

You will need the packaging materials, such as boxes in many different sizes; air bladders or packaging peanuts to cushion products, tape, and labels in a minimum. Because most shipping prices are wait and space based, you will want a scale too.

For FedEx and UPS it’s ideal to establish accounts and you will also need to have the ability to ship through the U.S. Postal Service.

Online shoppers will anticipate some means of making free delivery too.