There are many reasons offered up by offline retail store operators as to why they still haven’t bothered creating an online store to sell their products. While not every product is suited to online sales, far more retailers could be taking advantage of online sales software (shopping carts).
If you or someone you know manages a retail operation that does not yet have an online shopping option for their customers, the following will be worth careful consideration.
Your business doesn’t have to post products
E-commerce or online shopping cart software designed to sell products online can be used by any retail business, even those that don’t want to post or deliver their products to customers. This might sound counter-intuitive however the idea is pretty straight forward.
Many retailers fail to consider the option of pick-up in store. That is, make the sale online and prepare the order for collection by the customer.
There is absolutely no reason why you can’t run your very own online store this way. This approach also means that products that may not be suited for delivery can be sold over the internet, while also eliminating potentially sale killing delivery costs.
The key point is this: get the sale while the buyer is in a purchasing frame of mind. Not just the order, but the payment too. Complete that sale!
The benefits of online shopping software
There are a bunch of reasons why online stores are useful to retail businesses however I’ll just look at the benefits to a those offering online purchases for in-store pick-up.
OK, here are some of the top benefits:
- You have a shop available to customers 24/7/365.
- Customers can browse your products how and when it suits them.
- Sales can be made immediately, while the buyer is still super enthusiastic or in a purchasing mood.
- You lock in orders before the shopper changes their mind.
- Shoppers don’t feel any pressure to buy (some people don’t like being confronted by sales assistants).
- Online stores are great for up-selling and cross-selling, thus increasing your revenue per customer.
- By having an online store you are able to take advantage of online marketing tools and channels to promote your products.
Also, ‘real bricks and mortar’ stores benefit from having an online store to refer people to if they come in and don’t commit to a purchase on the spot. You need to have a way of completing the sale the moment the buyer is ready – online stores make that possible.
Is it hard to get started?
These days, not at all. There was a time where you would need to get your online shopping system built from scratch however these days it is very easy.
There are numerous options for getting an online store up and running, two popular options being Big Commerce and Shopify. These types of store provide a complete hosting and shopping cart software management service, all bundled into a single product. Typically you pay a monthly or annual fee on a subscription basis to use the software.
You may hear this type of software being called ‘Software as a Service‘ (SaaS).
If you aren’t sure about creating an online store by yourself then talk to a website development company about getting a store set-up. Shop around and ask for a number of quotes because the prices will vary wildly.
Getting an online store up and running does require some time, money and effort however the benefits are significant when you get it right. By supplementing your offline store with an internet shopping solution you increase the number of opportunities that you’ll have for more sales and new customers.
If your business has the resources to operate an online store then give this strategy a go. Most of the effort goes into the set-up, so once you are past that stage things become a lot easier – and fun.