7 Steps to Transition Your Brick and Mortar Store Online

Mitchel White
April 29, 2020

Having an online presence has arguably never been more important for businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Toilet paper shortages aside, the current situation is causing problems for all types of businesses, particularly small and independent brick and mortar sellers.

If your business is struggling to keep afloat, why not make the transition to online? Setting up shop on an ecommerce platform, such as Shopify, can enable your business to not only survive but thrive during these tough times.

What are the benefits?

Due to social distancing measures, consumers are unable to venture out and visit their favourite shops. However, these measures have meant many consumers have moved to shop online instead. Having an online presence could help your business to meet these new found needs while generating some much-needed revenue.

To help your bricks and mortar business transition to a thriving ecommerce company, we’ve put together seven simple steps to get online.

Purchase your domain

Plenty of ecommerce platforms allow you to buy your website domain through them, which ideally will have the same name as your business. Shopify allows you to purchase and manage custom domains, as well as helping you search for alternatives if your chosen name is already taken.

Buying your domain is a big step to take when moving online, so remember to take your time before you make your purchase. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Expect to pay anywhere between £10 to £15 to register your domain for a year.
  • Trademarked domains are a thing and can get you in a lot of legal trouble.
  • Domains ending in .com or .co.uk should be your first choice as they are the most powerful extensions.
  • Avoid numbers and hyphens where possible.

Set up an ecommerce website

Once you’ve bought your domain name, it’s time to set up your website. Firstly, you’ll need to decide whether you’d like to do it yourself or enlist the help of a web design expert.

If you’re setting up the website yourself, you’ll need to figure out which platform you’d like to use. Shopify and Squarespace are easy to use, and once you’ve signed up, allow you to start building your website straight away without any hassle. Within the platforms you can customise the theme, colour and font, as well as incorporating your company logo. Make sure that the design not only reflects your company’s personality, but that it’s also easy for customers to navigate.

If you’re not confident in doing this yourself, we’re here to help. Our web design team can create bespoke websites for any kind of project.

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Add your products

When choosing what products you want to sell, start by adding your best-selling items, as well as considering what products shoppers ask about or request the most.

You also want to make sure that your product descriptions are detailed and compelling so you can entice your website’s visitors to make a purchase. Adding your products onto the website can seem like a daunting task if you have lots of items to sell, but most ecommerce platforms have built in tools to streamline the process.

Set up your payments

In order to kickstart online sales, your website needs to be able to take payment from your customers. These days, most consumers like having options when it comes to paying, so it’s best if you can offer multiple payment methods on checkout.

Most ecommerce platforms come with ways to integrate different payment gateways, and some even offer all-in-one packages without having to set up multiple merchant accounts.

Integrate your social media channels

Consumers are now using social media not only to gauge a brand’s reputation, but also to make purchases through these platforms. Both Facebook and Instagram now have integrated shopping options for business pages to monopolise on, as well as paid tools to target potential customers through social media advertising.

If you haven’t already, make sure you set up social media pages for your business on platforms that are suited to your sector, and then integrate them with your website. Most ecommerce platforms will already have built-in tools that allow you to do this.

Set up email marketing campaigns

Email marketing is a great way to keep your customers informed with the latest deals and discounts your store might have. Perhaps you’ve already collected a list of your customers’ emails? If not, you can usually collect this data through your website’s point-of-sale system. Just remember to comply with data privacy laws!

Using your ecommerce platform’s built-in email tools, or through a third-party site like Mailchimp, you can then contact your customers through email campaigns to let them know about your company’s recent changes, and how they can continue to make purchases and support your business. You can even promote offers and discounts to encourage them to visit your new online store.

Announce your move

After you go online, do everything you can to spread the word about your new online website. Here are some ways you can reach people:

  • Email – As we mentioned above, contacting your customers through email is a great way to let them know about your company’s transition.
  • Social media – Create an announcement post on your social platforms, and include a link to your new website where you can.
  • Search Engines – It can take time to establish a presence in search engines like Google, but it shouldn’t stop you from working on your website’s SEO as soon as you go online.
  • Add signage to your existing shop front – It’s highly likely you’ll get customers still visiting your shop, unaware that it’s closed. By adding a sign on your shop door, you can direct them to your online store.

Still need help?

If the prospect of setting up an online presence still seems daunting, don’t worry, we’re here to help. With the help of our web design, SEO and marketing experts, we can make the transition to the online world simple and stress-free.

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