From Brick and Mortar to an Online Presence – How to Manage Your Transition

When it comes to the world of retail, be it small, medium or large/enterprise, if you don’t have an online presence the you’re likely feeling the effects of changing consumer behaviour. Where once customers preferred to visit a store and interact with tangible items, the convenience of managing their affairs online became too great and a shift in their behaviour occurred. While the change to either an online-only or a simultaneous approach can be intimidating for many business owners, the key to making a successful transition is in your approach.

Do You Need Your Own Online Store?

While many small business owners rush to register their own dot com address and establish a replica of their entire business online, others take an alternative route. To minimize the startup and ongoing costs, many retailers are turning to established auction sites to set up their online stores. While they may not have a direct website to interact with, customers can browse and research the same products offered in store with the familiarity of a trusted online brand. Additionally, these merchants noticed the trend well before the rest and have created tools to make the transition easy, including online product displays and payment assistance.

How Are You Marketing?

With an online store set up, the next requirement is to entice visitors to it. Take Cheryl’s bakery as the perfect example. Fully embracing an online presence, Cheryl’s created an entire Groupon Coupons page full of discounts and offers to entice new customers.

Whereas previously businesses could only advertise static offers, such as print media that can only be changed during each new publication cycle, Cheryl’s, to continue the example, has the ability to create dynamic offers, changing their promotions in real time as either new products come in or they notice new trends in customer spending. Marketing sites like Groupon Coupons are open to all levels of business and are providing real-time benefits to previously brick-and-mortar only retailers.

Adjust Your Balance Sheet

Along with the convenience of online shopping, consumers quickly became aware that hosting an online presence comes with significantly decreased costs in contrast to a physical store. As such, consumers are hesitant to pay the same amount online to what is being charged in store. This is often where many transitioning retailers are getting stuck as they aren’t passing on a fair portion of their overhead savings on to their customers. If you are going to make the transition, be sure to adjust any balance sheets you have and adjust your prices accordingly.

If you are hesitant in transitioning to an online store, you’re not alone. Many business owners are feeling the same. The key, however, to a successful transition is to be aware of the environment you’re moving into. Along with these tips, speak with local business owners who have made the move and perform thorough research.