A Complete Guide On How To Move Your Offline Business Online
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Here is a complete guide on How to Move Your Offline Business Online. This blog covers end to end details of all the requirements, necessities, benefits, challenges, tips, and steps involved in successfully shifting your offline business to online.
Here’s what’s in the blog, i.e. the Table of Contents:
- How important is eCommerce for retailers?
- Why move an offline business online?
- What are the benefits of shifting your offline business to online?
- Requirements / Checklist before moving an offline business online
- How to move an offline business to online
- Risks of taking your business online
Follow these and by the end, you’ll know everything on how to convert an offline store to an online store
So let’s cut the chase and begin…
Owning an offline retail business is GOOD. But owning an Offline and Online retail business is MUCH BETTER.
The ongoing pandemic has already done everlasting damage to the world of brick and mortar. It’s highly unlikely that the offline business would remain the same even long after this is all over.
Let me ask you a question?
How do you imagine the world of retail two years down the road?
I’ll paint a picture for you.
You’re sitting in your shop waiting for customers. But you can’t seem to find any?
The customer’s interest in online shopping had been rising at an alarming rate. And the COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst to this new trend of shopping. Your customers, even the loyal ones are left with no other options except to opt for eCommerce. They can’t come to you even if they wanted to. Soon your customers had become accustomed to this new form of shopping. They start to fall for it and there’s no coming back from there.
Who were once your customers are now someone else’s?
And do you know the reason why? Because you failed to act.
You didn’t make the right decision at the right time.
And the right decision would have been to move your offline business online when the time is right.
And there would be no better time than NOW.
Offline sellers who haven’t yet tasted the sweet benefits of eCommerce often ask this question – Is eCommerce really that important?
How Important is eCommerce for Retailers?
Starting an eCommerce business is the best possible course of action to survive in today’s competitive retail arena.
In order to support my view, I‘d like to tell you a story-
It’s a chilly afternoon in Ohio. Macy, aged 18, needs a dress for her prom. 10 years ago, she would have no choice, but to run towards the mall and try various outfits until she gets her perfect dress.
But now the tables have turned. Today all Macy’s gonna do is to go online and try to choose the perfect dress for her prom on various Online Shopping Websites or Apps. She can explore thousands of dresses without even moving from her couch.
The bottom line is, why would Macy run to different shops to choose a dress when she can get it all in one place. It’ll both save her time and effort.
Just like Macy, eCommerce is becoming the first choice for a majority of customers. This change of interest is leading the brick and mortar retailers model towards the brink of extinction.
Here are a few reasons why now is the ideal time for offline retailers to make a move to an online shopping model.
Why move your offline business online?
Offline retailers like you should realize that slowly walls are closing in, and soon you’ll run out of the air to breathe. The traditional retail is diminishing day by day, Here are a few major reasons why –
Reason 1 – Covid-19
Well, there can be a no better motivation for offline sellers to make their move online rather than the ongoing pandemic.
COVID- 19 has shown that even when everything in the world takes a halt, eCommerce prevails. One way or the other, this pandemic has also turned out to be a golden opportunity for online sellers and retailers by providing a long-term boost.
A report from eCommmerce360 reveals that the pandemic pushes on online sales by 76.2%.
These figures from Statista shows a huge influx of customers towards online shopping in the past 9 months, I’d say that this is the knight in the shining armor for sellers to build and scale an online business.
Another reason to shift your offline business online is the customer trend.
Reason 2 – Change in customer trends –
Over the past decade, there’s been a drastic shift in the customer’s shopping pattern.
eCommerce has largely overshadowed the traditional brick and mortar shopping regime.
In research conducted by Statista, it was shown that 75% of customers shop at least a month and that’s some serious figure.
So as a seller, it becomes your responsibility to sync up.
Since your customers are evolving so must you.
Keeping up with the latest shopping trends is one of the major reasons to move your offline business online.
Reason 3 – Nothing to Lose – Very Low Start-up Costs
As a retailer, you must always remember that “The Internet Was Made for Business” And here we are not talking about business in a local area or city. Here we are talking about global coverage.
Do you know the best part is that setting an online business doesn’t cost you much?
That’s the truth!! eCommerce amplifies your selling capability multi-folds.
Maybe you are just a small retailer from St. Cloud Minnesota, but through eCommerce, you can sell to customers in San Francisco or Jakarta or anywhere else in the world.
This leads us to our next reason –
Reason 4: Offering Easier access to customers
Today, customers prefer to shop while sitting on a couch, sipping a cup of coffee rather than running to stores.
And to match the expectations of your customers, sellers must also ensure that they are on the same page.
Note: Soon eCommerce will prevail in the world of shopping, and you must make your move before losing it all for good.
Since we have covered why it is necessary to move your offline business online, now let’s move to a more important topic.
What are the benefits of online business?
You must not just move to eCommerce only out of desperation, but it’s important to see the bright side as well. Here are a few benefits of taking your offline business online:
Feasibility to operate from anywhere.
One of the biggest advantages of having an online business is the freedom to manage your business from any corner of the world.
Since all the major operations can be managed online, so you are not bound to live and work at the same place.
By switching to online selling, you can have that long-planned vacation on which you couldn’t go in years.
In simple words, eCommerce enables you to have the time by your side and focus on more pressing concerns.
Lower Cost of Operating as compared to brick & mortar stores.
Another major benefit of online selling is Reduction in Operation Costs.
Since now there’s no need to maintain the showroom or hire salesmen, or any such additional expenses, your overall expenditure will be trimmed down.
The cost of operating an online store is comparatively nada as compared to the brick and mortar store.
There are some first-time investments in setting up the store.
Remember, these are long term investments that’ll provide a lifetime of benefits.
Once you are over the hump, it’s all just a smooth sail on a calm sea.
No time Boundations –
An offline store faces a lot of boundations and time is one of the most prominent.
In an offline store, there’s a limit to which you can accept customers.
But that problem has been eliminated as online stores can be accessed by customers 24/7 365.
And that’s something that makes a huge difference.
Scalable and Easy to reach a wider audience.
Another major difficulty that offline businesses fail is expansion.
The trouble of managing multiple offline stores based in different destinations is a task similar to fighting a war with a butter knife.
But by moving your offline business online, you can get rid of any such complications and attain global selling.
eCommerce knocks down the wall restriction by allowing you to sell your products on a global scale.
Compared to a little town or a city, now your target audience will include the entire world.
That’s the real power of eCommerce.
Easy to track the performance
Maintaining balance sheets, keeping records is such a tiresome task that requires effort, time, and accuracy.
When you can get all these metrics right, even then there’s a chance of analyzing the actual performance (profit/loss).
Well, in the case of eCommerce, everything is managed on their own.
All the records are updated in real-time leaving no margin or errors thus allowing sellers the feasibility to track their monthly, weekly, daily, or yearly performance just with a few clicks
Perfect…………. isn’t it?
I hope you are now convinced how having an online business provides you with loads of benefits.
But now the question stands…….Are you ready to move my business online?
Are You Ready To Move To eCommerce?
Moving a business online is a one-time thing, so you need to think long and hard before making your move.
You have to ensure that everything is inch-perfect.
The planning and analysis need to be executed on various levels.
Here’s a checklist that’ll help.
Requirements/Checklist For Moving An Offline Business To Online
- Making Strategy for your Business
- Understanding the Customer/Target Audience
- Planning what products to sell
- Maintaining/Updating Inventory and Warehouse
- Attending the Technical Requirements such as active internet connection, mobile, etc.
You are all set now.
Now there’s one last question that you need an answer to……and the question is, how?
How can I build an online business from scratch, or how can I move my offline business online?
Well, the answers in here.
How to move your offline business online?
Here are 12 simple steps on how you can start moving your offline business online:
- Setting Up The Server – Based on the features and compatibility with your business model choose the right server for your eCommerce website.
- Buying A Suitable Domain – Build your online identity by choosing an appropriate domain name for your business.
- Buy Cloud Hosting – Choose a secure and efficient hosting based on the magnitude and need of your business.
- Downloading A Framework – Select a framework that satisfies all your business needs, preferably Magento.
- Setting Up Your Website – Build your website from scratch and shift all your products online.
- Configure POS and Payment Methods – Include multiple payment gateways based on your target audience.
- Configure Shipping Methods – Include the shipping methods for the timely fulfillment and delivery of your orders.
- Create A Mobile App with PWA – Build a dedicated mobile app for your shop that is highly responsive on all mobile devices.
- Check For License and Taxes Compliance – Take care of all the legal obligations by attending to License and tax structure.
- Add Appealing Content To The Website – Make the contents of your website lucrative that attracts visitors to turn into customers.
- Marketing & SEO Planning – Improve your visibility by allowing search engines to find your websites and products.
- Exposing Your Website To Multiple Channels – Connect your website to multiple sales channels like Amazon, eBay, Walmart to attract customers.
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That’s all the steps.
What if there was an easier way?
Yes, there is.
You can save yourself from all the trouble by getting in touch with us.
We will take the overall responsibility involved in successfully moving your business online without you doing any of the hard liftings.
The tables’ all set, the dessert has been served, all you have to do now is to enjoy.
I think I missed one last thing.
There are generally 2 faces of a coin. Since we have covered all the pros, we must also have a look at the cons.
Are There Risks Involved in moving business online?
The simple answer to this question is NO.
The reason why I say so is that the Pros outweigh the cons by a significant margin.
Some common risks involved in taking a business online:
- Online Security
- Payment Gateway failure
- Privacy issues
- And that’s all
Well, under ideal conditions, the probability of such risks is turned down to nothing.
But I’d like to suggest you to not move your business online if:
- If you’re afraid of new technology
- Don’t have the resources to manage.
I believe we’ve covered it all.
Let’s wrap up.
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Wrapping It Up:
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson
The world of retail is evolving rapidly and online shopping taken has over the brick & mortar model. This evolution has left offline retailers high and dry, and they are forced to make a move to an online selling model.
The move is inevitable.
Eventually, you’ll have to make the call.
It’s just a matter of time.
So how long are you planning to avoid?