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Branching out from physical to online retail? Here are the first things to think about

By 17 August 2020September 20th, 2021No Comments

Amid all of the unwanted interruption and uncertainty that the coronavirus pandemic has brought to businesses that operate solely from ‘high street’ brick-and-mortar premises, we can well understand you wanting to build greater resilience for your firm in this strange new world.

One of the most obvious steps in that regard would probably be launching an ecommerce presence for your brand, even if you have no plans to leave the high street just yet.

But if that’s an operation your business is undergoing or thinking of undergoing, what are the key factors that you need to consider or may be at risk of overlooking?

Brick-and-mortar and online selling are very different worlds!

Hopefully, your brand won’t be under any illusions about the size of the challenge of adding an online sales arm to its high-street offering; it’s not something you can just introduce once and then largely forget about.

Regardless, it’s well worth underlining once more, how profoundly physical and online retail differ. If you’re in a brick-and-mortar store, you can pick up a product in your hands, look at it from different angles, and feel its weight. You can also scrutinise physical details that may not be obvious from the kind of imagery you see in a manufacturer’s brochure or on the pages of an online store.

An ecommerce store, of course, can’t offer these advantages, or certainly not to the same extent. Then, there’s the fact that a physical location can serve as its own form of marketing, with potential customers perhaps constantly driving or walking past it and making a mental note to investigate it if they find themselves requiring related services in the future.

Don’t underestimate what’s involved in making the transition

Whatever your brand happens to sell – clothing, kitchen utensils, art supplies, electrical appliances or something different altogether – there are very significant differences between selling those goods online and offline.

If you’re a brick-and-mortar business selling on the web for the first time, you might therefore underestimate the sheer energy, time and money investment needed to prepare and keep track of such aspects of your online store as its product images, product descriptions and inventory.

Consider, for instance, the images that you use on your product pages. Your brick-and-mortar store obviously doesn’t need to bother with these when it can literally show the item hanging from a hook. But when it comes to online selling, you’ll need at least one photograph, and probably ideally several, in order to give the prospective purchaser a vaguely equivalent experience.

And yes, while you might be able to obtain many usable product photos from the manufacturer or distributor, and upload them to your site, even this process can be more time-consuming than you initially imagine. Picture yourself repeating this task over and over again for literally hundreds or thousands of items, and it could all quickly become overwhelming.

Similar can be said for such key processes as sourcing or devising product descriptions, managing your ecommerce store’s inventory, and marketing it through both traditional and more recent online and digital channels, the latter including the likes of Pay Per Click and video advertising.

Allow us to help you to embrace this exciting new chapter

Notwithstanding all of our advice above, entering the world of online retail as a previously predominantly ‘high street’ brand shouldn’t be something to be scared of. It does, though, necessitate the best preparation, as we would be pleased to assist you with here at Piranha Designs.

Enquire now about such services as ecommerce website design and search engine marketing provided by our team, and you can soon be in a position to get so much more out of the e-tail possibilities that the post-COVID-19 era will represent.