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4 Tips For Expanding Your Retail Storefront To Online

As a business owner, establishing an online store can seem intimidating. With so many stores strictly only doing online business, it can appear as though this would be a full-time job. However, with the right foundation, this is not only possible to do on your own time, but be in a position to gain more of a digital presence overall. Here’s how: 

Do An Analysis Of What’s Selling

If you’re going to be selling more online, the first thing you need to consider is what’s been popular in your storefront. Not only will this give you a good starting point to base what you should promote, but additionally can give you insights as to why people shop at your store. Your audience might vary online in regards to their purchases, which you’ll be able to study later on. However, the first thing you need to do is figure out what’s selling and why.

A significant part of running your online store will be knowing what best-selling products will be worth the advertising dollars and digital marketing. According to Preferred CFO, with 82 percent of small businesses failing due to poor cash flow, wasting money on poorly targeted advertising can be detrimental, which is why you need to be precise. Pick and choose items based on “the why,” formulating somewhat of a story or experience for the items. Remember, the reason a lot of people shop online isn’t just because of the price but the story, so make that a primary part of your marketing both in-store and online.

Create An Expansion Budget

As you might imagine, starting an online store has upstart costs. According to eCorner, the average eCommerce store cost around $2,000 to start in its first year, which then varies from there. Although that’s not astronomically high, it’s still not an expense to sneeze at. You need to be mindful of managing your money for both the storefront and online shop, which is why it’s smart to establish a budget.

Make a list of all the items you’re going to want for your online store, including if you’re after any special functionality (for example, integrating your social feeds on your main page). From there, create a list of all the costs, including everything from domain registration to the type of eCommerce hosting platform you want. Although you won’t have to pay for everything up front, it’s smart to organize your costs from highest to lowest, giving you a sense of anticipation on when you’ll need to pay for what. Tackling this head on ahead of time will take a significant burden off your shoulders, as well as is the first significant step towards establishing an all-star online store.

Start Promoting More On Social

Once your online store is up and running, getting the word out there about what you sell and why people should gravitate towards you is crucial. Although you’re most likely with some social media marketing techniques via your retail operation, producing a pipeline online is a slightly different process as the goal is to have customers go from seeing you on Instagram or Facebook and then making a purchase a few minutes later. While that might sound like a reach, it’s a pretty common practice and one you should adopt.

A primary step in social media marketing is first knowing where your audience is as well as how to approach them. For example, as noted by Sprout Social, 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded, which goes to show how much more of a welcoming place to connect with potential customers. Aside from your inbound strategies (I.E., hashtags or geotags), also think about Call-To-Actions to use, which encourages the audience to create an action, such as “swipe up to learn more” or “click the link in bio.” Overall, these items are designed to draw in not just customers, but a following and audience, so make it worth the time you put in.

Establish A Foundation In SEO

Finally, as a primary digital marketing strategy, SEO is an absolute must to implement. If you’re not familiar, this is essentially trying to rank yourself higher on search engines like Google or Bing. According to  Junto Digital, 93 percent of online experiences begin with search, which goes to show why it’s such an imperative practice. To some, it can sound like a complicated science, however, is usually much more intuitive than you might imagine.

SEO is all about using the keywords that attract customers and help them discover you. For example, if one of the top products in the store is sweatproof gloves for climbers, then “sweatproof gloves climbing” might be a smart SEO term to implement. Do some research on how you can implement an SEO strategy for your industry, as this is one of the best practices to use out of the gate.

What are you most excited about in bringing your storefront online? Comment with your answers below!