How to bring your shop online in less than a day
“the time to act is now. If you want to compete with big online retailers and have a successful (meaning profitable) shop - you're going to have to keep up with how consumers are shopping nowadays “
Here we look at a route for you to consider when the move to online sales is feeling overwhelming. This ‘how to’ is written by NearSt. Please note we don’t endorse the service as we’ve not used it ourselves, but we think that it might work well for our readers with independent bricks and mortar stores.
Today, the amount of shoppers that begin their purchase journey online is staggering. Mobile makes up 88% of all “near me” searches, with those mobile searches growing at 146%, year after year. These numbers alone should make brick & mortar businesses at least think about transitioning their products to an online space.
However, the pain points can outweigh the benefits in many cases. Maintaining a physical shop requires a lot more than just setting up camp behind the cash register. We have to think of inventory counts, maintenance, paying bills & employees, planning events and customer service - Between all those tasks… there’s not a ton of time left in the day.
Add keeping up with an online shop on top of that? It’s essentially a whole other full-time job if you’re using the traditional channels to help you, which involves normally;
Gathering and inputting (usually one by one) all of your product information. As in; high-quality photos, descriptions, pricing, inventory counts and, usually nowadays - category mapping.
Manually maintaining and updating your shop as your inventory counts change (Which for some shops, can be daily/weekly)
Planning and executing delivery orders for customers
That being said, the time to act is now. If you want to compete with big online retailers and have a successful (meaning profitable) shop - you’re going to have to keep up with how consumers are shopping nowadays.
Now is where we get to the good stuff. I’m going to walk you through how to get your shop (and all your inventory) online in less than a day!
1. Make sure shoppers can find your shop online
Google is the “go to” for searching on the internet. Local customers are searching for products and services you offer, only to be sent to a big online retailer. You can capitalize on these searches by setting up a free listing for your shop under Google My Business. It’s free and super easy to do and will help to increase your online awareness.
2. Let online shoppers find the products you’re stocking in-store
The second step after creating online awareness is to promote the products you’re stocking to online shoppers. Some people prefer to build a webshop themselves, however, those people also have the money (agencies will charge up into the 1000s!) or the time to dedicate to it. An alternative is to use the team at NearSt which will help you get an online shop in minutes using your existing in-store legacy systems.
With our NearLIVE technology, those same local customers who are searching on Google for products will be able to find your shop, they’ll also be able to;
Order for 1-hour delivery (completely taken care of by our team)
Order for instant collection (this means more footfall into your store)
And in case they decide not to buy right away online. Your new online shop shows the directions right to your door, opening times and everything, so they can pick up what they need when it fits into their lifestyle.
The benefits of getting more footfall from online searches?
More product sales.
You gain the ability to cross-sell, talk to these new customers about the services you offer, the events you host.
Omnichannel shoppers spend more. According to Mastercard, customers who shop both online and off end up spending 250% more with a specific retailer.
3. Why Social Media is important, no matter what you’re selling.
Are you one of those people that just doesn’t get how your shop would benefit from social media? Think of it as an extension of your website, use it as a way to market your business for free. Social Media is a great addition to your online efforts because;
1. People are visual. When figuring out which channel(s) best suit your shop, you have to think of attention span. People love photos and video, in fact, social posts with visuals are proven to get higher engagement.
2. People are also influenced way more by psychological and social factors than you might think. By having a social media presence you are giving your customers a way to connect with you. They want to tag your shop in the Instagram photo of their rad new bike. They want to check-in on Facebook to your cafe bookshop.
At NearSt it’s all about the High Street shops. We have our own social channels - but they are really about you guys. We love to share what makes local shops so special and why people should be supporting their High Streets!
Written by Kate - Community Manager at NearSt