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How do You Move Your Brick-and-Mortar Business Online?

Henry Dumas

Unlike months passed, current conditions have a lot of you feeling the pain of decreased sales but more so if you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer. Online selling platforms such as Shopify, help retailers shift from brick-and-mortar to online, so they can weather this storm and build a more resilient business.

Below are three options which will help increase sales, depending on your particular situation:

1.      Set up “curbside pickup” for local customers:

Curbside pickup allows your local customers to buy something online and pick it up outside your store—without ever having to leave their car. This “drive-through” option not only minimizes person-to-person interactions, it’s also faster and reduces shipping costs.


2.      Offer “local delivery”

Local delivery allows customers to buy your products online and have you deliver them straight to their doorstep. An email lets them know you’re on your way, so you can drop their package at the door without any face-to-face contact. It’s safe, fast, and convenient.


3.      An Alternative to Using Online Shopping Platforms like Shopify, Amazon, E-bay, Etsy… is to make changes to your existing web site or create a new website to accommodate an e-commerce store. Below are thirteen best practices to consider which will help you increase conversions from your e-commerce store, to generate more leads and add additional sales revenue to your bottom line:


      A.     Avoid clutter

E-commerce websites with simple designs have higher conversion rates.

There should be a clear point of focus. The visitor’s eyes should be drawn straight to a CTA (Call to Action) button or products you sell.

53% of websites have CTAs that take visitors more than three seconds to locate. You should be aiming for a time much quicker than that.


      B.      Simplify your menus

Menus are a great way to stay organized and group what you’re selling - you don’t want to overcomplicate things.

Too many menu categories will confuse the consumer, preventing them from finding what they’re looking for. Your menu shouldn’t be super-specific. Instead, use broad terms to categorize your products.

     C.      Add a search bar

Let’s continue talking about simplicity.

Now that you’ve removed some clutter and simplified your menu options, you’ll still need to make additional changes. Since visitors will have fewer menu selections, they’ll see more products when they click on each category.

I know some of you may not have a ton of products for sale, but other e-commerce sites could have hundreds or potentially thousands of options to choose from.

Forcing users to scroll through these choices randomly won’t drive sales and conversions. That’s why implementing a search bar is the best solution.

     D.     Buy a premium web hosting service

Speed is one of the most important elements of a successful e-commerce website. Each page needs to load fast to yield high conversions.

Research shows a one-second delay in page loading time can lead to a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction and a 7% loss in conversions. If your site has a two or three-second delay, you’re in big trouble.

Even worse than a slow loading time is site crashes, glitches, or error reports.

     E.      Eliminate steps in your checkout process

Once a website visitor decides to buy something, they should find it easy to complete the purchase. It’s your job to make it so.

Each additional step in the checkout process will increase the chances of them abandoning the transaction. In fact, 28% of consumers said they abandoned a shopping cart during checkout because the process was too long and complicated.


     F.      Don’t force shoppers to create a profile (but encourage it)

You want your buyers to go through the checkout process as quickly as possible.

That’s why you need to offer a guest checkout option instead of forcing visitors to create a profile. That said, you can still encourage them to create a profile.


     G.     Prioritize SEO

Not everyone who wants what you’re selling will navigate straight to your website.

In fact, research shows that 46% of consumers start the buying process through a search engine, such as Google.

If your e-commerce site isn’t one of the top results, they’ll buy from one of your competitors instead. That’s why it’s so important for you to focus your efforts on search engine optimization.

     H.     Build an email subscriber list

To have a successful e-commerce site, you need to have lots of visitors ready to buy. But how are you planning on driving traffic to your site?

Building an e-commerce email list is one of your best options. Once you have a subscriber’s email address, you can contact them with special offers and promotions to entice sales.

A great way to add subscribers is to collect email addresses during the checkout process.

By default, this box is already checked off. Shoppers will have to deselect this option if they don’t want to be added to the subscriber list.

Once people are added to your list, it’s the perfect opportunity for you to send them personalized offers to drive traffic to your website and increase sales.

     I.        Write informative product descriptions

You can’t sell something with just a name. Each product on your website needs to have an informative description.

Explain how the product works by highlighting the key benefits. You don’t need to explain the entire history of the product or how it was made. That won’t drive sales.

     J.       Provide easily accessible customer service

Not all of the transactions on your e-commerce site will go smoothly.

Customers will have questions and problems. This is inevitable.

When people are experiencing an issue, such as finding a product or troubleshooting an item they have previously purchased, you want to make sure they can get help as soon as possible.

That’s why you need to have readily available customer service support through various options such as:  Phone; Email; Live Chat

     K.      Go mobile

Your e-commerce site needs to be optimized for mobile devices.

That’s because, in the last six months, 62% of people who owned a smartphone used their devices to complete online purchases.

     L.       Display high-quality product images

Having an e-commerce shop means customers don’t get to touch and feel the products the same way they can in a physical store.

They rely on pictures to give them a sense of what they’re buying.

That’s why you need to take multiple pictures from every angle of each product you’re selling. I know this may seem tedious, but it’s necessary.

Zoom in and highlight all the top features and benefits.

     M.   Feature customer reviews and testimonials

Testimonials and reviews are another way to add credibility to your products and brand.

It’s important that you include these on your e-commerce site.


Online shopping is the new normal – even before the current pandemic. Developing a strategy to sell online is essential – start with your best selling products. There are online platforms like shopify which make it cost effective to get started. There are resources available to create your own e-commerce site. In today’s environment, the ability to sell online is essential to helping your business stay viable and a going-concern.

To learn more or for customized support for your business call Moore Norman Technology Center Business & Industry Coordinator Henry Dumas at 405-801-3540.

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