Ecommerce is the future of retail, and more and more shoppers now expect even small stores to have an online presence. Whether you’re considering ecommerce as a way to expand your reach, or to better serve your existing customers, there are some basic things you should hash before getting started.
Here are 5 tips to help get your business selling online:
1. Choose Platforms to Sell On. There are many ways to sell your products online. One option is to sell inventory directly through your website by creating an online store. Another option is to sell online through a third party. Amazon and Etsy are popular choices for small businesses looking to branch out into ecommerce.
2. Consider Pricing. Rather than copy the same pricing strategy you use in-store, you should formulate an online pricing strategy that takes into account your ecommerce and shipping costs, as well as the online demand for the specific products you’ll be selling. You can update prices manually as needed, or you can use software to dynamically adjust prices based on specific market factors.
3. Ensure Accurate Inventory Management. Your store’s behind-the-scenes inventory management will become crucial when selling online. If your listed inventory is inaccurate, you may be forced to cancel customer orders, which can result in lost sales and negatively impact your reputation. Inventory management software can help alleviate this problem and ensure that you’re accurately showing what’s in and out of stock. Just be sure that whatever inventory management solution you choose integrates with your ecommerce platform or online store.
4. Ship Efficiently. Manually shipping your first order or two might not be too much work, but you’ll want an efficient way to send multiple orders each day once you’re established online. Find a shipping option that allows you to label packages at your store, and then schedule those packages for pickup. Solutions such as Stamps.com allow you to weigh, package, print labels, and schedule pickups with multiple carriers. You might also consider incorporating drop shipping into your ecommerce strategy. Drop shipping is a fulfillment method where businesses handle the sale, but have the product shipped directly from the supplier or wholesaler.
5. Invest in Marketing. If you go through the trouble of expanding your business into the world of ecommerce, it will be important to effectively market the new online portion of your business. This could be as simple as utilizing social media or email to notify your existing customer base that you’ve branched out online, or you could dedicate a specific budget toward increasing awareness of your online products through paid social media ads or search engine advertising.
If you’ve been thinking about expanding your business to include online selling, it’s important to think through these crucial steps before forging ahead. Taking the plunge into online retail can help you grow your business and reach a whole new customer base, but it takes work. If you are a small business owner in MA or RI who is looking to expand your business, don’t hesitate to reach out to our dedicated team of Business Bankers. We can help you evaluate your capital, cash flow, and borrowing power to see what it will take to turn your business growth dreams into reality, and we can help you determine which payment solutions might be a good fit for your ecommerce endeavors.