If you’re at home wondering when your store will finally reopen – you’re definitely not alone. However, until that day comes, there is something you can do to awaken your business from its current slumber: make the shift to ecommerce.
Taking your business online is a bold step. However, Shopify offers a 90-day free trial, so if you’re at home wishing you could get back to growing your business, you’ve got nothing to lose by trialing your store online. And with Shopify, you don’t need to be a tech genius or code monkey, or have a degree in online marketing. We’ve got plenty of handy articles which will make this an achievable and worthwhile goal to pursue for your business.
You know your niche, your customers, their needs and wants. You know the importance of display and providing top-quality customer service. So you have a lot of experience behind you that will translate into running your store online.
What products do people need right now?
Before we get into the steps to take your awesome store to the interweb, have a think of what people need right now.
Many retail stores out there are doubtful that their business can make it online – and that’s understandable, but not necessarily true. The secret is being able to know what makes your store special and keeps footfall up while having the adaptability to transfer these qualities online.
Cafes can do deliveries, bookshops can sell online, even hairdressers, in a sense. But you’ve got to think outside the box. Being a brick and mortar even before the pandemic took guts and initiative – so you’ve got it in you. When taking the leap and converting your store online, you’ve got to use what you know. What do your customers need right now?
If you're a hairdresser, you can sell products, maybe a haircare package tailored to individuals, root treatment supplies, or gift cards for when you do open again.
As for bookshops, you might think that Amazon is swooping up all of those book sales online, so it’s essential to use personality to your advantage. Create online meeting groups that you can host on Zoom, have a mystery book of the month (this could be a subscription model).
How we live is very different now, and it’s a struggle right now. Put yourself in the mindset that you’re going to help these people. For example, a lot of people are getting back into their hobbies or trying new ones. Maybe you’re the one to get them excited about a new project and supply the equipment. Really, all you need to think of here is how to adapt your current services and products into beneficial must-buys for your audience.
Every business can make it online, combine good ideas with some know-how. And Shopify is a great platform to use, because it’s suitable for beginners but scales all the way up to the giant global brands.
So here are the basics to setting up your Shopify store:
1. Set up your Shopify store
The first step is the easiest – sign up. Like everything, it’s easy to get inspiration, but to succeed, you’ve got to keep checking off that to-do list. Every stage is doable, but it’s common for business owners to begin doubting whether or not they can make it online. Just keep checking off the to-do list, keep refining, and you will get there. If your business works to get people in off the streets and ringing your cash register, chances are it’s a viable business. People want what you provide,and now you have the opportunity of reaching a much larger audience.
2. Customize your Shopify theme
Shopify is set up to walk you through each step of the design process. You can choose a template and make adjustments to get a look and feel that matches your brand. So our advice is to head to your theme editor and choose one, then you can add your own touch using the drag-n-drop feature. You’ll be surprised by what you can achieve in just a few hours over your morning coffee!
3. Set up your logistics: payments and delivery options
First off, delivery. How are you going to deliver your goods?
I think this might be one of the processes that could hold a physical store from taking the digital leap. A courier strategy may seem daunting, but Shopify makes it simple to get your parcels from A to B. Shopify Shipping works directly with many carriers which streamlines the process for you. Our Shopify Shipping article gets down into the nitty-gritty, but in a nutshell, shipping requires you to: PRINT, STICK, SHIP and SAVE.
Next, payments. You’ll need to think about how you want to receive money from your sales. Shopify Payments is great on your pocket as it’s cheaper than pretty much any third-party gateway. Our guide on using Shopify Payments will have you set up in no time!
4. Create Gift cards
As part of its mission to help businesses get through this pandemic, Shopify is giving the gift card functionality to all businesses regardless of their plan.
Customers are going to find it extra challenging right now to find the perfect gift for family and friends. Birthdays don’t stop for anything! Gift cards make it easy for them and provide a revenue boost for you. Win-win! If you stay out of the online world until this blows over, you might be missing a real chance to grow your business!
5. Get the word out
You may already have a social media presence – if not, now is a great time to start. You can set up a launch campaign and build some excitement over the opening of your online store. Be sure especially to inform your loyal customers and ask them to spread the word! Being genuine and showing the people behind your brand, and exposing the bold step your making amongst all the uncertainty is great. It’s something to be celebrated, and this will warm people to your brand.
Offering Curbside Pickups
Katie Cerar does a stand-out job of helping physical stores to find their online mojo during the pandemic:
One really important store setup this queen talks about are curbside pick-ups. You can set up your online Shopify store and once a customer orders and pays for a product, your business can get it ready. All that’s needed then is to send an email letting them know their order is ready, ask them to open the boot of their car, pop in the goods, and wave them goodbye (from a safe distance). Everyone wins!
If you need help to make this work not only as a temporary solution but as a new and lasting revenue stream for your brand, you can get in touch with the Elkfox experts here.