Brick and Mortar to E-commerce

May 25, 2020

3 – 4 minute read:

So you’re planning on bringing your retail business online? You are just like many other businesses in this uncertain time of COVID-19. There’s probably a mix of both excitement and trepidation on this new venture. There are absolutely going to growing pains, but there’s also huge potential for what you’re going to be doing. In order to succeed, you will need to treat your online presence in some ways similar to how you would treat the opening of a new location, but also different in that it’s in a whole new environment.

Focus on understanding the basics first. Think about how the flow of your product is going to work from the first engagement of the customer until that customer makes a second purchase. What is your marketing approach going to be? There’s so much more to understand with digital marketing and we will be covering this more in depth. However, even once you start with your initiatives to drive traffic to your online store, it’s incredibly important to understand what your KPIs are and the metrics that you will be using to track them.

So, you’re now driving traffic to your store, but how do you push them through your sales funnel to make the purchase? What are they buying in the first place? The product mix that you select will be important when you’re starting off. There is going to be an urge to jump right into the deep end and merchandise every product that you have available, but that would not be the most effective use of your time right now. You’re going to be making mistakes and if you’re tracking your KPIs properly, you’ll be able to see those and learn from them quickly.

In the initial launch of your store, stick to first selling these items:

  • Best selling items (think top 20% that drive your business)
  • Attachment sales of those best selling items (things people often buy together with your best sellers)
  • New/increasing demand items (new product lines or ones that have been growing)
  • Items that drive repeat purchases (things that your customers always come back for)

The idea with focusing on the above will be that you’re going to be able to learn from this information about what your store is going to be successful doing in the future. Maybe the items that drove your brick and mortar business aren’t going to be the ones that drive sales online or maybe they will. If those best sellers aren’t performing as well, you will also want to see how other segments might be penetrated. You’ll be able to see opportunities to drive additional sales or repeat customers through attachment sales or repeated purchase items.

Once you’ve sold your items, you should also ensure that you consistently understand as much information about your customers as you can. See what they’re buying together, how often they’re purchasing and when they’re visiting your store. Once you’ve done that and used that information, you can continue to sculpt your online presence through new marketing tactics and expanding your product lines. It is important that you constantly adjust to meet the needs of your customers, but those adjustments need to be made with the right data behind them.

Summary:

  • Limit your SKUs
    • Don’t want to be managing too many items of inventory at once
    • The temptation will be there
    • Think about best selling items and cross selling items
    • Maximize your basket size
  • Merchandise like you merchandise your store, photos, pricing, focusing on top sales, complementary sales, new products
  • Track your top customers
    • They will be driving the majority of your sales
  • Understand marketing approach
    • How will you get your store out there?
    • How will you continue to service your loyal customers that haven’t purchased online before?

External Resources:

https://www.volusion.com/blog/how-to-make-the-transition-from-brick-and-mortar-to-ecommerce/
https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/brick-and-mortar/#lay-the-groundwork-with-some-pre-launch-preparation
https://www.bdc.ca/en/articles-tools/marketing-sales-export/sales/pages/how-combine-bricks-and-mortar-store-with-e-commerce.aspx
https://www.vendhq.com/blog/brick-and-mortar-vs-ecommerce/
https://www.shopkeep.com/blog/transition-from-brick-and-mortar-to-an-online-ecommerce-store#step-1