13 Tips for Retailers Planning to Offer Online Shopping

How to prepare for online shoppers this season

(Image: ThinkStock)

Question: I run a successful storefront boutique and want to offer an option for online shopping. What are some things that I should think about before doing so?

Focus On “Easy Wins” First
“Launch your online storefront with a limited selection of popular items that you can easily ship and manage (get a shopping cart solution with a simple inventory management). Get the basic online payment-delivery-return chain in order first, then expand the features and audience (U.S. vs. global) if you so see fit. Keep the painless shopping experience the main goal, at all times.”

- Juha Liikala | Founder & Owner, Stripped Bare Media
Make Payment Quick and Easy
“Be sure that your customers can find what they’re looking for and can easily pay (via a third-party like PayPal or Google Checkout). You don’t want people leaving your online store because it’s clunky, confusing or complicated.”

- Sam Davidson | Co-founder, Batch
Consider New Costs
“A big killer with online businesses is the incredible cost of shipping products around the country. Since shipping the product will increase your costs, you have to think about how that will affect your pricing, if at all. For a consistent customer experience, pricing should remain the same, and for an exceptional customer experience, you should be ready to eat the shipping costs.”

- Danny Wong | Co-founder, Blank Label
Extend, Don’t Cannibalize
“Determine what differentiation—if any—you want to offer through your online shopping channel and stick to it diligently in your piece curation. Does your user just need easier access to all of the same pieces? Are there 5-10 things that they want to buy online (either because they are bulky or difficult to find, etc.)? You want this new channel to extend your brand, not cannibalize it. “

- Caroline Ghosn | Co-Founder and CEO, The Levo League

Stock Up on Inventory AND Information
“As an online marketing firm that helps clients do this, I can speak from experience that you must be committed to the whole process. Gather images, product descriptions, pricing, etc. before starting the process because it will make things much easier. Even if you don’t add all products at once, be sure to have enough to make the store worthwhile.”

- Therese Kuster | Owner, TargetClick Marketing Solutions
Set Up Shop on Facebook
“Not sure how much traffic you have on your site or if you use Facebook page for marketing, but running a shop on Facebook would be good start and test. Try selling online with the tools like Beetailer as they give you access to everything you need. This is a better way to test as you’d not be investing thousands of dollars in developing and promoting your own e-commerce store.”

- Devesh Dwivedi | CEO, Idea2Inception
Direct Sales or Stepping Stone?
“Most people want to jump right in and spend a ton of money developing a website to sell their products when there are much easier ways to get started online. Build your brand on Amazon, eBay, Shopify or Etsy first. Once you’ve started to see real returns from online sales then look to start your own website. Don’t forget to budget for PPC & SEO when you do start your site!”

- Roger Bryan | Managing Partner, Enfusen Digital Marketing

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