Take Your Brick and Mortar Business Online

MODULE 1

CHAPTER 10

1.0 HOW TO TAKE YOUR BRICK AND MORTAR BUSINESS ONLINE

2.0 INTRODUCTION

3.0 OBJECTIVES

MAIN CONTENT

3.1 The Future is Here

3.2 Approaches to eCommerce

3.3 Using Experts

3.4 The Process

3.5 Other Considerations

3.6 Do It Yourself (DIY) Plan

4.0 CONCLUSION

5.0 SUMMARY

6.0 ASSIGNMENT

  1. INTRODUCTION

This article is about how you can take your physical business online using Experts or how you can do so all by yourself.

  1. OBJECTIVES
  • To emphasize the urgency of setting up one’s physical business on the Internet
  • To discuss ways a physical business can be set up online
  • To point out the easiest way to start as a beginner
  1. MAIN CONTENT

3.1 The Future is Here

Bill Gates once said that in the future there will be two classes of business – namely, those that are online and those that are no more existing. The current trends in business cycles are proving this to be true with every passing day.

More businesses are going online and increasing their profitability while those that cannot read this handwritings on the wall are losing customers, profits and depressed bottom-line, to them, on a very rapid rate.

Thus the next wise thing for any business owner to do is to think twice… on how to get his business online as soon as possible.

3.2 Approaches to eCommerce

There are 3 approaches to taking your current Offline Business online namely:

  • You can set up a self-hosted website and sell your merchandise using phone, web chats (as in Yahoo/Facebook chats) or payment processor, all run by yourself.
  • You may otherwise want to use other companies to sell your products globally for you – you only source and supply the goods to them e.g. FBA that I will discuss below, or
  • You may wish to enrich your merchandise by just linking your own website to so many others and also helping them to sell their goods as affiliates while also making commissions for yourself. This is possible with eBay, Amazon and most sites selling similar product in your own market niche.

For most beginners, doing this by yourself is generally out of the way because of the vast technological background knowledge that may be needed to guarantee profitability.

Even though nowadays, software is impressively bridging the gap, and levelling the ground to make ecommerce almost an all-comers affairs, yet, it may be quite a breath-taking experience to cover the learning curve. I will also talk briefly on this again later.

3.3 Using Experts

There are so many companies who are more than willing to help you set up your business on the internet.

You can check on the following websites to find out things for yourself as their requirement are different: ecwid

– very good if you want to sell on multi-channel: Vend, eBay, Facebook, Amazon, Square, Instagram, etc.

rakuten

Jet

Etsy

AMZhelp

– they can do all the technical work for you on a fee.

soldsie

nordstrom

fiverr

you can also find gigs who can do it for you here.

3.4 The Process

In case you want to start with Amazon, the program for handling this is called Fulfilment By Amazon (FBA). You may wish to check their website for full and updated details.

But as is at Amazon, so also is the case in most of the websites, you need to do the following, preparatory to approaching them for this business:

  1. Prepare a catalogue database of all your products
  2. Take and store cute multidimensional pictures of all your products
  3. List your products on their website e.g. Amazon
  4. List your product in many other marketplaces: eBay, rakuten, etsy, ecwid, jet, Newegg, Konga, Kaymu, DealDey, etc.
  5. Integrate an inventory management system – this will enable you to tract your goods across the various sites so that you do not run out of stock. STITCH LABS is a very good place to do this.
  6. Create your own hosted store. This is where you display photos of all your merchandise. Using Shopify is a very good idea.
  7. Send your inventory to Amazon FBA storehouses.
  8. Amazon usually have very strict specifications on packaging, labelling, etc. Companies like stitchlabs can help you with meeting Amazon standards.
  9. You can also search this phrase in quote for more details: ‘Labelling and Packaging Products for Amazon FBA – FBA Prep’
  10. Barcoding: do not forget that each unit of product sold at Amazon and most online sites must have a barcode.
  11. Bar code is a kind of universal product label like the one shown below that you see on every product sold in the global market:
  12. This site will help you if you check on them:
  13. Get someone to review your products on your site – this can cause your sales to shoot up.

3.5 Other Considerations

Traffic: consider using free traffic initially and paid traffic as soon as possible to bring eyeballs to your website. When using paid traffic, never forget to tract your conversions and measure profitability so that you won’t burn out your budget too fast.

Tracking inventory levels across all channels: stitch labs can do this for you at a fee.

Integrate your offline and online store: this will increase your profitability and ensure that you do not lose your customers to others as they go shopping online.

You can simply do so by hanging the address of your website over the lintel of your brick-and-mortar business.

Analyzing your virtual store performance regularly:

Check your sales, conversion, non-performing goods, etc. so that you won’t put too much of your working capital in non-performing inventories.

Do not forget to use social media, email marketing and text messages: these are very simple but highly profitable ways to market your business, use them on regularly basis.

If all these seems like too much work for you, then I will suggest you hand it all over to the geeks, any of the aforementioned companies can do a niece job for you at a fee.

3.6 Do It Yourself (DIY) Plan

Alternatively, you can still go ahead and do it all by yourself, read through this guide for full details on how to do so, search ‘profiles woothemes’.

Start from ‘About’ and learn all you need to run your website by yourself.

Though this may steepen your learning curve, but you can start there to learn the ropes.

  1. CONCLUSION

It is advisable to find ways to take your current physical business (if any) online if you want to remain profitable on a long-term. Doing so is very easy these days as highlighted in this discussion.

  1. SUMMARY

Your physical business can go online in 3 ways, those ways were the center-piece of our discussion in this ecourse.

  1. ASSIGNMENT

Go to Fiverr and post your job if you want to take your current physical business online. Gigs will respond and you start negotiation.

You can also use other websites like Rakuten, Etsy, etc., as listed above.