Bringing Your E-Commerce Business Into the Real World
Much of today’s business has shifted from in-person transactions inside brick-and-mortar buildings to online sales via the world of e-commerce. That’s not to say that e-commerce has driven traditional retail out of business, but it’s become a substantial portion of the overall concept of global business. E-commerce offers many benefits and comes through where other forms of business fall short. What separates the best from the rest is the ability to leverage every medium and cover all angles.
If you’ve already got the online aspects of your business down and you’re wondering about the brick-and-mortar benefits you could be missing out on, it might be the right time to start a new chapter. A physical presence is a key to bringing in passerby traffic in a crowded location, and in-person customer service can go a long way with your clientele. The good news is that your business doesn’t have to stay online; you can break through to the real world too.
Are you ready to take what you’ve learned on the Internet and take your business into the real world? Keep reading and find out how.
Review Your Finances
Jumping through the black mirror and into the physical realm is exciting, but too many businesses end up failing because they jump the gun. Moving into the real world too soon can be risky. This is especially true if you don’t have an abundance of resources to fall back on if things don’t go according to plan.
Running a steady but modest online business is fulfilling, and you might ultimately turn your e-commerce project into a physical store. Before you can do that your online store must reach a certain level of success. Opening a physical store is not cheap, and it comes with many ongoing expenses for which you’ll need coverage. You must be ready to pay for utilities, rent, insurance, and much more for an extended period of time. Don’t open a store until you know your business can handle the financial side of things.
Up Your Promo
Aside from the overhead element of transitioning into the real world, you should have a demand for your presence. Market yourself like crazy and make sure your target demographic knows that your business will be showing up at a physical location. Don’t wait until the last minute, either; start spreading the word well in advance so it makes its way through the masses.
Your business is about to see the natural light of day for the first time ever, and that’s a big deal, so promote it accordingly. Include the news in your email blasts, post about it on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, and do some promotion in the physical area where you’ll be setting up as well. This could include anything from doing interviews at local radio stations to hanging flyers in nearby venues.
Know Your Demographic
Choosing the building your business will call home through its transition to the real world is a delicate process, and it’s one that should be made with your target demographic in mind. Your demographic’s location and habits should determine where your business is housed. Make it as easy as possible for people who are interested in your niche to find your storefront, and more sales will be made.
Learn as much as you can about your demographic: who they are, where they live, and what they like to do. Then use this information to decide where the ideal location for your business will be, as well as details like what hours to stay open.
Have a Huge Grand Opening
Since you put so much into your initial marketing push and spread the word of your coming into the real world, you don’t want to let your loyal followers down. As long as you have the resources, anticipation, and energy, you can throw a huge grand opening party to welcome people to your very first location. This presents an opportunity to give out promotional merchandise or sell limited edition items that can only be purchased at the grand opening.
Set Up a Pop Up Shop
It’s natural to have worries when you consider moving your e-commerce business into the real world; after all, what works online doesn’t always work in reality. If you want to test the waters before you dive in, you should consider organizing a pop-up shop.
A pop-up shop is a physical storefront that only exists for a limited period of time. Your brand could open a pop-up shop three days a week for two weeks, or every day for three months. The timing and schedule are entirely up to you. Since your shop is only temporary, it’ll give you a relatively low-risk opportunity to try your hand at running a physical store. It also lets you try out different strategies to see what works best.
You could use a pop-up shop as a trial run for your brick-and-mortar debut, or you could use it as part of the promo campaign leading up to your big opening. Opening a pop-up shop or two can drum up some more excitement for the real thing.
Image via Shutterstock.com
Stay Active Online
Hopefully, you did your research, planned ahead, and made your move at the right time, in which case your transition was probably a success. Now that you’ve made it into the real world, however, don’t forget your digital roots. Your e-commerce store is what got you to where you are today, and it’s probably still responsible for the bulk of your business. Keep it nurtured throughout your transition, and don’t neglect it down the road.
Stick with your email blasts, keep trucking on your scheduled social media posts, and keep your website up to date while you run your physical store. Keep trying to expand your network and spread your content to bring more people back to your brand.
Push the Limits
It was human creativity that led to modern innovations like e-commerce in the first place, and it’s human creativity that will continue to shape the way we live our lives. Today we trade goods in person and online, and businesses move back and forth from one medium to the other. The systems that we take for granted are always changing and developing, and we all have a chance to influence them.
Amazon Go is the e-commerce megabrand’s new concept of physical stores, where checkout lines are no more. The schematics for this revolutionary type of shopping came from the persisting importance of brick-and-mortar business. It’s clear that our society embraces all forms of trade, and it pays to position yourself on the frontier.
Countless businesses with real-world presences have popped up online, but we’re seeing the reverse happen as well. Physical, in-person retail offers a personal touch and a sense of customer support that can’t be effectively mimicked. By moving your online business to the real world, you show that you’re physically there for the people who support your company.
Only after you review your finances and are in a position to profit should you open up a physical location. Then you can study your demographic to choose a spot, drum up some excitement, and celebrate with your fans and followers at a grand opening. You can also use pop-up shops as stepping stones to see what works and what doesn’t. Keep up with your online presence, and don’t be afraid to try something new.