While much of the population is staying home in recent months, businesses are adapting in new ways to connect with and serve their customers.
If you own a brick-and-mortar business, you may have begun shifting online to continue to sell your products and services. While the change to virtual team meetings and eCommerce can be a big change, there are a number of steps you can take to ease the transition. Here’s how to get started bringing your brick-and-mortar business online.
Set up selling online
If you aren’t already online, you don’t need technical skills to get started — and it’s a solid move for your business. Here are a few options.
- Sell with a website:
- Sell over email: You can send email to customers with checkout links included.
- Sell on Instagram: Create shoppable posts of your products on Instagram.
Here are some tips for how to set up your online store.
Strategize fulfillment and beyond
Before the online orders come in, you need systems in place to sort and count products, manage packaging, and ship and deliver orders. You should create an omnichannel retail strategy that includes the following:
- Online inventory prep: Fulfilling online orders may change the way you manage inventory. Be sure to add omnichannel inventory management to your current inventory management practices.
- Shipping and return measures: Will you offer free shipping? How will you handle the inevitable occasional return? Have a plan in place to ensure customers have a positive experience from start to finish.
- Delivery and pickup options: If you’re a restaurant or retail business with local customers, you can add local delivery or pickup. You can also add shipping outside of your local area, if you choose to ship outside of your community.
- Staffing: Whether you’re a one-woman show or a large team, who will manage and fulfill online orders? You may also need to train staff in new fulfillment procedures.
Stay Golden, a Nashville-based bar, restaurant, and coffee shop, has adapted to its community’s needs during the COVID-19 pandemic by setting up an online ordering page with Square. The team provides “survival packs” — family-style dinners, reheatable meals, cocktails, and pantry staples from wholesale inventory like flour, butter, and toilet paper — that customers can order online and pick up curbside.
The online offerings and curbside pickup have been so widely utilized that co-owner Jamie Cunningham says they’ll continue to offer it when operations shift long-term. – Read more
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