E-commerce Strategies for Traditional Businesses: A Simple Guide to Going Online – Part 1

  • Business Administration
  • March 12, 2024
  • 5 min read
E-commerce Strategies for Traditional Businesses A Simple Guide to Going Online - Part 1

Are you currently running a traditional “brick-and-mortar” retail business and thinking about finally jumping into the world of e-commerce? If so, this article is for you!

Making such a big change is very intimidating for many current or aspiring business owners, and rightly so. Transitioning your business from in-person to online can be tricky at first. But don’t worry—it is absolutely achievable if you put your mind to it!

Maintaining an online presence to enable e-commerce transactions really boosts your sales and brand visibility. Even more importantly, you may not be able to ignore offering e-commerce options for much longer. Even the most powerful “brick and mortar” retail brands have transitioned to “omnichannel” or hybrid sales models that take advantage of both in-person and online sales opportunities because customers are demanding flexibility with how they shop.

This two-part article will walk you through some foundational strategies to smooth your transition to e-commerce.

Building a User-Friendly Website

It may seem basic, but building a user-friendly website is a critical step in your transition to e-commerce. Think of your website as an online extension of your brick-and-mortar storefront. It should be clean, bright, welcoming, and well-organized so that it is easy to navigate and customers can find what they are looking for quickly.

Keep It Simple

Having a clean and appealing website design and aesthetic isn’t everything in business…but it’s going to be very difficult to succeed without a good website if you are working in e-commerce. 

According to a study by Adobe, “38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive.” A cluttered or disorganized website will be considered unattractive and will scare customers away. It is best to keep your design clean and straightforward. Less is more!

Mobile Optimization 

More people are shopping on their phones than ever. Statista reports that in 2021, 72.9% of all e-commerce sales were made through mobile devices. That’s a staggering number, as nearly three-quarters of all sales happening online happen on phones (and tablets)! 

It is imperative that your website looks good and works well on mobile devices. Not only is this key to conversion, but it’s also key to your organic listing on search engines. Google explicitly states on its Mobile-First Indexing page that mobile-friendly websites are more likely to rank higher in search results.

Leveraging Social Media

Social media isn’t just for silly TikToks or Reels and memes. Used appropriately, it can be a powerful tool to connect with customers and drive sales. Especially for online retail, this channel is a key driver of success.

Engage Regularly

Brands looking to sell physical products to new or existing customers online must be mindful of their social media engagement strategy. Post content should resonate with your existing and/or prospective customer base and engage them in conversation. 

A study by Sprout Social recently demonstrated that “When consumers follow a brand on social, 67% of consumers are more likely to spend more with that brand, and 78% say they will visit that brand’s physical retail store.” An effective social media strategy will bolster your online and in-person retail efforts.

Use Paid Promotions Wisely

HubSpot recently published data that shows social media has a “100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing tactics.” Taking advantage of that trend can have a HUGE impact on your sales effectiveness and provide amazing ROI on your marketing spend as an online or omnichannel retailer.

What is the best way to take advantage of this improved lead-to-close rate? Paid advertising on social platforms. Social media platforms offer incredibly specific and targeted advertising options to e-commerce brands so that you can amplify your message to your current customers or reach a specific “look-alike” audience online. 

Buffer’s State of Social report shows that businesses using social media ads are seeing significant returns on their investment, and this trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

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Part two of this article will review several other significant areas to consider while transitioning from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce or omnichannel sales. It should be published soon, so don’t forget to check back in soon!

Focusing on Customer Service

Great customer service is crucial, especially online where you don’t have face-to-face interactions.

– **Offer Multiple Support Channels:** 

Whether it’s live chat, email, or social media, make sure your customers can easily reach you. According to Salesforce, 64% of consumers expect to receive real-time assistance regardless of the customer service channel they use.

– **Personalize the Shopping Experience:** 

Use customer data to provide personalized recommendations and communications. A report by Epsilon indicates that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences. Check out their insights [here](https://www.epsilon.com).

– **Key Statistic:** 

American Express found that 7 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service.

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Wrapping It Up

Taking your traditional business online might seem like a big step, but with the right strategies, it can be a game-changer. Focus on creating a user-friendly website, leveraging social media for engagement and sales, and providing top-notch customer service. These steps aren’t just about selling online; they’re about creating an enjoyable shopping experience that will keep customers coming back. So go ahead, dive into the e-commerce world, and watch your business grow. You’ve got this!

Monica Jones
Monica Jones Dean Of Students

Born and raised in the state of Washington, Monica and her family decided to make Las Vegas, Nevada their new home in 2015. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix, Monica began…Read Full Bio