E-commerce Strategies for Traditional Businesses: A Simple Guide to Going Online – Part 2

  • Business Administration
  • March 22, 2024
  • 4 min read
E-commerce Strategies for Traditional Businesses A Simple Guide to Going Online - Part 2

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! If you didn’t read our last article, check out E-commerce Strategies for Traditional Businesses: A Simple Guide to Going Online – Part 1 for some of the foundational strategies we recommend to smooth your transition to e-commerce.

In that article, we discussed why some businesses have not yet jumped into e-commerce or omnichannel sales (hint: it can be intimidating if you do not have experience in this area!). 

We also discussed the benefits of transitioning to a model incorporating e-commerce transactions for at least some of your business…it has the potential to boost sales and brand visibility. It also is becoming a customer expectation…eventually, businesses will need to add this type of functionality simply to play defense, or they may not survive the next evolution of retail.

Finally, we discussed our first two recommendations for important strategies you must adopt to succeed in this arena. We explored the importance of a simple, user-friendly, mobile-optimized website (this seems simple and basic but is often glossed over). We also reviewed how to maximize earned and paid social media exposure to drive sales (as retail is the industry best suited to such advertisements).

This article will walk you through the remaining foundational strategies we recommend that you incorporate into your e-commerce playbook!

Focusing on Customer Service

As with the other strategies we have recommended so far, it seems simple and obvious to recommend that you focus on delivering great customer service to your e-commerce customers. But it’s hard to overstate its importance. 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. 

Because it is so obvious, it may seem silly to recommend it (it’s assumed you’ll deliver great customer service…right?). However, we mention it because many companies struggle to deliver on this promise, as it is easier said than done.

Excellent customer service is even more crucial to your business’s success once you incorporate or transition to online sales because you lack face-to-face interactions that can be used to build brand loyalty and trust. Let’s discuss how you can overcome these inherent challenges.

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Offer Multiple Support Channels

Whether it’s live chat, email, or social media (think Messenger or WhatsApp for Business), 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. If you are a sole proprietor, this can be difficult to pull off, so you must incorporate some additional auto-responder or chatbot technology to deliver the best experience possible.

Personalize the Shopping Experience

As you incorporate new technology to support your online storefront, it is essential that whatever tools you acquire use customer data to provide personalized recommendations and communications. There are many options out there and the most important factors to consider are whether it has the features you want and whether you think the interface makes sense.

That said, if you can incorporate personalization tools, it will benefit your business. A report by Epsilon indicates that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase a brand that provides personalized experiences.

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Taking your traditional business online might feel overwhelming, but it can be a game-changer and it’s often a risk worth taking. It may even become a functional requirement shortly.

When you feel stressed by the prospect of taking this on, focus on the fundamentals. Remember that the objectives are simple: create a user-friendly website, leverage social media for engagement and sales, and provide top-notch customer service. 

These steps aren’t unique to selling online. You should already have most of this infrastructure in place to support in-person sales. It’s about adapting it to support a new channel. These objectives are about creating an enjoyable shopping experience that will keep customers coming back. 

It’s time to dive in and watch your business reach new heights. 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