Tips for moving your shop online

Tips for moving your shop online

When the pandemic hit, the Bazaar at Apricot and Lime was forced to shut its doors. The independent market in Sarasota, Florida was popular with locals and home to almost 40 small businesses and startups. But when everything closed, there was a problem. Most of the businesses in the market didn’t have an online presence to continue selling. 

That’s when the owner Kim Livengood had the idea of creating an online presence for these small businesses. She started running a series of live streams on social media where she promoted the products and sellers in the market. Not only that, but she offered pickup, delivery and shipping to anyone who saw the videos and wanted to buy a particular product from a vendor. 

The pivot to online videos and product demos was a massive success, and helped the vendors through some tough times. The strategy was so good that it was even picked up by NBC and Good Morning America, growing the audience even more. 

And while this was a good news story in the midst of plenty of bad news, from an eCommerce point of view, it shows the value of having an online presence for your physical shop. The online presence was key to the survival of the vendors at the Bazaar, as they were able to supplement their in-person sales with online sales.

As you probably know , online retail exploded during the pandemic, and it might have been the catalyst you yourself needed to set up an online version of your physical store, or at least think of doing it. Creating an online shop might seem challenging, but it’s never been easier and more cost effective than now. Still, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind as you take the next step.

Choosing the right products

If you’ve already got a physical store, you’ve spent time working out your prices and the products you want to stock. Before setting up your online store, you need to do the same. 

Keep in mind that the popularity of the products you sell online may differ from those in your physical shop. Following social media trends and design aesthetics can help you identify which of your products may be more successful, so you put  a bigger focus on them. 

If you’re a clothing retailer, that might be a certain trainer that everyone has on social media. If you stock kitchenware, it might be a brand that matches the aesthetic people are looking for on Pinterest. Your online store is the perfect place to catch these waves and at the same time, sell to a wider audience. 

Adjusting your prices for online sales

When it comes to price, every online store has to charge for shipping. But here’s the trick; most online retailers that offer free shipping have already included it in the cost of their products. So while you can probably stick to the current pricing of your shop, don’t forget about shipping and the costs associated. If shipping costs you €4.95, your €25 product can sell for €29.95 with free shipping. 

Once you’ve decided on your products and price, it’s now time to look at where you’re going to host your shop.

Choose the right eCommerce platform

There are a tonne of really great eCommerce platforms that help you set up a shop quickly and easily - Prestashop, Shopify and WooCommerce just to name a few. And while you can also build a custom website for your shop, that can be time consuming and expensive. If you’re a small business, your best option is to set up shop on one of these platforms.

So which one do you pick? By identifying the products and price beforehand, you’ll have a better idea of what you want to get out of your eCommerce platform. Choose one that allows you to transition your physical shop to the new website and maintain the essence of your brand. Most of these platforms provide different templates, so you can choose which one best suits you and the products that you’re going to stock. 

Looking for more features? Try Plugins

While each platform will come with its own templates and functionalities, sometimes you need more. Most platforms offer a marketplace for plugins and addons which help you add extra functionality to your online store. These plugins are made by companies like Motive.co, who have in-depth experience and specialise in different areas of eCommerce

When adding a plugin, it's important to make sure it will look native on your site. This means that you should be able to do things like change the colours and add the logo of your brand. Maintaining your brand identity is important as you transition from the physical to online world. 

We expect a lot of the same shopping experiences online as we would get in a physical store. Plugins can help you upgrade the functionality of your website and be a differentiator when it comes to your competitors. 

Make sure that the platform and plug-ins you’re using give you the  functionalities you need for your online store to be a success. If you’re a fashion retailer, that might be good product images and customisations. If you’re a retailer with a big product catalogue, that might be making sure that your products are easily found with tools like Motive Commerce Search

Grow your online store now

The key to a successful eCommerce business is using the right tools. Motive Commerce Search helps you improve the findability of items in your store and increase conversions. If you see a product is trending or popular, you can boost it to the top of the search results so that customers can easily find it. Visual customisations let you decide how you want your products to be displayed and let you maintain your brand identity by using your own colours, logo and more. 

But don’t just trust our word, check out the great features of Motive Commerce Search right here.