As we’re currently in the thick of the Coronavirus pandemic, if you’re not a “life-sustaining” business, you’re trying to figure out how to do business when people aren’t supposed to leave their house. One of the answers, of course, is an online store.
If you have one already, this post might help you enhance your store.
If not, here are five reasons why you should:
Reason 1: No One’s Coming INTO Your Store
If your business model was that folks wander into your store, marvel at your displays, meet and talk to your awesome staff, make a purchase, and leave the store, chances are that’s not happening right now. Yes, the walk-in aspect of your STORE is closed but there are other ways that people can shop your store. Maybe you’re taking phone orders right now (and that’s great) but by selling products online also, you’re giving a customer another opportunity to shop your store at their leisure. They can shop at whatever time is best for them, look at different products, and get a feel for whether you’re a company that they want to do business with. It’s work smarter, not harder.
Reason 2: Your Customers Are Already Shopping Online
An argument that we hear from business owners is that they don’t believe that their customers shop online or would even buy from them that way. Whether you shop online or not, most of your customers already are. Why not let them make the decision for you. If they are comfortable buying online, they will. If not, they’ll call you. Either way, they now have that option.
Reason 3: You Can Sell Your Services as Products
Products can be anything. Obviously, if you sell grills, then it makes sense to list grills as products on your online store. But what about your grill cleaning service? Or how about pellet stove cleaning, six-month salt delivery, or annual heater maintenance? A service is just a product that you provide. You can set them up as products on your store, let people purchase them, and then you can set up the time and place for that service offline.
Reason 4: Better Search Results with Google
Google wants to help you! The same Google bots that rank your website pages also actively look for products (with prices) to list on Google search pages. For example, if I look up “Green Mountain Grill,” any website that has Green Mountain Grills products listed on an online store with a price, Google will pull that and list it on my search page. Even better, they are listed before maps and web results. Local customers will see that you sell the products that they like and are nearby.
Note: currently, we have customers that are using an online store as a catalog with products but no prices. While this is great for website search, those products will not list in the shopping area because they do not have prices. Contact us to learn how we can make these products available for purchase.
Reason 5: If You Have a WordPress Website, You’re Three Steps Away From Selling Online
WordPress has an eCommerce platform called WooCommerce. Once installed (Step 1), products need to be built and shipping set up (Step 2). Then a payment gateway like Stripe needs to be connected (Step 3) so money can exchange hands. I would highly recommend working with a developer who knows their way around WooCommerce because it can be confusing upon first use.
If you don’t have a WordPress website, talk to your developer about eCommerce platforms that you could use in conjunction with your website. Worst case scenario, you could always use Amazon.
XYB (Examine Your Business)
At the end of the day, I’m sure that you are doing your best to keep your business afloat and the idea of examining your business model seems like the last thing that you want to tackle. But as business owners, you must pivot when you hit a wall or you’ll just keep smashing into it. This current pandemic is a wall and the businesses who survive are the ones who see this as an opportunity to pivot and embrace something that seemed scary yesterday. When customers can come back to your store again, your business will now have more opportunities to reach them.