How to take your brick and mortar online

April 27, 2020

Show Notes

  1. Find a platform like Shopify that will allow you to create a site that already has eCommerce capabilities. Wordpress/WooCommerce and BigCommerce are both other options you can use, but we are a little biased without seamless Shopify works.

  2. Determine the products you want to sell online and how you will track in-store merchandise vs online. Our suggestion is to get a POS system that will track both, which Shopify does offer. This will help you in situations where someone tries to buy online, makes the purchase, and then you don’t pull the merchandise before someone else picks it up in store.

  3. Focus on a niche market, you have the whole world you can target and market to online, but you should still focus on your audience. If your demographic is an older demographic, make sure the site has a similar feel that they would enjoy. Honestly, try to copy as much of your in-store experience as you can. 

  1. Prep your customers for your launch. If you have an email list, Facebook followers, etc. Keep them posted on your progres as you make the transition and educate them along the way. You want them to be primed and ready to buy when you go live, this will give you that initial first spark of selling online.

  2. Don’t expect to have success overnight, just like it probably took you years to create a loyal following, there are millions of websites like yours (more than likely) and you have to earn their trust and purchases. Focus on the experience online.

  3. Online is a pay to play space, but one you figure out the right game, the chances for growth are limitless. Don’t be afraid to invest in SEO, social media advertising, or affiliate marketing. 


Aaron [00:00:00] Business owners, if you're trying to take your brick and mortar business online, this is the perfect podcast for you. We're going to talk about what kind of platform you need to have to make this happen, whether you should be doing online advertising SEO, how to find your market and how to create the same exact process and systems that you would have in store that you can't do online as well. So we're going to talk about all that and more. If you're super interested in taking on brick and mortar business online, then take a listen. 

[00:00:29] This is the marketing natives providing actionable ways to improve and succeed in your business. 

Christian [00:00:37] And now your host, Christian, Aaron. So I think the number one thing that you need to figure out is your platform, right? 

Christian [00:00:49] You want to use choosing a e-commerce platform. It's a means based on your preference. Obviously, we work a lot with Shopify, does definitely our bread and butter when it comes to e-commerce. 

Christian [00:01:05] Although Webflow, which is our other platform that we use to build websites, also has some good capabilities in there that they just added last year and they're improving every single month. But besides those two, obviously the combination of work, WordPress, press and commerce is very, very popular. As was something like big commerce, among others. I mean, there's a plethora of options for your e-commerce store. These are probably some of the biggest players out there. And probably one of the ones that you should be looking at in terms of, you know, pricing features, how common they are, how popular, and then the amount of people in the community, they're helping each other and educational material. You'll definitely be able to do whatever you want with those platforms. 

Aaron [00:02:00] I think there's a good point, too, is that there may be a cheaper alternative out there. There's like Wicky or Equity or something like that. I don't know. I can remember exactly. But the point is that like something like a web commerce or like E Commerce or Shopify, there they have communities of people who have ran into the same problems and they're there helping each other. So it's like you may save $10 a month ago with somebody else, but at the end of day, you're going to spend like hours trying to figure out a problem that nobody else has ran into before. So that is I think that's a good point within sight of point one, which is a platform is going to work for you. But also think about ones that have people have already tested out for you. There's no reason to recreate the will on that. 

Christian [00:02:41] So, yeah, I do want to touch with choosing your platform. You know, once you choose your platform, if if you're wanting to or you're doing this by yourself, then, you know, when you choose your platform, you're also picking some sort of theme to build your store upon. And I don't think we'd necessarily talk or have any points for that. So I just want to throw this in here now. And so something to consider will be a theme. And then after that, it's like figuring out your payment processing where, you know, a lot of people are using stripe. And I think that's definitely something that we probably recommend. As far as your payment processing stripe or I mean, if you're using Shopify, then Shopify has their own Shopify payments, which is also highly recommended. But those are, I guess, some things to consider when you're using your platform, then you're probably picking a theme within that platform so you can build your store. And then one of the next big important parts or aspects is you're your merchant processing, right? So how are you going to set payments? So you have to incorporate that into that platform as well. 

Aaron [00:03:50] Right. And there's as I say. Yeah, which brings up to number two, which is figuring out a way that you can sell your products in the store and online. There are plenty of options for you to do a P.O.S. system, I feel like. I don't know. 

Aaron [00:04:06] Um, I guess I see three or four different people per week who have different companies. And I've never heard of or didn't hear it before. But you've heard of like swiping it maybe clover or square. So there's the PayPal has something to do. There's a ton of them out there. But what you should look at is, does that processor that does it connect with your online store, too? Because the last thing that you want to do, if you have a decent amount of inventory is like track if somebody buy something in store. Oh, ding, I got to hurry up and remove that online, because if so, if somebody shops in the middle of the night and they purchase it now, I don't have that product. I can't sell it. So it becomes a problem. It depending on what kind of products you're selling if you don't have really good inventory management. So we almost suggest that you find a P.O.S. system that's going to incorporate or integrate rather into the exact same platform that you're going to use online as offline. The only one that I'm familiar with and that's just because we've you Shopify a lot more is that they're P.O.S. system is like free and it does track them into it for online and for your in-store. I'm sure that there are there are others out there, but I'm not aware of those men. Christian knows. But that's I think that's just an added feature, because one of the things that was an issue, it's one of our clients was that they were like, hey, we got a barcode, everything. And we have to have like these like two separate rooms before she got the P.O.S. from Shopify. And she like, this is my online store and this is my in-store options. And then she's like, do I just not tell the people in store that I have these options on that I had these options when they want to sell it, like, do I lose a sale because I put things in two different rooms versus the same inventory management. 

Aaron [00:05:48] So that's a big phase You need to figure out how you're going to track those purchases and your in your. The process for that. 

Christian [00:05:57] Right. And I think that's why Shopify, it's such a such a good platform, because you can integrate both of those. You can integrate the P.O.S. and you can integrate your your online as well as, you know, you have your online, which I'm seeing online, referring to the Web site. But within the online, you can also have inventory on Facebook, on Instagram and sell on other platforms as well right inside of Shopify. So I think that's why Shopify is so powerful, is because you have the central location where you have all your products in there and then sort of distribute them to these channels. Right. So you have your P.O.S. channel, you have your online store channel, you have your Facebook channel, and you're just able to sort of distribute your products in that sense. 

Christian [00:06:39] And that's something that also you need to determine is do you want to offer your whole catalog online or vise versa or on your on your brick and mortar store. Those are all decisions that you will have to make. And also on top of that, something that you may not have to worry about when you have your brick and mortar store. But it's categorizing your products. Right. And how how your your your your customers actually shop. So let's say that your customers, they actually are always looking for brands. Right. They go in the store and they're always asking for. 

Christian [00:07:15] I need I need your your Miss Meade jeans or whatever. Okay. Miss Mi's are in this section over here at the store. So that means that more than likely they're probably going to shop somewhat similar to how they shop in your store. So you might want to categorize Miss Mi's as a category. So that means that on your navigation and your storage should have brands, right. And then the drop down a value rent. So your audience can find those items a lot easier. 

Aaron [00:07:41] Yeah. Because if you think about it like like Christian saying is, you technically categorize your stuff in the store. It's just like layout and design versus like on a Web site. And we'll talk about this a little bit later. But how to get that experience online as you do offline, because it is it's definitely something to navigate. But that is something I think very important to realize is that you need to try to match as much as possible how people are going to shop. So, you know, stealing ideas from bigger retailers like H&M or Macy's or somebody, maybe a pretty good idea, too. 

Aaron [00:08:15] Mm hmm. All right. Number three, focus on your market. 

Aaron [00:08:19] So if, for example, people get really big eyes when you tell them that they can market to the whole world or like literally, let's just say everybody in the US or something. When they're normally going to market to like a five mile radius and you tell them that they consider their product everywhere, they kind of get their eyes really big night. I just want the market to like my demographic is like all women and it's like, no, you really can't do that. 

Aaron [00:08:45] So if you know what's selling in store is doing really well, you should probably focus on that audience online, too. It means that you do have a bigger audience. 

Aaron [00:08:53] So let's just say we have instead of ten thousand, maybe you have millions, but it doesn't mean that you just don't go from tens of thousands to literally half the population of the US, which is women. It doesn't work that way. So you should really focus on, hey, older women love my product or younger moms love my product, whatever it is like. You should still have that feel and that vibe to sell to those people online too, because it's a crowded space on mine just as much as it is in retail. So that's, I think, a common misconception. 

Christian [00:09:27] Yeah, absolutely. I can definitely see her, you know, people think, oh, I have the Internet and the Internet. Each opens these doors, you know, to do everything, anything. And that's probably the opposite strategy that one wouldn't definitely telling me to do. Which you will do better off by concentrating on this niche market then in the long run. And when you start advertising, it's going to help you tremendously with your messaging. Right. You can have a more concise, more precise message up to a very niche audience instead of just trying to, you know. What is the phrase throw darts at of? I don't know what the phrase means anyways, but doesn't want to be targeted in what you have to offer. Obviously, when you're building, you know, the website structuring things that will also help you write knowing that you're catering to this particular audience. It will make things just a lot easier. 

Aaron [00:10:28] Yeah, I think to your point. Since you do get opened up more, it's like the people who are diehard with your type of product, like people that say, for example, people love coffee mugs. If you had a website that was specifically for coffee mugs, then that community of people. There's probably no one hundred thousand people in the US who are like die hard coffee mug lovers and they'll just buy whatever. So those people that it's like, would you rather have one hundred thousand people who will buy every product you ever put out or target to a million people who are going to maybe buy? Never. So it's like have that really active group of people is almost ten times better than I don't know. I'm just trying to go to everybody. So I'm certainly knees down. 

Christian [00:11:21] All right, so this is the part where we talk a little bit about us, and really what I want to talk to you about is our Web site calculator. If everything that we're saying in this episode makes sense to you and it's something that you want to accomplish even in the next a month, that's something that we can help you with. Now, if you're wondering, I don't know if I can afford to have someone build and structure and deal with all this, then we've created a simple Web site called Calculator. All you have to do is input some information about your business and what you plan to sell in your store. And we'll spit out it'll spit out a number and we'll give you a ballpark number of how much it will cost us to create that website for you. This Web site calculator takes into account a lot of different factors. It has about 14 questions, I believe. And it does again, it gives you a ballpark numbers. You can kind of get started at least with how much something like this would cost. I know in this episode we're kind of talking about some sort of top level things is not very you know, you need to go to this Web site and sign up for this. So obviously, there is a lot more steps to, you know, taking your brick and mortar online. And we can definitely help you from A to Z during this process. All you had to do is have calculator dot bitbranding dot co and fill out the questionnaire and their heads against about 14 questions. It will spit out a number and they will follow up with you to see if you want to follow through and work with us. 

Aaron [00:12:49] Awesome. And we're back. And just so you know. Christian also added this on our website. So that was hard for you to go to. Just go to bitbranding dot co and under our resources tab, we have it there as well. So super other convenient way for you to go and find it. Yeah, I forgot to put that in there. OK. So number four is to prep your customers before your launch and for your launch. You should have already. If not, I mean it. Depending on how long you've been a brick and mortar business, maybe your launch and at the same time as your online business. So this wouldn't necessarily apply to you. But let's say you've been busy for at least six months before you decided, hey, I need to sell online. You should have some kind of Facebook followers. You should have some kind of email list. And if not, this is hopefully your waking wakeup call to go and do that. But just keep him updated like like, hey, you love coming into our store, but it's raining outside and you don't want to come out. Don't worry. You can shop out, shop online. And this is coming soon. Or hey, you're in another town or another state. And you know, you can't get into the store and you really want to pick up these jeans. Well, great. You can reserve them online. You can purchase online. So just getting your customers used to the ability for them to have the same great experience online if they want to. You don't have to tell them, hey, don't come into the store. And that's not the point. It's just giving them more options and just letting them know. So that way, when you launch, you have a much better chance of like, hey, let's get some sales, that kind of. I think those first three or four sales are so important because it just kind of helps boost your morale. Like I got this Web site and now I've got actual sales. So you've got momentum going forward. And that's really what it's for. It's not really to make a bunch of money. It's just to help you get that that momentum to tell you that you can do it, which you can. I'm telling you that right now, I just go out there and kind of prime your audience to have them ready to purchase some things online for you and just kind of support you. 

Christian [00:14:36] And I think with that as well, I want to add in another tidbit. When you're looking into building something like this and Aaron mentioned some of these things about, you know, purchasing may be coming in and picking up in-store. These are all things that you can set up through Shopify. And as far as like they're shipping. Right. So when you're thinking about building this, another big thing to consider is, you know, shipping and looking at different ways that you can do that, where right now a lot of people are doing curbside or pickup. Again, that's something that you can do within Shopify very easily. And it's free to them. And it just thinking about those options ahead of time will also help you with this whole process. So thinking about ways, how do you do shipping? And it could be that you already have some sort of shipping partner like FedEx or u._p._s or whatever you calculate it rates. These are all things that you can connect to with Shopify as well. 

Aaron [00:15:36] Yeah, another good option for you is ship stations. Not really related to this, but ship station shops like all of them, like U.P.S., FedEx, everything, USPS and we'll give you the best freight for us ownership stations. Pretty cool. Not an ad. Maybe they should sponsor. But it is free. Free advice there. Number Cinco. Don't expect to have success overnight. So I know a number for I said private customers to get sales. But if that doesn't happen, do not worry. This is not like a. I feel like if you started a retail location, you'd been in business for a few years. You probably realize that it takes time to build a customer base. It takes time to build loyalty. The same thing happens online. There's millions upon millions, if not billions of Web sites that are out there and probably millions of Web sites offer something similar that you do. So don't expect that people are just going to leave the brand that they love and have loyalty to and then just go shop at your. So it's not going to happen overnight. You know, you may get lucky and it may happen overnight. If you have an amazing product, an amazing offering, and you get in front of the right people, but more likely it will not happen that way. So just continue to work at it and realize that it's a long game and not just give up on us making the switch. Because I'll tell you right now, sometimes it takes longer than you expect to switch, then replace your boutique or replace your retail location. Revenue from in-store to online. You like how I've got to this point you like? Yes. But eventually online shouldn't be able to if I do believe that it could surpass what you're doing in a retail location. It's just gonna take time. You got to put in that effort to do it. 

Christian [00:17:12] Yeah. So and I think the I would say my number one tip for trying to create as much success overnight would be to mimic what the big store retailers are doing and even Amazon, because people have been not brainwashed but educated into a free shipping, into free returns, into knowing your packing tracking number. 

Christian [00:17:42] So all these little things that you kind of take for granted from the big stores and Amazon are little things that you should also incorporate within your store because it will make the user experience and your customer experience just that much better. Right. They're going to look professional, too. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. They're gonna look at you like, okay. You know exactly what you're doing. You actually have all these details. You know, pack down. And I know where my my package is. I know the communication is there. And I think that's key in order to do that. I feel like a lot of stores early on, maybe they don't have the money to spend on, you know, adding these things. But I think in the long run, especially starting out, it helps you stand out from from everyone else. And smaller stores who may not have the infrastructure or the knowledge of doing something like that. 

Christian [00:18:35] But I think mimicking the bigger stores and some of the things that they're doing and stuff like going to help you bring in more success or more rapidly. 

Aaron [00:18:42] Yeah, absolutely. You got to adapt to the people who have already been accustomed to the way they shop online. You try to make them do something different. It's like that friction. And they're like, oh, I don't like this. 

Christian [00:18:53] So I just distribute like even the tracking number. That's something that we take for granted. But a lot of, you know. Smaller shops online. They don't offer that right. They don't offer it for you to track your package and all that stuff. So just adding something so simple as that can make a big, big change. 

Aaron [00:19:15] Yeah. And I enjoy tracking my packages from Amazon, so getting everybody loves it. Like when you order something, you're excited about it right then and then it used to be until you saw it. You are like you received it. Then you thought about it again. Oh, yeah, I got that. But now brands have an opportunity to, like, keep people excited the whole way. So like, there's maybe a little bit more advanced, maybe probably something done. Michelle, I mentioned. But if you could add something cool or unique to the experience, it would be better. I think Peter had done stuff like that or like dominoes where like it's on the way. So like you can see like a little car and like, hey, your food is hot and ready and it's coming in. It's like a little play car and you're like, OK, it's so close. Like, it's out my corner. Like Uber does stuff like that. So it's like the car's almost delivered to you into the kind of game if I did a little bit. And that to me is like next level kind of stuff, maybe not something you need to do now. But like if you know that you only saw. Want to go back to the coffee mugs. 

Aaron [00:20:11] It's like you like with a smiling face, like you're this close to drinking really good coffee out of your mug, like, you know, or one day away or something like that. 

Aaron [00:20:21] So I didn't know that you could find some unique ways to kind of keep that experience going. There's probably a little advanced, but I think that, you know, long term that would be something cool to have free to to add to the product. So it's something to think about. 

Christian [00:20:36] All right, and then the last item we have here is online. It's a pay to play space, just like Aaron said, you know, having success overnight. It's really hard. Obviously, there are things that you can implement to help you with that. But in order to truly grow, you have to have some sort of marketing strategy in place, whether that's SEO, social media advertising, affiliate marketing. You need to have something to help fuel that fire or start that fire. Right. So just be prepared to spend some money on on marketing online. 

Aaron [00:21:14] And it's you know, right now anyway, it's really, really inexpensive for you to run like Facebook or Instagram ads. But another option is for you, like your clothing store. Like look at influencers, located affiliates. If you are, let's just say, I don't know. Not a retail. Again, you go to the coffee mug or whatever, if somebody is looking for like tea or coffee mugs or something like that. You should probably focus on SEO if you could be the top of Google or on the first page. That's a bunch of free traffic that you'll get. I mean, afterwards you got to pay for SEO if you don't do it yourself. But then once you've done it, you put in that work, then it lasts forever. Warren tells me he knocks you off. So it's like a long term strategy there. But I just tell you that just setting up the website and then just thinking that it's gonna just generate traffic over time, it will, but not of the magnitude or the level that you would. Now if you built a Web site early 2000 and you'd put on there like, you know, I sell mugs or I sell tea. You probably could have ranked and you probably would've got a lot of business because there's not as much. But now there's more competition. So you've got to focus on a way to to drive customers to to your spot. 

Aaron [00:22:26] So don't say don't don't overthink it, but also make sure that this is part of your strategy. And these are these tips here, these six things. These are what should be going on. Like you shouldn't just do them in order. We didn't put them necessarily. Like there are some of them that have to happen first, like picking your platform, but they're not necessarily in specific order saying wait till you get to step one to get deceptiveness apps three. It's more of like use the six of them to kind of mold your strategy to help take your brick and mortar business online. All right. 

Aaron [00:23:00] Thank you guys so much for listening to this. If you are a brick and mortar business and you're like, how the heck do I get this to go online? Please go over to bitbranding dot co, shoot us an email. Do you want to start a new project will at least give you some more information about it. And if you're super serious and you'd like a 45 minute strategy session about how to take this online, it's completely free. Go to apply dot bitbranding dot co. You'll fill you'll pick a time that works for you and then fill out a questionnaire that just answers some few things to help us learn more about your business. And then we'll sit down with you. And we'll or virtually more than likely do something like maybe zoom. And we will cover how to take the right steps to set up the strategy. You need to make sure that your business is able to make a smooth transition from brick and mortar to online. So if you've been listening or rather if this has been your first time listening, make sure you hit that subscribe button. We put out new episodes every single week. 

Aaron [00:23:54] And if you are a longtime listener and you're like, hey, ding, I have a brick and mortar location or I have a business that could really benefit from this episode and I got a lot of value out of this. Please go over to Apple podcasts and leave us an honest rating and review. It helps us grow. Apple to Apple podcast, loved it, reaches more people and helps us create better podcast episodes for you guys. So make sure you go over there and leave us the honest rating and review and we'll talk to you guys next week. 

[00:24:23] The marketing native's podcast is a production of BitBranding. 

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