A website is no longer merely an advertisement for your store. Now, websites have become the store. Some businesses have been slow to adapt to this modern reality. They use their website so that potential customers can see their merchandise, contact the store and get information, but they don’t actually have a merchant account established.
Which really is a shame, as it’s never been easier to learn how to create an online store, even for the non-technical. If you have a brick-and-mortar store and you have a website, you should probably have a merchant account. Here are seven signs your website needs a store.
To Make the Most of Your Email Marketing
When you use email marketing campaigns, like MailChimp, you are attempting to keep your customers and potential customers in the loop. But if you aren’t selling online, you’re simply giving your customers the idea to buy the product- whether that’s from your or not.
For example, you send out an email blast telling your subscribers about a great new product you sell, but because they can’t buy it immediately through your ecommerce website and they don’t want to drive, they buy it at your competitors online store. You don’t want this, especially when creating an online store that can handle payments, set up delivery and returns has become so easy.
To Reach New Prospective Customers Through Search Engines
Search engines have become essential in today’s shopping experience. Therefore, it is important that search engines consider your site valuable. Search engines value relevance. If you have an online store that sells a particular item, when that item is queried, your store is more relevant than a blog post about that item. This helps your site get found and gain valuable authority within the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) world. This is actually very important in today’s world, where customers often “Google” the item they are looking for instead of responding to television ads or looking things up in the Yellow Pages. If you are more relevant in searches, you are more likely to be chosen by those searching for your services.
To Increase Visibility of Store Promotions
When you want to promote a sale or a discount you want people to see those promotions. Having an ecommerce store allows you to put items for sale immediately for customers to see and gives you a platform to promote those sales online. Letting people know that you have a sale and giving the link to your store is much more effective than directing them to your physical location. It is also easy to create advertisements on your website for various items that you are trying to promote. This can be through a banner or a popup or product placement.
To Allow Prospective Customers To Shop Where, How, And When They Want
We live in a 24/7 world, where people expect everything on-demand. By having an ecommerce store, your customers can shop at their convenience, accommodating night owls and busy schedules. Besides this being a wider ranging availability, by having an ecommerce store, you can provide around the clock service without having to staff your store around the clock, which becomes expensive and wasteful. This also allows people to do homework on the products they are interested in without feeling pressured. The customer has a better experience, which reflects on your business.
To Expand in to New Territories
Perhaps one of the most exciting reasons to start an online store is to take your store from the local economy- to the global economy. This is especially true for niche products and services that may actually do better online than in a traditional storefront.
However, it’s important to note that a major challenge to operating a business in a global marketplace comes from shipping overseas and dealing with a variety of currencies. Online stores easily access the data you need in order to receive payments (even in other currencies), collect taxes (even VATs – Value Added Taxes, which are common in sales to other countries), establish delivery locations and curate your data when it comes time to file taxes. Every transaction is documented automatically, including returns, which makes taxes easier to manage, even in a high volume business.
To Automate Customer Contact
Notice how when you shop online, the websites want you to “log in”. This is not just the sites being nosy. It is a valuable way to maintain customer contact in a digital world where we rarely deal with our customers face to face. Customer information can easily be collected so that you can keep your customers informed of sales and promotions. Keeping continuous contact with your clientele is a great way to maintain loyalty and get the pulse on customer needs. A better informed business is more responsive and therefore more competitive in their marketplace.
To Standardize Operations
Having an ecommerce store allows you to keep your operations standardized so that you don’t have to worry if your employees will remember certain details. It is standardized and automatic. You can rest at ease know things will be done right every time and when change is necessary, changing the operations can also be done digitally. This lowers the burdens of training and the worry of human error.
The most important reason your website needs an online store is if you have a website and want to sell something. The days of building a brick and mortar building to house and sell your wares has changed significantly. You can reach a broader audience, satisfy shoppers around the clock and engage the world with an online store. The question really becomes, why wouldn’t you want an online store?