How To Move Your Brick-and-Mortar Store Online

While many business operations begin an online store from scratch — as in they have no physical store presence — we’re going to look at some strategies to help already existing stores create an online presence and achieve a Shopify migration when they currently only connect with people at a brick-and-mortar location. We’ll offer you some tried and true strategies about why you need an online store, how to get up and running, pitfalls to watch out for, and how to attract your existing customer base to your website. 

Having a brick-and-mortar store is wonderful. Adding a robust eCommerce store into the equation can elevate your business in ways unachievable otherwise. 

Why You Should Move Your Physical Store Online

You may be wondering why you need an online store at all. Perhaps you’re doing just fine with your brick-and-mortar and wonder what the benefits could be of a Shopify migration. While a successful physical store might be your reality, building an online presence, it’s more important now than it has ever been in the past. 

In 2021, digital shoppers have risen to 2.14 billion (!) people

That’s a lot of people. It’s also an increase of 900 million online buyers compared to last year. 

People want to shop online. People want to investigate brands they’re interested in online. People want to read reviews about a brand online. 

Sure, word can spread on social media or Google reviews, but there’s little control in those spaces. 

With a Shopify store, you can lasso all of those people seeking you out and make the sale right then and there. Some of the benefits of building out an online extension of your brick-and-mortar store are: 

  • Increased revenue thanks to the billions of people shopping online yearly. 
  • Greater brand awareness as people seek you out online. 
  • More control over your reputation and the narrative of your company. 
  • A streamlined way to bring in new customers.
  • An improved way to boost current customer loyalty and engagement. 

Why should you move your physical store online? Because it’s a no-brainer for elevating your business and the customer experience — a customer who demands an online presence. 

How To Move Your Brick-And-Mortar Store Online

Actually, moving your brick-and-mortar store into an online space might seem a little trickier, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to be a master computer programmer (or a programmer at all) to get your site up and running relatively quickly. A Shopify migration is fairly straightforward and easy to do with the right tools and preparation. 

Let’s look at some of the strategies you can implement to migrate your store into Shopify quickly and easily. 

Start a free trial with Shopify. You’ll have 14 days to get your site up and running, and with some focused effort, this should be super easy to achieve. Once you’re in your Shopify Account, you’ll have the option to add products, create key pages for your store, pick a theme and customize the website to your liking, and all that jazz. 

Import your existing data. This is likely the most complicated part of the process. You're going to have to move your customers, historical orders, and products, amongst other things. Depending on the size of the data — this could be cumbersome. Due to the potential complexity of importing existing data, it's important to utilize the tools that are available to you in the app store, as well as knowing when to reach out to a professional if it's beyond your scope of knowledge. You can utilize apps like the EZ Importer that allow you to migrate much of your current data directly to your Shopify store. You’ll be able to quickly bulk import all of your orders from any source, as well as import multiple line items, transactions, discounts, and anything else necessary to get your shop up-to-date on your business history. 

Configure your shipping and tax settings. You’ll be able to fully customize your shop to include your tax and shipping settings. There are apps available like EZ Inventory which allows you to sync your Shopify inventory CSV, Excel or XML Feed and EZ Fulfill which allows you to notify customers of their tracking numbers, and mark orders as fulfilled so you don’t have to worry about all of the maintenance of running an online and brick-and-mortar store at the same time. 

Pitfalls To Watch Out For

When it comes to moving your Shopify migration, there are some pitfalls to watch out for. Many of these can be avoided or remedied with proactive measures. Let’s take a look at a few common pitfalls to avoid. 

  1. A lack of information on your website. People like information. That’s why they come to your website besides trying to purchase a product. Building trust through the internet comes down to transparency and enough information to make a purchasing decision. Make sure you fill out your product descriptions well, create an FAQ to answer questions that come up, and upload key pages that discuss your business practices and values.
  2. Not using customer insights and analytics. Customer insights and analytics are valuable tools about what is and isn’t working with your business as a whole and in your shop. You can glean useful information by watching where you lose people in their buyer’s journey or issues they may have with a product or process. You can also use customer insights to get positive reviews about your products which is critical for any business.
  3. Forgetting the automated tools at your disposal. You might be hesitant about migrating your business to Shopify and the whole online eCommerce environment because of time constraints. If you’re worried about keeping up with online orders, fulfillment, data tracking, and so on, don’t be. There are so many automation tools right at your fingertips, many of them free. Use these tools and watch your business soar without a ton of extra effort. 

How To Attract Your Existing Customer Base To Your Website

Did you already make the move? You opened an online shop, and… now what? You might see new customers popping into the shop, but how do you encourage your existing customer base to visit your website and even shop there? The easy way — through incentives and marketing. The still-easy-yet-more-time-consuming-and-profitable way — through a marketing company or a larger marketing strategy that utilizes social media, email lists, and community building. 

Incentives and marketing could be customers signing up for your email list through the brick-and-mortar transaction as a way to receive an “online-only” discount in their email. You could also post flyers, notes on receipts, and all other forms of in-store communication that encourage them to go online. Talk about the benefits of using your online store — delivery straight to their house, perhaps. You don’t have to drop a ton of cash on marketing unless you want to. With some strategic strategies in place, you might be able to get existing customers to your website just by word-of-mouth. 

For the more robust version of attracting your customers to your website, check out this article written by the team at Shopify on increasing your online store traffic

Moving your brick-and-mortar store online might feel daunting. Take the guesswork out of this experience by following these steps and going for it. What do you have to gain? A whole lot, we’re guessing.

Tags: ecommerce, ecommerce tips