I have been working in the online business for five years and my experience is that it is a process that takes time and a lot of hard work. People sometimes see retail as a much more demanding business than online, but there are similarities.
In this blog post, I will mention five points I think are important to think about if you have a retail store and wants to go online.
The whole system is built on technology and with the speed of new technology growing, you have to be prepared to invest. It can be a new app, a new check out etc. This is also still happening in retail, where companies are investing in new technology such as payment apps for customers who forget their wallets, ”order and pay here” boxes etc (https://retailtechnologytrends.com/).
As in retail, you need a group of people helping you to drive the online business forward. Online is a 24/7 store and it needs to have people taking care of it on a daily base. You need someone who drives traffic to the store, someone who is taking care of the content so the customers find what they are looking for and you need to have a good check out process.
Through the years I have seen that the whole website is often managed by one person. This is risky in terms of sickness, but also because only one person is getting a total understanding of the online business. In retail, you normally have more than one person working in the store and taking care of customers, logistic, admin and merchandising at the same time.
This is an old phrase which should not be forgotten in the online business. Customers should always be in focus, and as in retail, you will meet customers with different needs and personalities. The good thing with an online business is that you can collect data about your customer in a fast and easy way. Follow this up, do surveys, research and talk to customer service about what your customers like or not like.
Taking care of an online shop is the same as retail, it is an ongoing process and never stops. When you go live, the first year is a lot about learning the new technical systems and also about your customer behavior. Check which days are good days for customers to shop online and which are not. The reasons could be, for example, good weather vs bad weather, poor online product descriptions etc. Therefore, it is important to constantly ask the questions ”why are they behaving like they do?" and ”how can we help them?".
One thing that customers like and make them come back is a good shopping experience, both online and offline. In retail, it can be a small thing such as a sale person giving you a warm welcome when you enter the shop. In the online business, it is a nice and updated website where you feel that someone is working and taking care of it. Entering a website with old campaigns and image material does not give you the right feeling, and customers might not even continue to next pages.