How To: Expand Beyond your Physical Storefront

More than ever before, brick-and-mortar's are realizing the importance of expanding beyond their storefront to reach customers online. But how can a business owner start selling online quickly, and still have time to concentrate on their physical store? This is a very real scenario for many retailers right now.

In this blog, we will show you how to expand past your storefront and into the 'online world'. Already online? Skim through the various sections for tips on expanding even further, including selling on online marketplaces.

Tip #1: Integrate your eCommerce with your store

eCommerce may seem like a 'no brainer', but many retailers struggle launching and managing a site. In many cases, the retailer builds a site from the 'ground up', with little to no integration to their point of sale. Not only will it take longer to build the site and start selling online, it will be difficult to manage. With an integrated eCommerce site, you can mange your store and web as one- which in turn helps you launch quicker by eliminating double data entry and data errors.

What to look for in an integrated eCommerce platform:

  • Products in your point of sale can be made available online
  • Products & pricing can be managed in one place 
  • Promotions, coupons & loyalty rewards are cross-channel
  • Online orders flow into the POS in real-time
  • Inventory levels are automatically updated in the POS and eCommerce after each sale

Tip #2: Launch a new site quickly with vendor integrations

When it comes to building an eCommerce site, there's nothing more valuable than good, clean, organized product data. If your vendor offers digital data feeds; and your eCommerce (or retail software) provider can integrate with it- you're in luck!

Since all retail solutions differ, I will reference Celerant's solutions to illustrate the power of vendor integrations... Celerant's eCommerce platform can pull live data feeds from select vendors to automatically display their available products online, including product descriptions, images and stock levels to help you start selling online. If the vendor offers drop shipping, orders can be automatically sent to the vendor for fulfillment. This allows retailers to get online and start selling much faster, and offer wider product lines. 

The same technology can be used to offer an endless aisle of products in store via Celerant's in store kiosks.

Looking to advance your retail?

Let us help! Celerant is a full service retail software provider. We offer point of sale, eCommerce and digital marketing solutions to small and mid size retailers across the country.

Tip #3: Offer convenient online fulfillment options

To have a successful online business, you need convenient fulfillment options. In recent months, there has been a major shift to online shopping, and consumers are adapting, and even expecting these new conveniences. A few popular fulfillment options to consider include:

  • Buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS)
  • Curbside pickup
  • Home delivery
  • Drop shipping (see vendor integration section above)

To be competitive, you should also consider same day pickup. In response to the recent demand for curbside pickup, Celerant developed a new Curbside Pickup Application to help retailers manage orders marked as curbside, whether the order was placed online or via phone.

Tip #4: Expand your reach with marketplace integrations

Where do your customers shop online? Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Google?

It's great if you can create an account and start selling on online marketplaces, but it's even better if you can integrate multiple online marketplaces with a single system. Using a system like Celerant allows you to push products out to each of these marketplaces from the point of sale, and have orders flow back into the POS just as if they were coming in from your own website. This helps you maintain product data consistency across all channels; saves you the hassle of having to manually upload products to each channel; and makes it easier to fulfill orders.

Tip #5: Increase sales with personalized email marketing

Now that you can envision yourself starting to sell online, you will then want to market to all your customers. 

Maybe you can already send an email with a 10% coupon to your entire email list. But can you send a thank you email to a customer who just bought a jacket online, asking for an online review on your website? 2 week later, send that same person another email with a 10% coupon if they purchase the matching gloves/hat? I bet that will peak their interest a bit more. Sending automated, personalized emails require a system that can

  1. Gather emails from customers across all your channels
  2. Create customer segments
  3. Send those emails based on real-time sales and customer data

While your email automation software is marketing to all your customers, so you can concentrate on your next online expansion.

Learn how Celerant can help you expand past your physical storefront, and start selling online

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