Here we have:
Step 1 -Set up a server
Step 2 - Buy a domain
Step 3 - Buy cloud hosting
Step 4 - Set up your website
Step 5 - Configure proper POS and Payment Methods
Step 6 - Configure shipment methods and set up FBA
Step 7 - Create a mobile app or choose PWAs
Step 8 - Know your license and tax liabilities
Step 9 - Add relevant and appealing content to your website
Step 10 - Planning SEO & Marketing
Step 11 - Exposing your website to the public
So, after being a brick-and-mortar seller, you have now decided to take your business online, but how?
The biggest challenge at this stage to overcome for you and your business is to create a perfect online presence. Something which will not only target your audience but also helps them to resonate with you, something which gives them an assurance of your brand and business. However even after trying the hyped online trend, your business is going downhill. Why so?
It could be due to a couple of factors like improper planning or unavailability of proper guidance from experts.
In today’s technically advanced world, the internet is practically everywhere, and companies are highly dependent on digital marketing tools to survive.
Okay, now imagine yourself standing in a long queue at the theatre just to get two tickets for a new movie. Still imaging? No, right? Because nobody does that nowadays as every little information is just a click away which ensures you have perfect time-saving options.
Modern-day internet connectivity has come up with more than just providing information as a glorified encyclopedia. The internet nowadays provides its user with multiple features and allows them to shop, sell, invest, promote, watch, study, read and connect instantly. From getting groceries for a home to booking tickets for a movie or getting an appointment from your dentist, all you need to do is grab your phone and turn on the mobile data to connect and take advantage of such facilities.
This gives a brief idea of why you should create your online presence. The world is pretty much in the clutches of the internet and AI. From studying consumer consumption patterns to targeting their area of interest, or matching their problems with required solutions, the digital market offers a lot to the businesses present on the internet to grow with them.
Online presence not only saves your valuable time on tedious and unproductive tasks but also ensures that you are aware of all the advantages one can take from these modernized marketing tools.
Also being a storehouse of information, the users can find any sort of information they are looking for.
Therefore, it is safe to conclude that if you aren’t online on the digital map, you’re invisible. Thus, it has become very crucial for businesses to start their online journey, having a digital presence has become more than just a norm rather it has become a requirement to survive in this digital age. A business that is present online is more open to opportunities, as just in a fraction of a second they have all the necessary and easily accessible data which in turn builds the reputation of the business making it more recognizable among its potential prospects.
As more and more users are more comfortable with using their smartphones, they almost on average spend more than 3.5 hours on their day using phones, also, a Forbes study claims that around 82% of customers tend to do quick market availability and pricing research for variable products before making a purchase.
Thus there is more than one valid reason why opting for digital marketing in this current marketing scenario would be highly beneficial for your business.
One could draw a brief sketch of why taking your offline business to the digital scale would be extremely favorable for your business if you take into consideration of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the outbreak of the Covid virus, the daily hustling life of more or less every individual became stagnant and monotonous, we all became victims of this pandemic in a way or two. But this also started a huge rush towards the online business tendency. Getting online truly provides a lot of people with a wide range of platforms and opportunities to target the right audience for whom they are offering their solutions through their products or services.
Hence, the businesses need to focus on those platforms which have a crowd of potential prospects to aim at them with your products. Businesses cannot be done bound within four walls. Therefore regardless of the type of industry, your business is in you are bound to have an online presence whether you are actively involved in it or not but considering the market and the competitors, it is best that you do. Following simple steps like monitoring your sales or tracking the product effectiveness will improve your digital presence which in turn will change the perspective of the customers how they perceive you with long-term sales and a positive impact on your business.
Might sound a little risky and challenging at first but if implemented correctly, it will skyrocket your business, given here are quick 11 steps as to how you can effectively take your offline business online:
Step 1 - Set up a server:
Whenever you need to search for something, you open your search engine and type in the data which then redirects you to the website server, thus, for any eCommerce business the first and foremost requirement is to set up a server. Choosing and setting up the right server will build up the foundation of your online business.
Now, how do you decide the best server for your eCommerce store? Ask Google maybe? Google knows everything, right?
Well, you might have to reconsider that though as there are some basic factors that should be taken into consideration before picking out that one server that will help you serve your customers.
The server type should be in respect to these hereafter mentioned factors:
- Your business model should be compatible and congenial with the server type including its loading speed and device accessibility.
- The uptime of the server further provides a basis for determining its reliability.
- The features and support offered by the provider.
- The server pricing.
You should be very thorough and familiar with the pros and cons while choosing your server as from a seller’s perspective it’s a one-time thing that yields a long-term impact. Therefore, if required you should take necessary advice from your service provider to discuss all your needs, expectations, requirements, and standards beforehand to avoid confusion.
Cool, now that you have set up a server for your online business the second progressive step is to set up a domain for easy convertibility.
Step 2 - Buy a domain:
Domains provide a brand identity to your online business and give it required recognition.
People generally have misconceptions and are rather worried about the cost of domains, and often are consumed with questions like ‘are domains costly?’, ‘how can I use a domain aptly?’ or ‘how do I choose an appropriate domain for my business?’
The answers are quite simple though..
Apparently, domains are quite cost-effective as they cost $10-15 per year unless you opt for a premium version.
So, how do domains bring out the change?
As domains reflect the theme of your business at a glance, it is preferred to name your domain that suits your business the best, like if your business deals with Non Veg Food and has a brand name ‘freschopsbar’ then the ideal domain for it would be freschopsbar.com or freschopsbar.com.
However, to ensure the best user-friendly and catchy domain name, you should look out for the following reasons:
- Use (.com) in your domain as it has a wider global audience target.
- If aiming for the local audience, you should be more country-specific and add (.in) or (.uk) in the domain Ids
- Try to avoid numbers or hyphens in the domain name
- Ensure that the domain is not registered or trademarked.
There are a number of websites that offer you domains like:
- Google Domains
Now that you have a domain you should let your customers know about your online presence, isn’t it? Or else it will be all for nothing, so, how do you make them aware of your presence?
Step 3 - Buy Cloud Hosting:
As cloud refers to the internet and the way you operate ‘in the cloud’, it describes how you store and access your data via a stable internet connection.
Effectively using cloud computing provides a basis and gives access to businesses allowing them to reach information virtually by creating a global and flexible way to reach that data at any time or place they want.
Thus you need to keep in mind a few these following factors while choosing an eCommerce hosting website:
- It should provide high security.
- It should be capable of performing superiorly.
- It should promote a simple user interface.
- It must provide efficient support.
- It must have a strong database.
Step 4 - Set up your website:
Well, you have now successfully completed the three most important basic required elements, now it’s time to organize your website for your visitors.
Since it serves as the mirror of your business and reflects the effectiveness and potential of your business, you must be extremely certain while setting your website up.
But is website building complex? Is it a tiring job to do?
Well, apparently not, you can either do it on your own or may seek professional assistance.
However, there are a few things that shouldn’t slip your mind while building a website on your own.
- Keep it simple and clean, nobody wants a pile of content or ads flooding in a page. Try to avoid irrelevant layout, heavy unloadable graphics videos and images, and unworthy texts.
- Keep it targeted towards your audience and pick a theme that will help them resonate with you.
- Make the pages easily navigable, so that the visitors can plot where they are, where they want to go and where they are going.
- Ensure that your brand name and logo are clearly visible in the header and footer section of the website so that the visitors can easily spot you.
- Be transparent and honest about your pricing & cost structure, while refraining from imposing any kind of hidden or additional taxes or costs.
- Ensure quick loading pages, with quality content i.e. with vividly describing images and descriptions to convince and generate leads for your products.
- Add honest customer reviews and testimonials so that your future prospects can get an idea about what they are investing in and if it is worth investing in.
- To make it more clear and quickly accessible categorize the products properly as per categories and their subcategories.
- Also ensure that your website works across all the platforms efficiently without lagging behind, especially make it mobile-oriented.
- Provide a Product search Bar for improved convenience.
Step 5 - Configure proper POS and Payment Methods:
Businesses run on payments and hence you must set a seal on configuring proper POS and payment methods to keep away from confusion later. As the world is going cashless and there are multiple money transacting methods, people expect the product/service providers to offer them each and every kind of payment gateway so that they can use them as per their convenience.
Thus, providing your customers with a simple platform where they can execute simple and easy payments and transactions can be of great help for your business.
Now, how do you configure your POS properly?
Since it involves monetary deals, be very careful about building your POS system, you can take into consideration these three fundamentals:
- While processing the customer transactions to avoid any kind of hassle do it properly with a bill/ receipt
- As people prefer to go cashless, provide them with multiple mediums and options for payments
- Keep a well-updated and clearly detailed inventory after every transaction occurs.
Step 6 - Configure shipment methods and set up FBA:
Well, customers are highly curious about receiving their products at their earliest once they are done with the payment procedure. As a matter of fact, they are even willing to pay more if it gets them their products any faster.
Thus, providing them with quick and perfect shipping and delivery services will make them happy and satisfied with your business, resulting in higher sales while making them loyal to your business.
Thus, tying up with a regional shipping station or FBA will help you keep up with the expectations of your customers.
Umm… so you even nailed the part of shipping products too, what next?
Did you forget about being all-time accessible to them with just a tap?
Step 7 - Create a mobile app or choose PWAs:
With the present generation growing more and more attached to their mobile devices you must find a way to be even more accessible to them. Almost 82% of people tend to do some market research before buying a product, and apparently selling through a website generally lowers the value as it might get a bit tacky to keep track of the certain website performing so.
As people are more inclined towards their mobile phones, out of 4 every 3rd consumer purchases via their mobiles as it saves time. Thus to provide them with a greater and fuller experience you should create an app to become 24*7 available to the customers.
To create an everlasting app with the experience of a website, you should opt for PWA, also known as Progressive Web Apps that is a web application and which deploys the latest web technologies so that web applications could be created which could provide a similar experience like apps.
PWA is highly cost-effective and easily implementable in your existing web framework without using any further extension or programming languages and technologies. Moreover, as it already forms a base, it saves you the trouble of building the mobile app from very scratch, and works fine even without stable internet connectivity and low speed.
Step 8 - Know your license and tax liabilities:
As the only change is the mode of your business, it is likely that you don’t need to have a separate business license. However, to be on the safer side, it is preferred to renew the validity of other required aspects to ascertain the smooth flow of things in the future.
But you might have to attend to tax compliances. You need to apply for a unique EIN (employee identification number) to become eligible for taxation on your transactions via IRS. By doing so, you will be able to collect sales tax and VAT for selling goods and services.
Fine, now you are eligible to charge taxes for your products as well…what’s left now?
Step 9 - Add relevant and appealing content to your website:
So why do want your customers to choose you over your competitors?
Isn’t it because you provide quality content?
In the world of online shopping, apparently what you show is what you sell hence, putting it in simpler terms, your content is the counterman for your business.
Thus, adding quality content to your website will ensure higher sales rates and conversions for genuine leads. Better quality of content convinces the customers that the offered products are one of their kind, in turn intensifying the value of your brand, product, and services from the customer's viewpoint without any second thoughts.
Therefore, keeping a few simple points might prove to be helpful:
- Use an approachable and relatable tone without any jargon.
- Keep it target-oriented so that they can resonate with you and find solutions to their problems through your products.
- Give a well-defined product description including its price, content, usage, warranty, etc. so that they can find easy applicability of the products.
- Target SEO keywords and use them effectively in your content, so it looks catchy and ranks higher in the SERPs.
- Keep your content fresh and updated in accordance with the trend.
Step 10 - Planning SEO & Marketing:
Your existing and new customers need to know that you are now available online too!
To get them excited and using their excitement in the right course of action, you need to plan a thorough Marketing & SEO plan.
Following a few steps can help to achieve a perfect Marketing & SEO plan when you wish to grow your offline business online.
Get a clear concept of the market you are functioning in, about your competitors, customers, new trends, etc.
Target and retarget your customers via email marketing
Get social to connect more with several social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Whatsapp, etc., and also try out social media marketing.
Include CTAs on your pages and use PPC. You can also try sponsoring ads to attract potential prospects
Hold your horses! We are almost done now…except for the one last thing i.e. you need to reach out to your expected audience now.
Reach out to the public and expose your website.
Step 11 - Exposing your website to the public:
Now that you are done with every required step, the last remaining step is to show your targeted audience what you have in your pandora’s box.
As the online platform has no limited bounds, you can even list your products on any marketplace and sell widely from a single centralized platform.
So, what are you waiting for? Go grab this golden opportunity and register your offline store with its online replica with the help of an automated integration tool – eCommerce Marketplace Integration and start receiving orders and do your business in no time.
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