Many non-essential retail stores have been unable to keep their doors open during the coronavirus outbreak. That doesn’t mean, however, that you do not still have inventory available that people want to purchase. Creating an e-commerce solution for your business can offer a number of advantages as you manage your business throughout this crisis–and thanks to the ready availability of easy plugin website solutions, you can get up and running quickly with an e-commerce site.
The Advantages of E-Commerce Solutions
If you’ve closed the physical doors of your business, e-commerce solutions can help keep your business running. Consider these key advantages of creating an online retail section to help move your business through this period.
- An online store is an excellent branding opportunity. You want your brand to stay top-of-mind for your customers, both now and when the pandemic is over. When you open an online store, you allow many of your customers to continue some of their usual shopping habits. Not only that, you show that your brand is still available to your customers and that you’re working to provide solutions for them in the midst of a crisis. When the crisis ends, customers will remember that your business was still available to them during the crisis–and your message and branding through this time will become an important part of their associations with your brand.
- You’ll provide additional income for your business throughout the crisis. Even though your business’s physical doors are closed, as a business owner, you may still have substantial expenses. By opening up an online store, you can provide a source of income for your business throughout the shutdown. Each sale is one that you wouldn’t have made without that online store–and income that can help keep your marketing current and your bills paid.
- Keep moving stock throughout the shutdown. Many nonessential businesses still have items that can expire on the shelves–and you want, if possible, to keep moving that inventory throughout the shutdown. If you can ship those items, you can get them in customers’ hands before they expire. If you can’t, consider offering delivery directly to your customers’ doors.
- Reach a wider customer base. When you open an online store, you may be able to reach more customers than you could through a brick and mortar store. Many products can be shipped around the country and even around the world–and you don’t know who might be looking for exactly the type of product your business sells. Not only that, many of the people sheltering in place at home may be looking for new shopping opportunities. Ultimately, your online store could help grow your business both now and after the pandemic ends.
- Do something proactive to help your business stay afloat. Many business owners are left wondering what to do next and how to handle their businesses throughout the current shutdowns. Instead of simply waiting for your business to be able to reopen–and hoping that the end to the shutdown comes in time–opening an online store allows you to do something proactive and productive during this time. You may even discover that you like the benefits offered by an online store and that you want to keep it operational even when the shutdowns come to an end.
Popular E-Commerce Plugins and Websites
The best solution for your business will depend on what Content Management System (CMS) your website is already using. The most common CMS platforms will have easy to integrate solutions for each:
WooCommerce. Plugin for WordPress websites.
- Advantages – The plugin is free to download and easy to activate. Setting up products is fairly easy with lots of information available to help guide you through the process. The plugin is fairly secure and simple to integrate with PayPal, Square, Direct Bank Transfer as well as other 3rd party payments systems.
- Disadvantages – Need to pay for extensions, frequent plugin updates can be annoying, and the wishlist functionality is clunky to use.
Square Online Store. An all-in-one platform to run your online business.
- Advantages – Square’s suite of offerings include payroll, inventory management, customer management, POS system, and more. They offer flat-rate pricing, and all-in-one payment.
- Disadvantages – Not ideal for big companies with lots of transactions due to high fees. This system has been known to be unstable at times.
Shopify. A fully hosted, cloud-based website.
- Advantages – Setup is simple with a wide variety of themes. They boast a responsive customer service department, excellent website security as well as fast page load times.
- Disadvantages – Product search and filtering is basic and doesn’t assist user in suggestions. Basic accounts are hosted by shopify, therefore has a different website address than your website which limits SEO efforts.
BigCommerce. A fully hosted, all-inclusive online store.
- Advantages – Intuitive, built-in features as well as vast tutorials to help guide you through the build process. The setup is simple, many themes to select from as well as excellent website security.
- Disadvantages – Can be costly depending on the size of your business and number of transactions due to transaction fees and add-on fees.
GA Wright Can Help Plan Your Promotional Sale
When your doors open for business again, you may want to offer promotions that can help improve sales and profitability–or you might want to offer promotions now, to help you launch your online store and get those sales off the ground. GA Wright can help plan that promotional sale. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help make your grand reopening more successful.