Moving your business online does not have to be a daunting or complicated process. Having a strong online presence has never been more important, and now is the time to take the right steps forward, get selling online and start growing your business.
So, here are 5 simple ways that you can move your business online, quickly and effectively.
1. Before you ‘digitise’, you have to ‘strategise’
Switching from a physical store to a digital one means your plans, your messaging, your objectives all have to adapt. You can’t simply replicate your offline objectives and use them as your online ones. This is a digital transformation, especially if your business hasn’t had an online presence previously. You need to consider your online store within the broader context of your business strategy and align your objectives.
This is where your digital strategy comes in: do your research and think about the wider context, such as the current climate, the situation with COVID-19, your customers, your competitors.
Plan out your website goals alongside your tactics, for example, “what are my sales objectives for my new e-commerce website, and what functionalities do I need my website to have to achieve these?” This way, you can make important decisions in relation to moving online, such as which platform and content management systems will best achieve objectives. Don’t forget to set some metrics/KPIs based on your goals, so that you can monitor your performance and adjust your strategy.
2. Magento 2
Once you’ve decided that you want to get going with your new e-commerce site, you need to consider which e-commerce platform your site will use. This will affect your website, its speed, its look and its functionality.
Magento 2 is a great platform to choose – it is hugely feature-rich and built on open-source technology which provides online merchants with flexibility and control over the look, content and functionality of their e-commerce store. Some brilliant benefits of Magento 2 include:
- Flexible stock management: Magento’s stock management integration allows you to manage all your inventory in one central location with simple and easy to use functionalities.
- Smooth payments: With Magento 2, your site can accept credit card payments directly online through PayPal, Worldpay or Sagepay. Alternatively, you can allow customers to pay on account or Cash on Delivery.
- Blogs for great content: You can integrate your new site with a WordPress platform to easily update the news/blog section of your site which helps boost SEO rankings.
- Up-sell: Magento’s flexible product management system allows you to easily up-sell and cross-sell products to help increase conversion rates and average order value.
- Shipping: ‘Free shipping on orders over £x’ is a proven way of increasing conversion rates, but shipping can also be charged by weight, region, sales value or delivery provider.
- Reporting: Magento 2 also lets you keep a birds-eye view of incoming sales & reviews, stock levels and general store performance from the administration area of your website.
WordPress is an extremely popular and easy to use open source web development platform. It’s one of the most widely used content management systems and is a great option to consider when moving your business online. Here are some of it’s many benefits:
- Simple, easy to use: WordPress is a straight-forward platform that will allow you to make your own updates on the go, without needing to delve into your web designer’s world of HTML, CSS, PHP etc. Once your website has been developed, you can easily update products, case studies, images and content to maintain an effective online presence.
- Stable and innovative: WordPress is great because it stays up-to-date with the latest technology, trends and user needs. As we know, the function and purpose of a website can change over time, and so WordPress is regularly updated so it stays relevant and so any problems can be resolved. This also mean new useful and exciting features are added on a regular basis, keeping your website fresh!
- Content, SEO & blogging: WordPress will allow you to have an updated blog on your new site. Beyond blogging, WordPress also makes SEO much easier, guiding you in your use of H1, H2 and H3 tags and in your use of keywords in your website URL. WordPress also allows you to install supporting SEO plugins like Yoast.
- Flexible, Open source (plugins galore!): A massive benefit of WordPress is the fact that you can choose from over 20,000+ plugins and thousands of themes. This means your website can adapt based on trends and change it’s look. For example, the Yoast plugin can be installed for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), FooGallery for great image gallery layouts or WooCommerce as an extended e-commerce plugin.
WooCommerce is an e-commerce plugin for WordPress. Creating and managing an online store is made simple, with flexibility and key features such as inventory, secure payments and shipping integration.
WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce plugin for WordPress, and its integration allows you to include both great SEO value and e-commerce ability. Some of the main benefits of this WordPress plugin include:
- It’s simple to use: Once set up, WooCommerce is very easily accessible for anyone, even those who are just venturing out into e-commerce. A website that uses WooCommerce can be set up and opened up for online business very quickly!
- Easily customisable: As soon as your new website goes live, you could discover that you want to make certain changes, especially as time goes on. This can be difficult and expensive on some platforms, however the WooCommerce platform is easily customisable, and you can switch back and forth between appearances and choose between free and paid themes!
- Wide range of features: WooCommerce has all the features an online store needs, such as product listing, product categories and filters, product ratings/reviews and billing. This allows users to sell anything they want – it is completely flexible. Because of its modular nature, WooCommerce focuses on the essential features that you need first, meaning it can work fast and reliably with the basic features, but can be expanded whenever you want. Some other great features include built in blogging, tags and attributes and location customisation such as currency, language and measurement units. There is no number limit on the products you want to put onto your site, and you can use as many images as you want!
- It’s secure: This is an important one. WooCommerce is in constant development in terms of security, so users are assured they have the safest online experience possible. Any updates arrive very fast, and it is super easy to implement them. As long as you regularly update your WooCommerce platform and update plugins too, then your e-commerce site will be safe and reliable.
- It gives you informative analytics: WooCommerce contains simple, smart built-in analytics. So, for any e-commerce newbies, built-in analytics make tracking much easier for you. For example, you can track sales by date, by most popular products, by customer information. All of this is summarised in easily understandable graphs and charts. And of course you can activate Google Analytics in WooCommerce, so that you can delve deeper into your website results, which you definitely should be doing!
5. Testing, reviewing & performance metrics
Of course it is important that an e-commerce site has a great look and feel. But the best e-commerce stores are tried, tested, analysed and adapted. This means you need to look at every page, look at performance metrics so that you can up-sell, cross-sell and move the buyer to action.
A smart and switched-on online seller will know the result of every action from click-through to conversion, by page and by item. Build your store from the ground up with this in mind, and make sure you A/B test your site to gain vital insights into shopping experience and behaviour.
These top tips are a great starting point for your e-commerce site. Many businesses may have been delaying their big break into the online world, but now that users are turning to online shopping during the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s time for you to make the move online, be present and grow your customer base.
If your company requires a professional online presence please Contact Us to discuss how we can help you, on Dungannon 028 3754 9025 or Belfast 028 9002 5050.