Having an online store that is properly managed and promoted can be a great benefit and boost to a company, but just because you have a retail store doesn't mean that you need an online store. After all, having an online store that's poorly managed can be detrimental to the company. Running the online store on top of the brick and mortar shop can be a lot of work and in many cases require that you hire someone just to start and manage it. All that said, we think an online store is worth the investment, assuming the right things are in place.
What does having an online store look like?
- An online store provides better customer service. Many times a customer simply needs to reorder a product, see the spec sheet, or find the operator manual and an online store can put all of that in one convenient place.
- Provides the option for a customer to research and purchase at any time. They may not have enough time to stop by the shop or make a call to ask questions, it may be after hours, but those aren't issues when you have an online store.
- Sell that slow-moving stock... Something is better than nothing on an item that is collecting dust. Having an online store lets you put those outdated or slow-moving (but still useful to the right person) items on sale for every customer to see. You never know what part may sell until you get it in front of the right person.
- Provide more detailed information, videos, and demos of the products. Some people do better reading about how a product works and some do better seeing it in action. An online store gives you the capability to help both of those groups by placing detailed information about the product as well as videos.
What to remember: There is so much more information that needs to be covered (and we will get to that), but, for now, start to think about how these ideas might help you and whether or not your team is in a place to manage this kind of project.