Starting and running a successful retail business is more difficult now than it ever has been. There are unprecedented levels of both opportunity and challenges, and it’s often baffling to figure out what direction to go in. Online retail is both a killer of small businesses, such as independent book stores and a savior in other areas. Niche publishers and writers have seen it become easy to get their content out there. For any business selling things, the decision is on whether we go physical, online, or a mix of the two?
Assess Your Online Presence
The first thing to consider when deciding if online selling is right for your business, is what level of online presence your business already has? If you have large social media followings, then there is a ripe base of potential customers just waiting. But even if your online indent is marginal, or non-existent there is a way any business can be quickly up and running with online sales. You can sell via existing platforms such as eBay, Gumtree, Amazon, and Facebook by paying a small fee per transaction.
If you are adding online sales to an existing store operation, you should consider whether your existing staff is set up to deal with an increase in sales, and new systems on top of their current duties. You may want to assign individuals specifically to online orders or hire more people, if necessary.
Taking payment online requires the capacity to accept digital payments in one form or another. If you already accept card payments in-store, then it’s likely that your current provider can facilitate online payments at no extra cost. There are also many new exciting payment methods and even completely digital currencies; anyone can buy Bitcoin with ApplePay and spend it almost anywhere in the world online.
One of the drawbacks to selling online is how consumers view pricing. There is a horrible tendency to race to the bottom with pricing; there is little reward for setting yourself up as a premium seller with knowledge and expertise in the digital world.
With the level of competition we have just outlined, how is it possible to have your branding heard above the chatter of all the competition out there? With some difficulty, but it’s not impossible. One inventive solution we’ve seen is some companies setting up their very own digital cryptocurrency. This is one step further than a store card and can create a real buzz on social media. When sending out packaging, include info pointing the customer back to your website.
Often when we’re unsure which direction is right for us, the best solution is to find a compromise. A mixture of offline and online sales can combine to keep any business healthy. The perfect example of such a mix is to offer a click and collect service; order online to be picked up in-store.
This article has been contributed on behalf of Paxful. However, the information provided herein is not and is not intended to be, investment, financial, or other advice.