The other day I was reading an article on Practical Ecommerce about why brick and mortar stores need an online store. They brought up some great points including how their customers are already online, the online social network scene and customer service but I think the article missed some great advantages to having an online store beyond expanding your reach beyond your retail footprint.
Competing with Big Box Stores
In 2013 I don’t know how many press releases and news stories I saw about Walmart announcing to the world that you could order online and pick up in store. While it is a little more difficult to manage your inventory between several thousand stores and online, most modern shopping carts have given you the option to set up “pick up in store” and “pay in store” for several years now. If you are a single store front, you can easily set this up with little to no technical experience.
If you read any blog from the smallest SEO blog to the Google’s Matt Cutt’s videos, we all know content is the king when it comes to rankings. An online store automatically gives hundreds to thousands of pages for your content automatically.
Google Loves Online Stores
Add on top of that, shopping is a such a big deal to Google that they have a specific category dedicated to shopping when you do a search.
Expanded Product Line
Especially here in Hawaii, retail space is expensive. The ability to carry everything your customer needs or wants, is just not possible. An online store allows your local store to carry a much expanded inventory, especially if your suppliers will drop ship on your behalf.
People Shop online for several Reasons
While the big box stores want you to think people only shop online purely for price or to avoid taxes, unfortunately that is not the case. We are busy, sometimes it is easier to order something on our computers and have it delivered to our homes. As mentioned above, we are able to find a larger inventory of items to choose from compared to what might be in a store. Instead of sending them off to Amazon, Sears or Walmart, letting them order from you is a much better idea.
Online Shopping is not Going Away
Regardless of what happens with shipping prices, tax strategies or other things out of our control, online shopping is not going away. Even the retired crowd is shopping online so it is better to get in front of the trend before you find yourself left behind.
Starting an Online Store is Not Hard
The biggest fear amongst store owners is how complicated running an online store can be or the cost to setting it all up. For those customers, I always recommend the hosted ecommerce platforms. In the video below you can see how I use one Shopping Cart system to implement local pickup and payments in less than 4 minutes.
If you are curious about this shopping carts or others, check out my shopping cart reviews
Or contact me. I can always suggest the appropriate shopping cart based on your needs.