There was a time when brick-and-mortar businesses were creating websites in a frenzy. Whether these were intended to become ecommerce outlets or simply a collection of information and promotional materials online, the advent of online shopping led all traditional brick-and-mortar stores or franchises to at least set up some kind of online presence. That meant suddenly engaging in digital marketing and all the specific rules of that. Fundamentally though, it meant creating a website.
These days, this is not happening as much, simply because most new commercial enterprises are set up online, and all major traditional retail outlets now have online stores. However, for smaller businesses, making the transition to online is still fairly common. This raises the most important question: Is there any difference between an ecommerce website set up for an already existing physical retail outlet and one set up purely for a new ecommerce company? Unfortunately, there is no one single answer to this, but there are a few extra considerations that apply in the case of brick-and-mortar businesses going online.
Your brick-and-mortar business will rely on foot traffic, passing trade, and the general build-up of a reputation, often within a specific community. That community will be geographically determined, and so you probably know more intimately who your customers are when you conduct physical business. This is obviously not the case with ecommerce, and so unifying these two different business models will often be one of the key challenges facing your website.
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What Do You Want the Website For?
This is an important question to answeras it will determine how you design your website. So, you have a brick-and-mortar store (or stores); do you want your website to attract more customers to the physical store, or are you hoping to open up a distinct alternative sales channel?
For the majority of businesses, the latter is the case, and those setting up an ecommerce site are often hoping to reach a new range of customers, potentially further afield and maybe interested in an expanded inventory compared to your previous retail store. In the fewer cases of very niche stores, a website can be a way of reaching people further away who are actually willing to travel to your store. This only works though if you are offering something they really cannot get anywhere else.
Advice for Creating the Website
In all cases, you need to provide the right information, which should be focused on your products, and even if you are transitioning to ecommerce, you can emphasize the company’s history of selling them from a small outlet. This type of authenticity cachet is great promotion for certain product types, and if you can show they were previously only available at your store, but are now online, you will give a strong sense of bringing unique and excellent products to a wider market.
You should also be sure to promote your physical store in all cases. Include information on where it is located, and including a bio or history of the store is also a great move. Even if you are after online customers and not new physical business, this only makes your brand look more impressive.
Azola Creative, an Ecommerce website design company with offices in Florida and California, say that beyond this, the usual well-known advice about ecommerce websites applies: All pages should be no more than three clicks away from the landing page, the website should be aesthetically consistent, related to your brand, and it should have a clear and easy-to-navigate structure. And beyond that, it is over to the appeal of your actual products to bring in the sales.