In this article, visual merchandising and retail strategy expert as well as Co-founder of Talkshop, Sarah Quinn discusses why you should take create an online presence for your bricks and and mortar store, as well as the associated benefits.
Over the past few months, the most common questions independent retailers have been asking the TalkShop team are;
1 – Should I have an online shop for my bricks shop?
2- How do I set it up?
3 -What platforms should I use? (keep reading for 10% off our recommended platform)
We say, “the short answer is, yes.” It’s a very intelligent addition to a physical shop. If you have a bricks and mortar store that is running relatively smoothly, you should have an online shop to support this.
Then comes the independent retailer reality check.
You are a business owner. You have enough on your plate, there is already so much on your to do list. Starting online sounds so foreign and so overwhelming. We get it. But let us share a secret with you, having an online shop running out of your existing retail shop is a very smart way to do business. You are already paying the overheads; you already have the stock & somewhere to keep it. You already have a brand & business model. You already have employees. You have already done all of the hard work. You need to make the most of it.
Creating an online shop is actually easier than you think.
At TalkShop being the supportive people that we are, we have investigated, experienced, researched, asked questions to retailers like you. We have spoken to the people who build the sites, spoken to the retailers who have it set up, then combined all that information with our experience & can now share this information with you…
Here are the benefits of an online shop:
- You can run your online shop from your bricks shop with little additional overheads.
- Having an online shop, means that on the quiet days your shop team can be busy packing online orders, uploading SKU’s into the system, replying to online enquiries, photographing products for your online shop and the list goes on.
An online shop:
- Brings additional revenue, which grows your business.
- Is an additional way to clear sale stock.
- Is a new way to show & talk about your products.
- Means you are open 24/7.
- Opens your audience up to the world! Imagine your potential customers.
So, now that we have convinced you that an online shop is good for business, how do you go about setting it up? Firstly, there are two important components.
Setting up an online shop
1 – POS/ Stock Management: You need a good system to manage your stock. You want this system to manage both online & in-store stock simultaneously. It’s too time consuming to have varying stock pools (one lot of stock for online & one for the retail shop).
2 – Website platform: You need a domain name (www.) & a platform. You want one that is specifically designed for your retail business. It needs to link with your POS system & should take online payments then pop them straight into your bank account… Hello additional $$$.
The next component is to get these to work smoothly together.
Stock Management & POS Platform
For stock management/POS, we recommend Vend. Vend has been designed by retailers for retailers. It allows you to do all the relevant retail things like; sales analysis, sales reporting, sales, balance & reconciliation and product/stock management. It’s easy to use in store, has a scanner, can be used on an iPad, and it helps to keep control of what you physically have in-stock. It is user friendly, quick, & mistakes are easy to reverse. As well as linking to the bank. The benefit of all of this is that you can review sales in detail & make good business decisions such as where to spend your money when buying. Vend also allows you to manage your stock as one pool. You can connect it to accounting programs like Xero. Imagine the time you can save using an intuitive program like this?
Vend have remote training packages, a support team & really useful retail blog. Psst…. We are really excited to have partnered with Vend to offer you a 10% discount on your subscription. To enquire about this, simply book a free 15 min call with Sarah from TalkShop.
Website platform & domain registration
The website platform that we recommend is Shopify. Shopify is designed specifically to sell products online. It’s easy to set up, you don’t need to know code & again it’s very intuitive. Shopify also connects you to a domain name (if you don’t already have one). They have heaps of free online courses so that you can quickly learn what you need to. We recommend starting with this one here. This course will teach you how to set your Shopify shop.
Pricing guideline to set up online
- Domain Name from $20 per annum.
- Shopify from $29 per month.
- Vend from $119 per month.
Marketing your online store
Lastly, you will need to market your brand new online store. You may already have some online platforms like Instagram or Facebook that will allow you to directly link to your online store. If not, there are plenty of online courses like these on Shopify that will guide you in the right direction.
We hope that this makes the decision easier for you. If you need any help at all, we are available to chat on the phone (yup – we are real people who love to TalkShop – hence the name), you can also send us email or message via Facebook/ Instagram.
By Sarah Quinn – VM & Retail Strategy, TalkShop.
TalkShop offer bespoke retail consulting to small businesses and independent retailers. Learn more about how you can create positive in-store experiences for your customers from Co-founder of TalkShop Sarah Quinn at her Masterclass Series at Sydney Gift Fair. You can register for this free session here.
Sydney Gift Fair 2020
Where: Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney Olympic Park
When: Friday 21st February – Monday 24th February 2020
Hours: 9am – 6pm (Friday – Sunday) & 9am – 5pm (Monday)