As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, your customers are thinking about starting their spring cleaning and will eventually want to refresh their homes and closets with fresh new items. After all, nothing says spring like a shiny new pair of shoes or adding colorful statement piece to the living room! While commercial streets may be getting busier, you’ll need to come up with a smart strategy to make the most of spring. No matter what kind of retail business you own, building an online store should be at the top of your priorities if you don’t already have one.
There’s no doubt about it, ecommerce is a lucrative and advantageous avenue for modern retailers. While most entrepreneurs agree, many still hesitate to hop on the eCom bandwagon. Take a look at these four common fears retailers have about going online and why there is nothing to worry about with Lightspeed’s omnichannel solution.
I don’t have the budget for an online store.
You know your sales floor like the back of your hand. You’re a master in the art of welcoming customers and know exactly how to advise them so that they leave your store with their new favorite purchase in hand. Yet, you may be among the many retailers who are hesitant to extend their expertise online. As the retail industry shifts toward digitization, you most likely have considered going online but the anticipated cost of this business move may have stopped you in your tracks.
What if we told you that getting your online store off the ground was more affordable than ever? No need to splurge on a team of developers and designers, we’ve got your back!
This spring, make your profits bloom without breaking the bank with a little help from Lightspeed. We believe in the future of independent retail and we’re confident that ecommerce will be instrumental in this success. Find out more about Lightspeed eCom.
2. My store’s success doesn’t depend on whether I’m online or not.
Some retailers made a name for themselves long before the internet was even invented. Is a web store really necessary when your brick and mortar has been doing well for years? The answer is yes and Martin Deshaies, owner of Montreal’s historical Tony Pappas shoe store will tell you the same. The shoe and shoemaker business set up shop on Mont Royal avenue at the beginning of the 1900s and while its success has continued since, owner Mr. Deshaies has noticed a clear change in his customers shopping habits.
He’s noticed that more and more “hybrid” customers have been shopping at Tony Pappas. These are customers who may have first encountered the brand on Facebook, through their online boutique or looked up the shop online to find its business hours, address or available stock. Mr. Deshaies is adamant that he would have lost these customers if it weren’t for his online shop.
Today, 81% of modern consumers look up a store online before visiting it to make a purchase. Contrary to widely spread concern, brick and mortar stores like Tony Pappas or Etiket beauty store, co-founded by Simon Tooley, are far from closing their doors. In fact, both business men agree on one thing: their stores’ success in due in great part to their shift toward omnichannel.
Besides the fact that TonyPappas.ca is an important touching point for customers who wish to shop more efficiently, the website is also instrumental when it comes to moving dusty inventory. Its second location, in Saint-Mathieu de Beloeil serves as a warehouse where past collections and less popular items are stocked – although never for long! Think of those faux fur mittens that didn’t sell as well as you expected last winter. What about the ripped jeans that were simply too thin for the colder months? An online store is the perfect place to give last season’s unsold merchandise a second life while making more room for your new spring collection. In addition to making inventory rotation easier, Mr.Deshaies’ and Mr. Tooley’s online stores allow them to sell beyond their city’s limits. Tony Pappas has several customers in the Eastern Townships, in Ontario and even as far as Vancouver and the United States. By turning to ecommerce, these independent retailers increased their sales, reduced dusty inventory and widened their customer base. So while you may already be successful, there’s no doubt a web store would allow you to break your own records! Going online sounds more tempting now, doesn’t it?
3. I’m not tech savvy enough to design my own online store.
Many retailers tend to get discouraged by the idea of getting their ecommerce expectations off the ground because they simply assume that they lack the technical knowledge necessary for this kind of project. You already have to rethink your store layout, pick out items that will help you stand out from your competitors and hire new staff in preparation for the busier months. Who’s got time to hire a designer or teach yourself how to code?
Let us stop you there. Yes, getting your online store off the ground is a time consuming process (considering that you’ll have to upload your inventory and the images and descriptions that go along with it) but, with Lightspeed’s pre-built and customizable website templates, it doesn’t have to be difficult at all.
Audrey Morissette, owner of Montreal boutique Vestibule swears by her Lightspeed online store: “I put a lot of work into it”, she admits. “But the result is exactly what I had hoped for!” Visit her site to witness Lightspeed’s beautiful themes in action.Like Vestibule’s site, yours won’t require a designer and you won’t have to enter a single line of code to make the magic happen!
That being said, help is always available at Lightspeed and you can count on our support team 24/7, always free of charge.
4. I’m already active online via social media. A webstore isn’t necessary.
It’s true, your presence on social media is key to your store’s success. However, tweets, Instastories and Facebook posts simply aren’t enough. Your customers go online seeking immediate and precise answers but if the entirety of your raincoat collection can’t be found (and purchased) online, you’re missing out on major sale opportunities and potentially losing customers.
What are your business hours? What styles of bomber jackets do you hold in store? Are they available in all sizes? What if your customer only wants to buy local, is that option available to them? As a retailer, it’s important to anticipate every question both in store and online. Remember that customers who don’t find what they’re looking for exactly when they’re looking for it might be more tempted to take their questions (and business) elsewhere. On the other hand, customers who find what they are looking for on your digital store are more likely to browse through the rest of your site and, who knows, possibly find other items they like. In addition to helping you close sales, an online store is a powerful way to secure customer loyalty and increase your brand’s exposure.
For instance, consider Homesense, a giant corporation which has an official website but has chosen not to sell through this channel. Despite the store’s great reputation and large client base, it is greatly disadvantaged by the lack of availability of its merchandise online. Customers who look up decorative items on the website are denied the option of browsing their products and don’t even get to make the purchase online and pick it up in-store. Remember, if transition from winter to spring comes with a long to-do list in your boutique, chances are your customers have a lot on their plate at this time of the year too. This is why you should make their seasonal shopping as easy as can be. Trust us, they’ll reward you with their loyalty and a noticeable boost in your bottom line.
Having an online store means never shutting your business’ doors. You could be making sales around the clock and reaching customers anywhere in the world, all while increasing your visibility with local consumers.
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