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Life After a Pandemic: A Guide to Bringing Your Retail Store Online

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been an undeniable catalyst for change in numerous professions, leaving America’s workforce in flux as it grapples with new concepts and infrastructures. In the retail industry, one of the pandemic’s most glaring impacts has been supplementary to an existing, albeit slow-burning, change: the transition from brick-and-mortar stores to digital storefronts.

This ongoing migration has been accelerated in the age of social distancing — in some cases, much sooner than anticipated. Now, with the holidays in full swing, many retailers must fully embrace their digital plans to remain afloat in uncharted waters. While this transition may be new and intimidating for traditional retailers who’ve never operated an e-commerce site, there’s a multitude of resources and best practices to help you kickstart the process.

As you bring your retail store into the digital realm, these steps will not only ensure a successful transition, they’ll support you in building a website your customers will want to revisit over and over again.

Secure your domain

You already have an established brand identity, now you just need to build an online version of that. In an ideal world, you should be able to secure a domain name that’s identical to the name of your company name. But there may be instances where your exact name is already taken. If that’s the case, this is where you need to get a little creative.

In order for your domain to be as SEO-friendly as possible, you’re still going to want to include your company’s name, but you’ll have to also include an identifying keyword. If you operate out of New York, for example, you could attach ‘NY’ onto the end. Or if you sell shoes, you can add ‘footwear’. Whatever keyword you include should be as relevant to your brand as possible so your customers can find you when they go to search for your website on Google. 

Whatever you decide, be sure to purchase your domain name as soon as possible so you don’t lose it. 

Align the essentials

With your domain set, the natural next step is to equip your site for smooth, functional transactions. This can be a time-consuming and overwhelming step in digitizing your brand, but retail software can help. 

You’re going to want to find software that’s predicated on convenient inventory navigation and multifaceted oversight. You’ll need to take inventory of site-allocated finances, establish a comprehensive budget, and determine how much of it to invest in site automation. ApparelMagic is especially equipped to aid businesses at this stage in the process, serving as a hub for PLM, CRM, manufacturing, accounting, inventory management, and order tracking.

Success is contingent upon this type of multi-channel control, as it ensures a positive buyer experience while keeping your site logistically sound. 

Invest in proper marketing

However you choose to market your new e-commerce site is entirely up to you, but the important thing is to research the best way to advertise to your unique customer base. The digitization of retail has completely redefined efficient customer communication, turning one-dimensional advertising into layered outreach via database technology and personalized analytics.

Keep your customers consistently engaged from the moment your digital retail space launches, using email marketing to send transactional messages, exclusive promotions, and customer service follow-ups. Expand your audience through social media, keeping customers informed through social advertising campaigns and shared site content. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer streamline content-based outreach, allowing account admins to quickly queue posts directing customers to your online inventory.

This traffic will not only increase your chances of added revenue, it will aid the collective SEO health of your digital venture. 

E-commerce may seem daunting at first, especially as the need for it rapidly increases, but it remains a great way to diversify sales, solidify a customer following, and take your business to an exciting new frontier en route to long-lasting success.