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Digital Transformation For Retail Businesses: How Can I Take My Retail Storefront Online?

Feb 05, 2022

There are a lot of things to consider when digitally transforming your retail business for an online presence. But don’t worry, Avensia is here to help.

There’s really nothing like the experience of going to a store and finding exactly what you’re looking for, even if you didn’t know you were looking for it. “Retail therapy,” as it’s called these days, is very much a thing. 

It’s because of this that physical retail has been growing and thriving since, well, forever. But there’s no denying that online retail, or e-commerce, has become a force in its own right in these modern times. Sure, maybe shopping online doesn’t provide quite the same satisfaction and personability as physical retail, but it compensates for that with convenience and crafted user experiences.

Then there’s the customer reach. Physical retail serves the people within a certain geographical radius of each store. Online retail serves potentially everybody in the world. 

Long story short - If you’re a retail business and you’re not online yet, now’s the time to make it happen. 

But how does a retail business take its storefront online? It’s not as easy as making a website and pressing a button. There are a lot of logistics to consider. There’s also a lot of infrastructure and strategy that needs to be in place to make it a successful venture. 

Below, we’ll talk about some things to consider when embarking on a digital transformation for your retail business.

If you’re a retail business and you’re not online yet, now’s the time to make it happen. 

First Things First: Your Digital Commerce Platform

Before you make your online storefront, you’re going to need a place for it to live. That means you’re going to have to find a technical platform on which to build your site. 

Can you make your own e-commerce platform? Yes, of course. But it’s going to take a lot of development work and a large investment while probably not yielding the results you can get from using an already established one. 

A lot of retail businesses, especially in the US, start by selling their goods on a marketplace like Amazon. And that’s perfectly fine. Amazon has a huge customer base and provides all the basics you’ll need to get up and running selling online. It also means you’ll be competing with the doubtlessly numerous competitors who are filling a similar role as your business for customers. 

The best idea is to shop around and find an e-commerce platformthat suits your needs. Don’t just go with the first name you recognize. Do your research and learn about the pros and cons of a variety of platforms. 


Build Your Online Storefront

When you’ve selected your commerce platform, you’ll need to build your digital store. A lot of platforms come with tools that make this easier than you might think, but you will still need to adapt the store to your business and in particular to your customers. 

Because of that, it’s a good idea to have a team of programmers, whether on staff or contracted, who are capable of programming websites. 

This is really the most exciting part. One of the major benefits of taking a retail storefront online is you get to completely craft the user experience from the ground up. In physical retail, that means decorating and implementing displays and employee uniforms, etc. In the digital space, it’s really open to the limits of your imagination. 

Of course, you’re going to want to maintain branding on your digital storefront to match that of your physical retail business. 

Really take the time to plan out every step of the user journey. What do you want somebody to see the first time they come to your online store? How do you want to guide them to their product choices and then to checkout? 

The more thoroughly you craft your vision, the more smoothly the website creation process will go. 

ABUOC, or Always Be Using Omnichannel

We really can’t stress enough the importance of omnichannel strategy when you’re taking your retail storefront online. While we call it a digital transformation for your business, it’s really more of an extension. 

Omnichannel basically means that customers are getting the same experience whether they’re shopping at your physical locations or they’re ordering from you online. That means branding should be the same, but it also means that your interactions with your customers, marketing materials, customer service, etc., should be communicating the same thing no matter how the customer is receiving them. 

By using omnichannel retail strategy, you’re allowing both your physical and digital presences to bolster each other, rather than working separately. 

Omnichannel basically means that customers are getting the same experience whether they’re shopping at your physical locations or they’re ordering from you online.

Utilize Composable Commerce

A big thing you’re going to have to consider when taking your retail storefront online is the software that you’ll be using for…well, everything. 

It’s likely that your commerce platform will come with some tools. There will probably be a PIM (product information management) tool, some form of CRM (customer relationship management), maybe a search engine and a logistics tracking tool, things like that. And those tools might be fine for your needs. 

However, if you want to complete the digital transformation for your retail business in the most efficient way possible, a composable commerce solution or a packaged solution could be your best bet.

Composable commerce essentially means picking and choosing the best tools for the job and “composing” a customized toolset that fits your specific needs best. It’s an up-front investment that will save you money and grief down the road while maximizing your online capabilities. 

So, you know what that means. Research, talk to experts, find out what the best tools are before committing to anything. 

Avensia Can Help With Your Digital Transformation

Bringing your retail business online involves a lot of planning and a lot of moving pieces. It might seem intimidating at first, and that’s okay. 

At Avensia, we’ve helped businesses like yours find success in the online retail market space. 

Confused about the best marketplace platforms for your business? Don’t know which software tools will work best for your needs? We’ll work with you along every step of the way, from website creation to data centralization and omnichannel optimization, to ensure that your digital transformation goes smoothly. 

If you or your business are interested in taking your storefront online, contact us today and find out how we can help.