ecommerce strategies for traditional companies

Today we see more and more traditional companies take a leap of faith and open an e-shop along with their brick and mortar one. In the coming years the ecommerce economy is expected to continue growing rapidly, so it’s safe to say that it is a great opportunity for success and sustainability for today’s store owners. However, building an e-shop doesn’t mean that you will automatically have a successful online presence. Your competitor is just a click away, meaning that, if customers don’t immediately like what they see, they will turn to the next promising online store in a matter of seconds.

What makes the ecommerce game even harder is the longer presence of the big players. Those are the ecommerce behemoths that entered the game way earlier than you and have invested huge amounts of money. They have already tested different marketing methods and now know all the best practices, making it so easy to make a profit online.

Of course, you cannot turn back time, nor magically find tons of funds. But there is something you can do to grab your share of the ecommerce pie: offer what the big guys cannot. Being different and walking the extra mile to personally take proper care of your customers can lead to great relationships and consequently boosted sales.

So, here’s is a list of five ecommerce strategies for traditional companies you can start implementing today to differentiate your business and make a notable online presence, without hurting your budget.

Go Niche

As big stores get very broad trying to serve every need, sometimes they can be chaotic and tiresome for the customer who is looking for one thing specifically. An ecommerce business focused on a niche market can better serve the client who just wants to do their business without wasting time, browsing irrelevant categories.

Traditional companies can concentrate on offering a very specific range of products. To give a solid example, one of our clients offers frozen yogurt for dogs! What they did was to take a popular trend (frozen yogurt) and give it a special twist for the dog lovers’ community, satisfying the want to give your pet friend quirky treats. And as it is a very unique business, they get to appear first in the Google results pages, ensuring more traffic.

Invest in Personal Relationships

Having an informal, personalized, and friendly tone in your communications actually helps to boost both conversions and brand loyalty. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2018, B2B companies with effective personalization on their e-commerce sites will outsell by 30% competitors without the same level of personalization. Big companies, no matter how friendly their employees are, will always be seen as “big companies”.

Today customers are encouraged to start shopping at indie retailers in an effort to help local businesses. You can take advantage of this by investing in cultivating personal relationships with your clients. Take the extra step to pamper your new customers and make the returning ones feel like loved friends.

Offer Alternative Payment Methods

Not everyone is comfortable with giving their credit card information online. On the contrary – especially in older, more traditional communities – many are reluctant to do so. Small traditional ecommerce businesses that are not yet a trusted name in the market can offer the option to “pay on delivery” and make those hesitant customers feel at ease.

Another option a smaller company can offer is “pick-up from a physical store” instead of home delivery. Customers get to actually see what they’re buying and have a real person answer questions they may have, benefiting from a more personal experience. Plus, they get to save-up on shipping fees, which can be very disincentivizing for small orders or heavy products.

Social Media Marketing

While the great number of “likes” and “followers” a large e-commerce company has can be intimidating for a small “traditional” one, the interaction that happens via niche businesses is daily and personal. Many customers prefer a small business that cares and takes the time to immediately respond even to the most trivial of queries, through a channel they daily use like Facebook Messenger, than an impersonal big company.

For small and medium companies billboards or TV ads are completely out of the question. Marketing through social media channels can wonderfully accommodate their limited budgets. Facebook ads are a great example where you can create affordable campaigns according to your budget. With proper tracking you can see what works and what not and invest your marketing dollars there. For faster results when your fan base is still small, try advertising to the friends of your Facebook Page’s fans. Because they see that their friends already like your page, it makes you look credible, and thus it’s more likely for them to press the “like” button.

Automate processes with an ERP

Budget is something that big companies usually have in abundance, while small and medium businesses strive to use every penny in the most productive way. Cutting expenses from one department and giving it to another can give a great boost. And because time is money, freeing up time by automating processes can be a life-saver. A small business using a cloud-based, inexpensive inventory management tool can see great benefits.

One of the most obvious benefits of moving to the cloud is the lower cost. Cloud computing spares companies the time and money-consuming processes of installation and maintenance, as you just pay for the service, and thus it is life-saver for small businesses and start-ups.

However, the main concern about cloud computing is data safety. Keeping yours and your customers’ data safe in a traditional way may be accompanied with high cost and risk, especially for smaller businesses with low server redundancy.

A significant number of companies across various industries already prefer cloud solutions over on-premises software having seen the above value. Megaventory is one such popular cloud-based solution, an inventory management system that can help businesses synchronize stock and manage purchases and sales over multiple locations.

The application provides concrete value as it is accessible from any location and by any device, significantly improving the way remote personnel interact with the products, the inventory locations and the business operations. Moreover, no software installation is necessary – everything runs on a web browser. This, as already mentioned, reduces cost and saves time by eliminating all the unnecessary complexity of maintaining your own server, software and equipment.

ecommerce advice for bricks and mortar store

Conclusion: What are the Best Ecommerce Strategies for “Traditional” Companies  with Limited Budget?

Ecommerce is expected to continue its rapid growth in the next years, so it is highly advisable for traditional businesses to try and establish a share of your sector’s profits. Remember that while it’s not too late to enter the ecommerce game, these practices take time to show significant results. You should not get discouraged if you don’t gain the online presence of your competitors overnight.

Give it time and you will be rewarded.

Written by Eirini Kafourou
Eirini Kafourou handles communications for Megaventory, the online inventory management system that can help small businesses synchronize stock and manage purchases and sales over multiple stores.