With COVID-19 (coronavirus) on everybody's mind, many retailers are closing their stores and move their business online. The big question is, "how do you continue to make sales when your physical location is closed?" My store (Alora Boutique) briefly had a physical location a few years ago, and we decided to move it online after our lease was up.
Here are some tips on how to make a successful transition from a retail location to an online store.
- Email or text message all your customers
- Create an announcement bar on your website
- Sell through social media
- Create a look-alike audience
- Implement conversion rate techniques
- Reach out to your local community
Email Your Customers
> The first thing you should do is utilize your email list. Make sure you reach out to all of your customers as soon as possible and tell them about your store closing. You can use a plain text email, but make sure to redirect them to your online store and tell them that you will still be available to fulfilling online orders! Don't think that you are annoying them! Sending your customers and email is a great way to show them that you are thinking about keeping them and your employees safe and healthy during this time.
Add an Announcement Bar to Your Website
The next thing you should do is add an announcement on your website to alert online visitors to your store closure. You can add a link to redirect them to your shopping page. Just make sure that the announcement is at the top of your website and in an eye-catching colour.
The best place to put your announcement is above your logo. You can use Fera.ai to add an announcement bar (use the free shipping bar and modify the text) to your Shopify, BigCommerce, or Magento store.
Leverage Your Social Media to Sell!
After you've made your formal announcement, you can leverage your social media to make sales. Using social can be especially useful if you have a large following, and your website is not optimized for shopping. I have seen some brands such as Buttercream Clothing sell many items using Instagram by promoting a sale and encouraging people to comment with her intent to buy below. Once for sale is done, she will send a PayPal or a transfer request to the people who bid on the items they saw on Instagram. Selling on social media is a super-easy way to generate sales when your website isn't correctly set up for eCommerce.
Create a Look-alike Audience
Another way to continue to generate sales after your physical store is closed is to create a look-alike audience on Facebook with your existing email list. Here's a resource on how to create a look-alike audience. Creating a look-alike audience with your existing customer base is a great way to reach new people who live outside your geographical area but are very similar to your current shoppers. You can look at this as an opportunity to expand your revenue streams well your store is closed because of COVID-19.
Optimize Your Conversion Rate
After you've done a bit of damage control around your store closing, you may want to try and update your website for conversions. If you're going to optimize your conversion rate make sure you add things like
- a solid return policy
- product descriptions
- trust icons and badges
- social proof
- detailed about us page
A Quick Note On Social ProofYou'll want to add a lot of social proof to your website because now that people cannot shop in-store, you'll need to re-create the in-store experience online.
Get Customer PhotosEncourage your current customers to take photos of your product in use and add it to your product page. You want to show shoppers how much others love your product and your brand.
Show Low-Stock Warnings
You'll also want to use things such as low stock counters to indicate that some items are almost gone. Remember, people can't see the low stock on the shelves, so you'll have to create urgency with things like counters and recently bought pop-ups. Nothing will truly be able to replace the in-store experience, but because you have to close your store, it's essential to come up with creative ways to evoke the same emotions that people get when they are shopping in person.
Reach Out To Your Community
Remember, people are looking for ways to support you, so make sure you reach out to your local business association or influencers and ask them to promote you during your store closure. We hope you get through this challenging time with an alternative revenue stream that will help you grow your business in the long run.
We're offering three months free of Fera.ai so that you can re-create the in-store buying experience online with social proof. Add Fera.ai to your store today!