Transforming from traditional retail business to online retail

What must businesses consider when moving from a traditional retail business to an online business?
17 April 2018

What factors should businesses consider when making the move online? |Source: Shutterstock

T​oday, we are in the age of digital Darwinism; survival of the most adaptable to change. Advancements in technology are changing the way we communicate, connect, work, and discover at an alarming rate.

Businesses across a vast variety of industries are having to innovate and undergo a digital transformation in order to remain competitive. Those who don’t will simply fall behind.

This is especially true for the world of retail. With smartphones becoming the third-arm of millennials and an increasing number of consumers making purchases online, it is becoming fundamental for retail businesses to have an online store from which their customers can purchase goods and services.

But the journey from offline retail to online is by no means an easy journey. Here are four factors that all retailers must consider when making the journey online.


To build a successful e-commerce business, it is not enough to simply create a website. The consumers of today are demanding a shopping journey that epitomizes an experience, not simply just a transaction. Not only do they want speed and convenience, but they want personalization. Shoppers want the feel and friendliness of a local, offline store, but at the convenience of their fingertips.

Personalization strategies sure to deliver personal experiences to your customers include:

  1. Product recommendations: Suggesting products based on the shoppers current of past browsing session, or based on the behavior and interest of similar visitors.
  2. Guided selling: By including interactive product advisors, product searches, and even quizzes, you can gain a better understanding of a shopper’s needs. From this, you can serve them with relevant products and offers. This will also provide you with valuable data and insights to further improve your personalization strategy.
  3. Personalized emails: A good way to deliver a personalized experience to your customers is dividing them into different segments based on their past purchasing behavior and interests. From this, you can send targeted messages based on these factors, including offers and promotions to entice them.

Provide multiple payment options

In order to be a successful e-commerce business, you must provide a large variety of payment options at the checkout. This is a critical element of the sales process. When a visitor goes through the whole process of shopping on your site and then at the very last stage discovers their favorite choice of payment is not supported, this is likely to leave a bad taste in their mouth.

Does your website offer multiple payment options? Source: Shutterstock

Therefore, your online business should support all major credit and debit card brands in order to cater to everyone.

As well as this, third-party payment services should also be made available to enable payments, especially PayPal. Many shoppers without credit cards use PayPal as their primary online payment option- so there is really no excuse for not providing this option.

Make sure your online business is discoverable

Today, the online world is being saturated with millions of businesses. So in order for your brand to stand a chance against competitors, you must develop a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Social media marketing is a crucial method in the discoverability of your business. At the very least, your business should have a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profile in which to promote your business.

On these platforms, you can post product images, information on the latest promotions, company news, hold competitions to gain further exposure and more.

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Furthermore, an increasing amount of consumers are using social media platforms to make decisions before making a purchase- otherwise known as “social proof”.

As such, many businesses are harnessing the power of social media influencers, customer reviews, and user-generated content as a key marketing technique.

Go mobile

Today, we are a mobile-obsessed generation. Over 125 million US consumers own a smartphone, with over 60 percent of these owners making an online purchase via their mobile device in the last 6 months.

An increasing amount of online purchases are being made via mobile. Source: Shutterstock

Therefore, when creating an online business, you should also be asking if your website is mobile-friendly. This includes ensuring your website is speedy, making key information easily accessible, and providing snackable content.

If you aren’t building an e-commerce business with mobile in mind, then you may find yourself irrelevant in the very near future.