Once you have successfully built your digital storefront and your physical store and products can be found online, the next step will be taking payment for orders online. This is when you will want to focus your efforts on setting up your e-commerce site.
In this blog post, we’ll go over how you can quickly set up your online product catalog for customers to see on your website and to order from.
The importance of selling online post-COVID-19
Brick and mortar retailers who are looking to sell online usually face the same set of challenges including missing product descriptions and images, incorrectly setup products or a lack of funds, resources, or skills to manage an e-commerce store.
While these challenges often prevent traditional retailers from setting up an online store, the opportunities you miss by only selling in-store and not investing in an e-commerce site are far greater. As an increasing number of consumers shop online post-COVID-19, failing to provide an online checkout experience means you are missing out on potential customers and sales
The good news is, modern day e-commerce providers have made it easy to set up an online store as they simply re-use your existing POS products. In fact, retail platforms such as TAKU eCommerce are even able to enhance product data to make your product details more e-commerce ready and more searchable on Google. By re-using existing product details, merchants using TAKU, for example, have the ability to showcase their products and take payments online in just a few steps.
To show you what this looks like, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of re-using your existing product catalog with TAKU eCommerce so you can quickly start taking payments online.
How to start selling online with TAKU eCommerce
Many traditional retailers become discouraged at the thought of setting up an online store. However, depending on the platform, it is actually quite simple to get started.
Let’s see an example of how this works with TAKU eCommerce:
1. Decide where to add your shopping cart
As long as you are using TAKU, you have two options to quickly start selling online:
Automatically create an instant store which is a clean, easy-to-use, single page webstore that works in every screen size. This option is usually best for retailers who don’t have an existing website, need to replace an older looking site or want to just add a new Shop option linked to their store products.
Or alternatively, if you already have a WordPress informational website, you can add the TAKU eCommerce shopping cart as a WordPress plugin. This option is super fast and preferred for retailers that want their online store to automatically match the style of their existing WordPress site.
2. Add your products
Adding your products to your online store in TAKU is as easy as enabling them with a few clicks. But even if your product details are not complete (e.g. your products are very unique or require custom product descriptions or images) traditional brick and mortar retailers should not be held back from launching their online store. In fact, retailers should expect to launch an e-commerce site without their full product catalog in the beginning. As long as a retailer has, for example, 100 products with images and descriptions, she or he can still launch and add new products overtime, eventually building their full online product catalog. In comparison to a physical store, it’s perfectly reasonable to launch with several hundred products and add new ones every day. In fact, highlighting that “NEW items are being added daily” on your homepage is a great way to keep customers coming back.
3. Add business information
In general settings, make sure that your business information such as your store name, store address, phone number, work email address, currency, and language are all correct. With TAKU, some of this information is automatically available but you may want to customize it for your online store. For example, you may want to use your trade name vs. your legal business name.
4. Legal information
5. Customize the look of your store
You can use any of the existing themes as they are or easily personalize your online store using the built-in options. Remember that TAKU eCommerce web stores are built to be completely mobile responsive so you don’t need to worry about how things will look on different screens – they will always look good on any screen size.
6. Check your web address
Every TAKU eCommerce store comes with a free web address in the form of “yourstore12345.company.site”. You can either use this free URL address, buy a new domain from a third party provider, or connect an existing domain that you already own.
7. Enable payments
TAKU eCommerce supports a variety of payment providers meaning that merchants can choose or setup the payment methods that best suit their business needs. This also gives merchants more freedom to negotiate with providers and lower payment processing fees/costs. While we always encourage retailers to take payment online to minimize the risk of losing the sale or shoppers not picking up products, with TAKU eCommerce, you can even include an option for Pay in Store. If this is your preference, you can complete the payment with TAKU when shoppers arrive in the store.
Once the steps above are complete, you’re ready to start selling online!
We hope you are now comfortable with the general steps involved when setting up an online store. In the next two blog posts and videos, we will discuss how you can add fulfillment methods such as contactless curbside pickup and local delivery.
Your business category on your Google My Business listing is used to describe the type of business you operate (pet store, hardware store, grocery store etc.).
It’s important to be specific when choosing your business category -the category you choose determines how local shoppers find you!
For example, if your primary category is “pet supply store”, your business will show up on Google when shoppers search for “pets”,”pet food”, or “pet supplies” in the area.
Important Things to Note
You can only select 1 primary category for your GMB listing.This is the category that people see on your business listing. It is also the most important – Google prioritizes your primary category in it’s search algorithm.
You can select up to 9 additional categories (other than your primary category) to describe your business. Focus on selecting the most relevant and specific categories for your business.
You can’t create your own category. It is best to choose a more general category if you cannot find the one that you had in mind.
Google can detect category information about your retail business from across the internet (including your own website and other mentions from across the web).
Which can be broken down into the following points:
1) Be as specific as possible when choosing a primary category. The more specific you are when choosing your primary category, the less local stores/businesses you will be competing against. For example, if you sell gift baskets, choose “gift basket store” instead of “gift store”.
2) Your primary category and additional categories should describe your retail business as a whole. Don’t add additional categories in an attempt to list all of your products, amenities, and services. For example, if you run a furniture business that also includes a pastry shop, avoid adding the category “pastry shop”. Instead, the pastry shop owner should claim their own listing and choose “pastry shop” as their primary category. Google suggests that you select categories that complete this statement: “This business IS a” rather than “this business HAS a”.
3) Try minimizing the amount of additional categories that you add. Although you may be tempted to select as many categories as possible, it’s important not to. Doing so will negatively impact your store’s local ranking. Only choose categories that directly apply to your business!
Note: Skip adding categories that seem redundant. Again, you should focus on adding the categories that are most specific to your business. Google will do the rest of the work! For example, if you choose the category “children’s furniture store”, Google will implicitly add more general categories like “furniture store” and “children’s store”.
For more information, on how to choose a business category, click here.
It’s the single most important tool that store owners can leverage to gain local exposure. But it’s not enough to just have a listing, you must optimize it so you can reach as many local shoppers as possible.
In this post, we’ll discuss the first step in optimizing your business listing.
What is NAP Consistency?
To get started, Google My Business will request basic store information including your store name, address, and phone number (also known as NAP).
This will act as the starting point for your store’s local seo.
It is extremely important that the NAP you provide Google My Business is exactly the same as the information listed on your website. Otherwise, your ranking in search results will be negatively impacted.
In fact, your store’s NAP should be consistent across the entire web – including other local directory listings and your social media.
This is known as NAP consistency: it can be defined as having your store’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistently listed the same across the entire web.
NAP is critical for any retail store that wants to rank high in organic search and be found locally. This is because NAP is what causes your retail store to appear in local or geo-targeted searches. In other words, when a user searches for product or store information, Google uses NAP information to decide which stores to display in the search results.
NAP Helps Google Determine Legitimacy
It’s important to note that Google prioritizes businesses and sites that it believes to be legitimate. And to determine the legitimacy of a business, Google will reference how a business’s NAP appears across the web (including websites, local directory listings, social media profiles etc). If this information is not consistent, Google won’t know to display your store information to local shoppers.
NAP Consistency Checklist for Retailers
1. Decide how to format your name, address, and phone number.
Tip: Keep your business name, address, and phone number consistent. For example, if you use Allison and Bret’s Pet Store, 123 Main street, and 555-555-5555 on your website, don’t use AB’s Pet Store, 123 Main St., or (555)-555-5555 on Google My Business.
2. Post your NAP on your website. You’ll want to ensure that it is visible on specific parts of your website including: a prominent location on your homepage, your contact page, and the header/footer on the rest of your webpages. You may also want to include an embedded Google Map of your business address on your contact page (this acts as a strong local SEO signal).
3. Post your NAP on your Google My Business listing. Remember, it has to be exactly the same as the information listed on your website.
4. Improve local SEO by listing your business on local directories. Again, NAP on each listing should be consistent with your Google My Business profile and your website. The following are some online directories that will help your store appear in local search results:
Bing Place for Business
5. Add your NAP to your social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc.).
6. Once your NAP is listed across the web, make sure to periodically check that it is accurate and consistent.
Looking to increase foot traffic and store sales? Easily implement Google Local Inventory ads with our new Google integration. Learn more here.
For those of you who don’t know, Google My Business is a powerful tool that allows retail businesses to connect with local shoppers.
And posts on Google My Business is a promotion tool that helps optimize a store’s business listing and increase foot traffic.
Put simply, it is an easy and free way to promote your business locally.
I’ll explain more below.
What are Google My Business Posts?
Google My Business posts is a feature that allows you to share content about your store on Google Search and Maps. It is similar to any other social media platform like Twitter or Facebook.
As a store owner, you are able to share news, promotions, events, and new products with shoppers. It posts directly to your Google My Business listing – so existing and potential customers can see your content directly in search results.
What are the Benefits of Google My Business Posts?
Posts on Google give retailers the ability to communicate with shoppers so they are better informed when making purchasing decisions. Which means that local businesses are able to:
Engage shoppers with attractive content (photos, videos, GIFS etc.)
Promote any new sales, products, or events
Improve shopper experience with relevant and timely information
Communicate directly with local shoppers
How Does it Work?
For each post, business owners can include text, call-to-action buttons, and/or photos or videos to promote their store. There are four different GMB post types including:
What’s New: Share general information about your retail business. For example, you can give shoppers an inside look at your Halloween displays and merchandise.
Events: Promote any upcoming events that you are holding. Each event requires a start time, end time, and a title. It is also good practice to include a photo/video,an event description, and a call to action button leading to a landing page for your event.
Products: Store owners also have the option of promoting any products or new merchandise. For example, a pet store could promote their new range of dog food. Keep in mind that product posts require a title and photo/video.
Offers: According to Google, 50% of shoppers are looking for promotions and discounts when searching for a business online. So provide shoppers with information on the latest sales and promotional offers. Offers will appear at the top of your business listing on both Google Search and Maps.
These posts require a title, and start/end dates. It’s also good practice to include photos/videos, descriptions, coupon codes, and terms and conditions of the offer. The call-to-action button “View” will automatically appear on all Offer posts.
Some Important Things to Note
GMB posts disappear after 7 days unless you set another shorter time frame. This is why it is important to post consistent and relevant content.
It is a good idea to include GMB in your marketing strategy. Place the same importance on GMB posts as you would on other social platforms like Instagram or Twitter.
Google provides insights on your posts – including how many views each post got. It also tells you how many users clicked on a link in a post
We hope you found this article helpful!
Would you like to learn how to attract local shoppers on Google?
Good news – we are hosting a breakfast seminar exclusively for GTA store owners! We will be discussing how you can attract more local shoppers with POS technology among other important topics. To learn more about the event and to register, click here.
Reviews are an important part of local search. According to Google, 2 out of 3 shoppers say having positive reviews was an important factor when selecting a business or store to purchase from. This means that most people like to do research before ever setting foot into a store.
This means two things:
More good reviews = higher ranking in local search
Higher ranking in local search = more foot traffic = more sales
It is generally good practice to ask shoppers to leave a review after they have made a purchase from your store. Touch base after a few day or a week to make sure that they are enjoying/ have enjoyed using your products. Also remember to ask loyal and long-term shoppers who have not made a purchase in a while.
How you ask for reviews is equally as important as when you ask for them – which brings us to the next point.
2. Make it Easy
Shoppers won’t leave reviews if it takes them more than 5 seconds to find your page. The easier the review process is for your store, the more reviews you are likely to gather.
Here are a few ways you can make it simple for your shoppers to leave a review.
Make Review Cards
Create physical “drop us a review” cards with your store’s short URL. Place them near checkout and remind your employees to hand them out to shoppers or put them into their shopping bags after they make a purchase. You will want to go over best practices with your employees.
Employees should hand these out to shoppers who have had a pleasant experience at the store. For example, your staff should look out for the following situations:
if an employee had a positive interaction with a shopper in-store
if a shopper was experiencing a problem and are grateful for your store’s customer service.
It is obviously a good idea to avoid handing them out to unpleasant or rude shoppers.
You can also create a reward system within the store for your staff. Create incentives for your employees; reward the staff member who hands out the most review cards or generates the most reviews.
2) Send a follow-up text or email
Go mobile by sending shoppers a follow-up text or create an email campaign after a few days of their purchase (so that they have time to try your products). Here are a few tips for what to include in your follow-up text or email:
personalize the email or text : you can personalize the message by including the shopper’s name. Not only do personalized messages make shoppers feel important, they are proven to have a higher open rate as well.
keep it short : make sure your message is short, simple, and straight to the point.
Include the short review URL : shoppers are not likely to try find your Google My Business account. Once you claim your short name on Google My Business, you will have access to a short URL that will directs shoppers to leave a review (shown below).
To get access to your short URL for reviews, you must first claim your short name. To find out more information about Google My Business short names and the steps you must take to claim your short name, click here.
3. You will see the “Get more reviews” box on the right side of the page – as shown below. Copy your short URL for reviews to share in your email or text message.
4) Add a Review Link on your Store’s Website
Include a “review” link or button on relevant pages of your store’s website. This might be on your contact page, thank-you page, or even a section on your homepage.
5) Incentivize shoppers
Offering shoppers a reward or incentive for leaving a review is a great way to gather more Google My Business reviews. Effective incentives include a $15 gift card or store credit, loyalty points, store merchandise etc.
6) Include a Review Link in your Email signature
Adding a short and simple call to action in your email signature is another effective way to gather Google My Business reviews. For example, “Your opinion is important to us! Drop us a review at [GMB short URL].”
This strategy is especially important for retailers who regularly email their customers.
Responding to Reviews
Once you’ve set up a process for gathering reviews, your focus needs to shift to responding to them effectively.
Responding to reviews shows potential shoppers that you value good customer service. It also shows shoppers that their opinions will be heard and leaving a review is worth their time.
If you are not making use of digital marketing tools, you are missing out on a huge chunk of customers!
Shoppers are now searching for retail businesses like yours online. According to Google:
3 out of 4 customers now use a search engine to find a business.
7 out of 10 customers made a purchase from a business they found using a search engine.
This is why digital marketing strategies are essential for retailers who are looking to drive foot traffic and sales.
To learn more about the benefits of digital marketing for retail stores, click here.
Below are three strategies you can leverage to build an online presence and attract more shoppers.
3 Online Marketing Tactics that Increase Foot Traffic
1) Local Directory Listings
Local search results present a huge opportunity for retail stores; according to Google, 80% of people now use a search engine to find local information.
This is why local directory listings are so valuable to retailers as a digital marketing tool – they help optimize your retail business for local search (or local SEO). In simpler terms, they help you be found locally by making your retail store appear in search results.
Directories feature business information such as your address, contact information, store hours along with other useful features such as customer reviews, images, videos, and preferred payment options.
Not only do local directories help you appear higher up in search results – they also help your business stand out among big box stores and online retailers.
As mentioned above, most retail stores haven’t optimised for local search while online competitors can’t compete with your store locally. Meaning – there is a competitive edge you can gain by focusing on local SEO.
To learn more about the basics of SEO, click here.
The following are some online directories that will help you get noticed in local search results:
Google My Business
Bing Places for Business
2) Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS)
Buy Online, Pick Up In-store or BOPIS (also commonly known as click and collect) takes advantage of consumer shopping habits to drive foot traffic.
To summarize, BOPIS drives foot traffic while offering several advantages to retailers including:
Higher rates of impulse purchases
Decreased shipping costs
Lower return rates
3) Google Local Inventory Ads
Google Local Inventory Ads are one of the most important digital marketing tools that retailers can leverage to drive foot traffic. This is because LIAs give retailers the unique ability to display a store’s in-stock merchandise – at the exact moment that a relevant local search is made.
When a shopper makes a relevant product search, and that product is available at a local store, they will be shown a local inventory ad with an “in stock” label.
Once that shopper clicks on the ad, they will be taken to the Local Storefront page. Here, they will be given more information about the product and your physical store including other in-stock inventory, current promotions, store location, and hours.
So by implementing Google LIAs in your digital marketing strategy, you will be able to target local shoppers and drive relevant traffic to your store!
We hope you found this article helpful!
Would you like to learn more about how to increase your retail store’s online presence?
Good news- we are hosting a breakfast seminar exclusively for GTA store owners! We will be discussing how you can attract more local shoppers with POS technology among other important topics. To learn more about the event and to register, click here.