Strange Quark

Brick and Mortar and the Internet

Strange Quark - Brick and Mortar and the Internet

Mistakes To Avoid When Expanding Into Online Business

With time, most brick and mortar businesses will eventually expand their operations to include e-commerce. Even for those that may cater to clientele in a strict radius, it is important to be able to offer their services online, as more and more consumers are moving towards taking advantage of this convenience since one of the primary goals of any business is to expand, this is a natural fit for most. Many however tend to stumble when integrating e-commerce to their operations and often end up earning a bad reputation as an online business yet have a formidable one as a brick and mortar establishment. Here are a few mistakes that can be avoided and hopefully guarantee a successful foray into the online business world.

1. Forgetting to market online – just because you are popular in your neighborhood does not mean you will be equally popular in cyberspace without some effort. It is important to ensure that you are a top result for anyone seeking such a business in your vicinity. This is the best way to guarantee a steady flow of new clientele who rely on the internet to guide their purchasing decisions. Search engine optimization is just one of the several key online marketing pursuits that can help to build a solid online reputation.
2. Failure to diversify – while in some instances you may only be able to offer your products or services via your own website, it can help to do the same using intermediary marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy. If this is the option you choose to sell your wares online, be sure to diversify your channels to help maximize on your selling potential.
3. Not offering adequate customer service – just because your clients now prefer to interact with you online does not mean they do not desire some personal service. When a complaint or compliment is paid, it is important to ensure you respond quickly. Communication is key when doing business online and can determine whether a buyer will come back for repeat business.
4. Poor inventory tracking – there is nothing as annoying to an online buyer than the make an online purchase and later be notified that the item they ordered and paid for is no longer available. It is important to keep your online inventory records up to date, especially during sales and holiday periods where large volumes are traded.
5. Slow shipping – it is important to streamline your shipping process so that items bought can be quickly sent on their way once paid for. Delays that result in delivery timetables not being adhered to can result in confidence lost and the decision by a buyer to not make further purchases. Make sure that your back office staff is capable of fulfilling orders as they come in efficiently.

Common Mistakes Brick and Mortar Businesses Make

It is estimated that the majority of small business established fail within their first year of operation. This is often due to common mistakes that can be easily avoided if you know what to look out for. Here are five key mistakes that brick and mortar operations need to be most aware of at this crucial start up stage.
• Lack of adequate commitment – most people think that owning their own business and becoming their own boss will be better than being employed. In reality, being a business owner comes with a lot of stress and calls for serious commitment. You need to understand that besides the financial investment you will also have to devote a large amount of time into making the business work. Most businesses do not even break even during the first year so there is that additional pressure to deal with. Be prepared to stick it out for the long haul.
• Hire the wrong talent – brick and mortar business rely heavily on personal service to help guarantee customer loyalty. If your customers are being treated with indifference, then they are unlikely to keep coming back. Be careful in your hires and ensure you pick enthusiastic, positive and committed individuals who will help make your business premises a pleasure to visit.

• Not collecting customer data – customer data is very important not just when dealing with them face to face, but also when you eventually add online marketing to your promotional strategy. You can cheaply use channels such as email to notify clients of new deals and products helping to encourage their repeat business. Repeat business is the bread and butter of brick and mortar businesses.
• Not understanding the financial cost – brick and mortar business are definitely more expensive to set up than their online counterparts. This is because they involve an additional investment in premises, insurance and employees that are much more reduced for online businesses. Because you have so much more to invest in, you will likely need more startup money. Unless you have already saved for it, strive to seek the lowest cost options. Borrowing from friends and family, raise money online or seek an angel investor. These are a better option to mortgaging your home or seeking a business loan at more exorbitant rates.
• Over-ambition – while you may want to one day own a chain of superstores, you have to be realistic about the potential of your business plan, the market that exists for what you offer and the amount of startup money you have available to you. There is no shame in starting small. Many of the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs started out very small and gradually expanded to the mega corporations they now run. With time you can expand cheaply. When you establish a solid reputation, you will find that using the internet to expand your market can really help, just be careful about how you integrate online functions into your operations. Starting small also allows you to gradually add to your skill set and ability to manage more and more people, customers and revenue.
• Securing the premises – just because your shop looks like a mom and pop operation does not mean that everyone who walks through the door will adore it. Many fraudsters and thieves target new businesses because many do not take time to set up basic security measures like cameras. This is not just for thieving customers, but also employees. Have cameras around the cash registers to ensure that all the money being paid over is getting to you.