How to Move Your Offline Retail Business Online

Small businesses and shops classed as ‘non-essential’ have suffered from lockdown closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of struggling from one period of restrictions to the next, moving your business online could help you survive through these trying times. Here are a few tips to consider.

1. Choose a Domain Name

It sounds simple, but selecting a domain name that’s easy for your customers to remember and type and describes your business in a short combination of words is a skill in itself. You can search for ideas with any domain provider. If you visit names.co.uk, there’s a handy tips section on how to find the best one for your business.

2. Make a Website

Before you decide whether to hire a professional web designer or go for the drag-and-drop website-builder option, you should first think about what you want from your website. If it’s to offer services, then you may need a blog, for example, but if you’re looking to sell products through your website, you’ll need an e-commerce platform. Talk to your web designer or browse your website-builder for a look that suits your brand.


3. Consider What to Sell

If your business is selling products, start by adding your top-selling items to your website as well as those items customers inquire about most frequently – this can help you find new products that could boost your online business.

4. Make Sure You Comply with the Legal Requirements

Taking your business online may bring with it more requirements to comply with, depending on your business type and how you plan to run it. For rules and regulations on online selling, the Government’s website is a good place to start.

5. Set Up Payments

As more customers shop online, they’re expecting to see a greater variety of ways to pay. Look for a website platform that can accommodate different payment gateways such as credit cards, Google Pay, PayPal and more.

6. Let Your Customers Know

Once you’re all set, it’s time to announce you’re online. Send an informational email to everyone on your email list. Use social media – announcements on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest will reach a greater audience. Make sure announcements include a link to your website. Finally, start working on SEO for your site by researching keywords people use to search for businesses similar to yours.

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