Thinking of Opening an Online Store? Some Things to Consider…
If you’re toying with the idea of selling online, you’re not alone—among pet retailers without one, 50% would like to open an online store in the next two years, according to the 2015 World Pet Association Retail Operating Performance Report. And it’s no wonder—online sales are lucrative, with Internet sales growing 23% in 2015 and more than 80% of people online reporting making an online purchase. But, ecommerce is not for everyone. Before you move forward, there are a few things you should keep in mind…
- The website itself. A well-designed website is essential for success. It must be secure, mobile compatible, optimized for conversions and optimized for search. Are you willing to make the necessary investment? What domain name will you use?
- Distribution. An online store requires an additional layer of product distribution and customer service. How will you ship products? Through a distribution center or your store? Who will assist online customers? How will the website be updated and maintained?
- Marketing. Amazon accounts for 26% of all online sales, and small retailers have a tough time competing against this online giant in terms of price, speed and ease of use. How are you going to drive customers to your website? A solid marketing plan is a must.
- Inventory. An online store requires more inventory. How will you manage this? You’ll need a plan to make sure you’re counting inventory accurately online AND in-store. Will you offer exclusive items online? Special online discounts?
- Differentiation. The Internet is filled with pet product etailers. How will you set your e-store apart? Will you specialize in a certain type of product, like organic ingredients or designer clothing? Will you offer local same-day or next-day delivery? In-store pickup?
Running a successful online store takes smart planning and a willingness to dedicate time and effort. With more consumers than ever shopping online, the opportunities are there. But the big question is, can you do it profitably? Do your research—learn more about ecommerce and online selling strategies in the pet industry seminars offered at SuperZoo, the year’s most popular event for pet retailers in North America, August 1–4, 2016, in Las Vegas!