Opening an online storefront is a big project that takes considerable time and effort to accomplish. With such a huge undertaking, you’ll want to ask yourself a lot of questions before you make a decision. I cover many of these in AWG’s Online Shopping Best Practices video. Here’s a sneak peek:
Do you need or want a new website?
Some providers build an entirely new website for you with an online storefront built in. Other providers build only a storefront that links from your website. Then there are providers like Instacart, where their brand name is the main attraction, and your customers have the option to use the service with other retailers.
AWG has completed extensive research of the industry and selected three partner providers that align with our retailers’ needs. Each provider has their own price point with unique capabilities. You’ll have to determine which one best fits your needs. Our team is glad to help walk you through that process.
Do I have all our store’s data updated and clean?
When you sign on with an online shopping provider, they’ll first need data files so they can set up your online storefront. You can work with your POS provider, as well as your AWG IT representative to get everything ready to send to the provider to keep things moving along.
You’ll need to provide:
- Item file
- Pricing file
- Movement file
- Temporary Price Reduction file
- Random weight items file
- Weekly circular pdf files
What resources can I put forward to help the program be successful?
A good strategy for launching online shopping is to use existing staff. Pick at least two responsible employees who could be store directors in the future. Personal shoppers are the most important aspect of an online grocery program. Their ability to correctly pull orders, to be friendly and build relationships with customers make them critical brand ambassadors. I discuss this more in a past blog post.
One of the important keys of increasing customer engagement with your online store is changing their current habits when it comes to shopping for groceries. Studies have suggested that it takes customers at least 3 orders placed online to change their current shopping habits. Adequately marketing your new online shopping service is key to driving order volume. This not only includes advertising your service has launched, but also ongoing marketing activities to increase basket size of existing customers and attracting new customers.
There are hundreds of other questions you’ll want to ask yourself and others when considering an online shopping program. I’ll answer a few more of those in the 17-minute Online Shopping Best Practices video.