The world of e-commerce is increasingly attractive for sellers. The numbers prove the continuous rise of e-commerce even during crises, and this has been motivating entrepreneurs to expand their physical stores into virtual stores .

However, this does not happen overnight and requires a lot of planning. For this reason, we have raised the main steps that must be followed by business owners, from the definition of the digital image to the structuring of the logistics plan, and everything between these phases.

It is important to note that this step-by-step consists of perceptions that we have had over the course of more than ten years of experience. Many customers come to us at AfrikTech believing that it’s just a matter of creating a website and starting selling, but the success of an e-commerce starts long before it goes live.

A step-by-step guide to expanding your physical store to e-commerce

As soon as the entrepreneur sees the need to expand his physical store to online commerce, he will have to understand the importance of each step that will be taken to follow a path destined to success in e-commerce.

It is common belief that it is enough to access a website that promises an online store in a few clicks to be successful. But the reality in e-commerce is far from that, because it is the preparation that divides the businesses that really sell, growing year after year, from those that remain stagnant, without understanding the reason, even with good products.

Step 1: Get started with Digital Marketing right away

This step, in fact, is independent of whether the business will sell directly over the internet. It is extremely important for any type of enterprise, whether a physical or online store, to invest in digital marketing.

And for anyone planning to sell online, this becomes a must. Digital marketing allows you to take your business far beyond the borders of your city, and transforms what would be a street leaflet into a distribution of relevant content to an interested audience anywhere in the world!

Digital marketing encompasses the strategic use of social networks, sending emails to a specific audience, creating blog materials, and, mainly, the intelligent use of sponsored content to increase your visit and sales metrics.

And all this can be planned and used even before your virtual store is published, especially with the intention of making your brand known and being able to build a launch action, which will allow a great launch of your online store.

It is always recommended that the entrepreneur has his own team to take care of this department, or rely on an agency specialized in digital marketing, with experienced professionals who can understand your case and needs.

After bringing your business website to Afriktech Commerce, you will be able to count on specialists who will guide you with specific strategies for your business, which bring highly satisfying results.

Step 2: Reevaluate your niche

There are big differences between the base of a physical store and one in the same segment, but operating in e-commerce. One of the main distinctions is the consumer public and the competition, and we need to talk in particular about these factors.

Discover your new competition

Your physical competition may not be the same as your e-commerce business. This is a fact. Even if your city’s stores are already online, they are at the same time competing with much larger stores.

This means that you need to know even more about the positioning of all your competition within your e-commerce segment. Studying, analyzing and discovering the competition’s flaws are essential steps for you to understand how to stand out in your digital niche.

Understand the habits of your consumers

Who buys in your physical store, can continue shopping in your virtual store. But it is important to understand how your target audience behaves in e-commerce, in order to maintain and increase your customer base.

Depending on the segment, the public may even have certain difficulties in dealing with this new sales channel. Therefore, a process of educating your audience is a good idea, and that is why digital marketing before the launch of the store plays an important role.

All of that could change as your business evolves with Afriktech. Your niche can become even more targeted or broader, it all depends on how your e-commerce results will be. And the most incredible thing is that, with Afriktech, you have a Customer Success that takes care of every step of your enterprise, helping you to make the best decisions.

Step 3: Restructure your financial sector

A concern that is left aside during the process of opening an online business is adapting your finances to the new reality of the enterprise.

Because it is still recent, and with many peculiarities, it is always interesting to keep your professionals or services consistent with the paths your business will follow.

This sector needs to be aware and keep up to date, since an e-commerce requires different planning from a physical store.

In this topic, it is worth paying more attention to the need to draw up a new independent plan for your e-commerce. This is a step that often defines the financial success of the business, as it will treat and prepare the enterprise to have stability in the accounts at all times, without depending on taking funds from the physical store or other sources, which could be dangerous for the health of the enterprise.

Step 4: Empower or reinforce your team

It’s not just the financial sector that needs to be reviewed when expanding your business to the internet. Prepare and train your entire team for this transition or expansion of your business.

If your business is just e-commerce, you can train and redistribute roles among your team. Here are some functions that are important:

  • packers;
  • couriers;
  • Online service team;
  • Responsible for logistics;
  • Responsible for maintaining the site.

But, if you want to expand your business and maintain both fronts, the most interesting thing is to analyze, together with the financial sector, the possibility of hiring new employees so as not to overload your team and impair the performance of your professionals. Realigning and reviewing activities already carried out by them can be the first step.

Step 5: Plan your logistics structure

The importance of this topic is indisputable among all the e-commerce experts here at AfrikTech. Therefore, we have prepared several materials on the subject. Those who aim to work with online sales need to arrive with a well-defined and accurate logistics structure.

Having a good notion of inventory management is one of the most crucial skills for e-commerce to work without headaches. And to help with that, there are inventory management systems – ERP.

Once the business is up and running, it will be even more difficult to get the details right about the logistics of stocking, packaging, and shipping the goods. The ideal is to define all this in advance.

With them, many accounts and spreadsheet manipulations become a few clicks, and most processes are automated. Then every stock in your stock can be easily controlled in the system, and everything is under control.

The best part is that Afrikbrand offers an ever-growing range of compatible systems with the integrations available for our online stores. So, you can get to know our list of systems – integrated ERP and adapt your enterprise to them right away.

However, knowledge about logistics should also cover the development of the entire legal part, which guarantees the rights and duties of both parties, consumer and shopkeeper. It is of paramount importance to protect your business with this, in addition to also passing credibility to customers.

Another part that Afrikbrand facilitates for customers is the easy integration of resources to calculate and simulate freight, facilitating sales strategies. But, before reaching this stage with us, it is important to be aware of your profit margins, in order to be able to plan ways to sell even more and have an attractive revenue in your venture.