Surviving When Your Doors are Closed


3 Steps for Turning Your Brick and Mortar Into an Online Store

So many small businesses are facing the crunch of the coronavirus. If you are not in one of the essential industries, you most likely have been or will be forced to close your doors for an unspecified amount of time.

What a perfect time to build your online presence! 

An online store can save your business now during the stay at home orders and help you grow in the coming months and years as the human race realizes that we can practice social distancing during cold and flu season. You may think this hasn’t changed anything long term, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

That is the meaning of PDS’s Survive and Thrive.

Building your online business now will help you survive the quarantine and thrive in the new economy.

So, here are the 7 steps to turning your brick and mortar location into an online business.

1. define your distribution

Distribution can be difficult to define. To simplify the complex, simply write (brainstorm) 5 answers to the following question:

  • What is something I can do or give to people without my brick and mortar?

One of my clients owns a coffee shop. She has discovered two things that she can distribute while her business is shut down: gift cards and coffee by the pound.

Other ideas include teaching people something about your business, delivering a variety of products, doing drop off/take out services where people order online, creating information products or services, and so on.

When you have 5 things that you can sell to your customers, then answer the following question:

  • How can I communicate with my customers so that they know I am still in business/offering this new product line?

Answer these two questions and you are on your way to defining your digital distribution.

2. create your plan

Now that you know what you are going to sell and the platform you are going to sell it on, it is time to create a more detailed plan for running your online business while your brick and mortar is shut down.

The trick for creating a detailed plan is not to get too bogged down in the details (I know, sort of counterintuitive that a detailed plan needs less details). The plan for getting your business online needs to look at what you are going to offer (pick 1-3 of the 5 possible products) and plan out the actions you need to take in order to offer those products or services to people.

It can be: find a software to offer gift cards, sign up for the software, share that I now have gift cards.

That is a three-step plan that is fairly detailed. With a few more sub-details (add a link to gift cards on my website, design gift cards, add gift cards to current marketing mix), you have a detailed plan on how you are going to sell gift cards on your virtual store.

Do this for each of the 1-3 items you chose to sell. Plan to develop the product/service, to offer the product/service to customers, and to market it.

3. Execute the Plan

I know, I have 4 more steps! But really, once you have a distribution plan in place (product/service and an audience to sell to), you have the basics for building an online store. So now, take the action steps necessary to create your product or service, do them, and then communicate about them to your brick and mortar’s audience.

Sound simple?

Simple yes, easy, no.

If you want to spend a little more time dialing into your business and working out the difficult spots to stay in business and grow in business in this chaotic time, give me a call (704) 286-2118 or join our free Facebook group.