Guide to Moving From a Brick and Mortar to Ecommerce Business

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Overview

Transforming your brick-and-mortar store to an ecommerce brand can seem like a significant hurdle. After all, you have spent a lot of time and effort creating a precise feel to your in-person location and cultivating your customers from the local community. This guide will help you quickly build an online presence that fully encapsulates the experience of your physical store, allowing you to reach a broader audience on the internet.

Preparing Your Ecommerce Store

Think About Your Brand

Before you dive into building your ecommerce store, take a step back, and think about what makes your brand unique. Are you a brand that has a strong presence in the local community? Do you have big sales to get people to come back for more? Look around your store. What about your physical store do you want to translate to an online experience?

After you have an idea of what you love about your store that you want to bring online, develop your brand voice, tone, and style. The creative work you already have (i.e., your logo, signs, advertising, etc.) will inform your branding. Head to our guide on Guide to Building a Brand Voice for more information.

Additionally, subscribe to the marketing and follow social media profiles of brands that you respect. Note what they do that you like and what you could do to personalize your marketing to your brand.

With a solid idea of who your brand is, building out your ecommerce store and marketing will move much quicker.

Think About Your Audience

After you’ve considered what you want your brand to look like online, think about your audience. If you haven’t already, build out marketing personas to understand the groups of people who you want as customers. Check out our article on How to Identify the Audience for Your Ecommerce Store to get started.

As you build out or refresh your personas, think about where your prospective audience spends their time online. Familiarize yourself with the types of media they are viewing daily to get an idea of where you can advertise your brand. Unsure of where to start? Consider polling your current engaged customers with a text-only email.

Understanding your audience will also inform what kind of copywriting and creative work your audience will respond well to. Follow the social media accounts they follow, read and listen to the news they pay attention to, and watch the shows they find important. Once you have a good understanding of the copywriting and creative work your audience views regularly, you’ll be able to design your site and marketing communications much faster.

Building Your Ecommerce Store

With a concrete understanding of your brand and audience, you can start building your ecommerce site. There are several ecommerce platforms that integrate with your Klaviyo account. Pick the one that fits your needs most and get started. 

Regardless of which platform you choose, you can design your ecommerce store to have the same feel as your brick and mortar store.

Domain Selection

While it may seem minor, your domain is relevant to your marketing. Include the name of your brand in your domain name. If that domain is already taken, you can add personalization words or words unique to your brand. For instance, say your brand sells candles, and your business name is Beeswax, and you’re located in California. When building your ecommerce store, you find the domain Beeswax.com is taken. Instead, you can opt for an available domain like mybeeswax, beeswaxcandles, beeswaxCA. You will likely not change your domain name after you select it, so choose wisely.

After you’ve put in the base design for your ecommerce store (i.e., logo, brand colors, brand fonts), you can start building out your site.

Homepage

Although it may be tempting to spend all of your time crafting the perfect homepage, most shoppers will not land on your homepage or spend much time there. Your homepage should give shoppers a good sense of who your brand is, where they can browse your products, and where they can go to engage with your brand community.

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Additionally, on your homepage, have easy access to FAQs around your shipping timing, refund policy, terms and conditions, and privacy policy. It’s common to either place FAQs within your navigation menu and/or in the footer of your site.

Product Pages

Your product pages should reflect the same branding as your ecommerce homepage. Most likely, your customers will land on a product page either through a link on social media or directly in your emails. Follow the below tips to make your product pages shine.

  • Great Imagery
    As you’re taking images of your products, feature them well. Take high-quality photos that give someone a good impression of your product from all angles. Consider adding in a video of your products so customers can see how someone would use it in their everyday lives.
  • Product Information
    You’ll want to include as much information as you can about the products you sell. You want your customers to have a good idea of your product so they can judge if it is the right choice for them.
  • User-Generated Content
    If you use a unique hashtag, bring in images of regular people using your products in the wild. Using the candle example above, if the brand name is Beeswax, the hashtag could be #waxlife. This allows shoppers to see other people who purchased from your site and are enjoying the product.
  • Reviews
    Highlight as many success stories as possible through case studies and reviews. While it may be tempting only to show positive reviews, it’s crucial for customers to see users who might have had a less-than-stellar experience. It will make your brand more human and reliable.
  • Shipping and Return Information
    Links to or descriptions of your shipping and return policy should be on every product page.
  • Size Guide (If applicable)
    If someone needs to wear your product, include a size guide on the product pages.

Writing the necessary information for all of your products may be a particularly daunting task if you have an extensive product catalog. As you transition your business online, start by including only your most popular items from your physical stores and perhaps a few extras or new items. Over time, you can build up your online catalog.

After you’ve created your homepage and product pages, consider creating a blog or quiz so that your personality and passion shine through, and shoppers can engage with your site to build brand affinity.

Building a Marketing Strategy

After you’ve got your ecommerce store up and running, start building out your marketing.

If you’re new to email marketing, check out our Getting Started Handbook. If you’ve done email marketing before, but are new to Klaviyo, check out our article on Migrating from Another Email Service Provider to Klaviyo.

Owned Marketing

Integrate Ecommerce and Point of Sale (POS) Platforms

Your first step is to integrate your ecommerce platform to Klaviyo. We have platform-specific guides to assist you

After you’ve finished with the integration, you’ll want to create a way to bring in your data from your physical location into Klaviyo. Integrate your POS platform with your Klaviyo account, if possible. If there is no integration or you do not have a POS service, you can either send your data into your account through our API, or you can manually upload information as a CSV file. Once you’ve integrated your data from your physical location into Klaviyo, you can create a personalized marketing experience online for both customers who come to your physical location and those who only shop online.

Lists and Segments

After you’ve integrated your ecommerce store and POS with Klaviyo, create segments of different groups of customers.

If you’re new to segmentation, head to our Guide to Creating Segments.

Let’s run through key segments to connect your physical and online stores. In the following sections, we’ll detail how to use these segments in your marketing.

Recently signed up for marketing in-store

If you have a signup form in-store either through your POS or a physical signup form, create a list of these subscribers when you upload them so you can market to them differently than someone who has only engaged with your online presence. 

You can also use QR codes to have those in your store sign up online. For more information, check out this Guide to Using QR Codes to Gather Subscribers.

Purchased item in-store, not online

Likewise, create segments based on customers who have purchased an item in-store only.

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Location-based segments

Location-based segments are crucial for personalization and targeting in your marketing. There are three segments that you can create to enhance your communication with your customers.

Local shoppers
This group is segmented by your local shoppers. This is a key group to clue in about events and special in-store promotions. If you have multiple locations, create a segment for each store.

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Never purchased, in area
This segment contains people who have never purchased from you, have consented to receive marketing, and live near a physical store.

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With this group, encourage them to come into your brick-and-mortar store by offering in-store discounts or incentives.

Never purchased in-store, purchased online, in area
This segment is customers who have never purchased in-store, but have purchased online and consented to receive your marketing. Target this group similarly by giving them in-store promotions like a buy one, gift one deal.

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VIP in-store vs. online
Lastly, create two different VIP segments to develop different programs depending on their shopping preferences: in-store vs. online.

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For local VIP customers, you can send a thank you from a store manager and include local imagery and colloquial language.

Once you’ve built out your segments, dive into using them in your Klaviyo account.

Flows

Flows allow you to contact customers on their timetable, further personalizing your communication. Let’s highlight some key flows and splits to use to create an ideal online experience.

Welcome series for in-store and online
When someone subscribes to your marketing, they are extremely engaged with your brand, and it’s paramount that you capitalize on your welcome series experience. To start, have separate welcome emails based on someone subscribing to your marketing in-person or online.

For your online subscribers, give them information about your brand and welcome them into your online community. For your in-person subscribers, provide them with information about your brand, but also highlight how you are a part of the local community. You can even use common local expressions or imagery from your store or in advertisements around town.

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Post-purchase followup for in-store shoppers

Give your shoppers the same treatment as you would your online purchasers. Set up a flow for people who purchased in-store and follow up asking them to follow you on social media, leave a review, or give them an offer to come back.

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Win Back
In your winback flow, you can give an offer to nearby customers to encourage them to check out new items at your brick-and-mortar location.

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Campaigns

Sending targeted emails to a segment of your customers will outperform a batch-and-blast general email, especially when communicating with customers in your local community.

With your local customers segment, give special offers to customers who live near or have shopped at your brick-and-mortar stores, clue them in about events at your store, or send a different newsletter to your local customers than your online shoppers.

Does your community have a local holiday? Do you sell local sports memorabilia? Do you host popup shops elsewhere locally? Let local customers know. Your goal is to make your brand feel a part of the community and show that you are aware of local events and, by extension, your customers’ daily experiences.

Signup Forms

Signup forms are an easy way to personalize the on site experience for your customers. Using the segments we created above, you can give your local and online customers unique experiences through forms.

Target to the segments

Again, you can personalize signup forms to your local shoppers, informing them of events or simply using local phrases and imagery.

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Using your local segment, ask customers about their preferred store if you have multiple in the same city.

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For a deep dive into signup form ideas, check out our Guide to Creating a Signup Form.

Paid Marketing

As you create your online presence, it’s tempting to spend money on social media advertising and Amazon. Let’s take a look at how to do paid marketing well, so the bottom dollar goes into your pocket.

Facebook and Instagram

You can use social media to send targeted reminders about your brand. Create an advertisement to your local segment that has never shopped in-store to encourage them to do so. Additionally, you can highlight online-only deals and products to drive traffic to your site.

For more information, head to our guide on Integrating Owned Marketing with your Facebook Advertising Strategy.

On Instagram, consider adding your local shopper segment to your close friends list. This will make them feel a part of your community. You can also create a unique hashtag for local customers. Going back to our ecommerce domain example, if your business is Beeswax, your local hashtag could be #beeswaxLA or #beeswaxSF.

Amazon

Selling on Amazon is an easy way to increase your brand visibility, but it comes with some drawbacks. To sell wisely on Amazon, only have a curated selection of a few items. In your product descriptions, let your brand’s personality bleed through. Consider marking up the price of your items on Amazon to help defray the cost and drive people to purchase on your ecommerce site instead. For more information on how Amazon can impact your bottom line, check out our blog article on how Amazon impacted Beardbrand.

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