How to transition from e-commerce to brick-and-mortar. Hi, guys, I’m Syama Meagher, CEO of Scaling Retail. And do you know what? Having a brick-and-mortar store can be a really amazing and fulfilling experience. Are you an e-commerce brand that’s always dreamed of opening up your own space? Well, if so, guys, I want to break down for you just a couple key areas to pay attention to as you look to make that transition. Now, as we know e-commerce really is on the digital forefront. Everyone shopping online, they’re shopping through their cellphones. However, while consumers are spending upwards of 7 to 10 hours a day being connected with their phones, they also are doing more and more shopping in-store as they look for more experiential platforms.
So launching from e-commerce to brick-and-mortar is definitely something that I would say would be a fantastic next step for you if you are looking to build community, if you are looking to have a space, if you are looking to have other brands possibly, or if you’re looking to even build more of a branded platform and a hub for your customers. So let’s unpack a couple of the reasons, and ways in which you might be able to start to execute on that. Number one is going to be breaking down inventory and understanding that piece of it. Number two is going to be inventory management and POS. Number three is going to be location, super important.
And lastly, it’s going to be about merging the e-commerce and online branded platforms, right? How we go ahead and do that through a strong communication strategy. So let’s unpack it a little bit more. First, when it comes to understanding inventory, certainly guys, when it has a brick-and-mortar space, you need to stock product. Now, what’s difficult about stocking product is you have to anticipate how many units you need for your new brick-and-mortar store. Now, the clients that we work with who are first-time owners of brick-and-mortar spaces, we tend to start by understanding the square footage, we understand the kinds of styles and the skews that we have to present.
And then we say to ourselves, “What kind of space do we need? And how do we actually plan against the right inventory for that critical sales per square foot.” Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Well, can I just take my merchandise and just flip it and put it into a space?” But it’s different, right? When you look at a space, you have to think about visual merchandising, signage, lighting, all of those other critical components that are the difference between someone seeing your product and saying, “Oh, wow,” versus them seeing your product and saying, “Eh, does that seem like the right fit?”
So when it comes to figuring out that inventory, guys, what I suggest doing is starting off by taking a look at your location. How much foot traffic is coming by that space? What are the other stores that are also located in that neighborhood? That would give you an idea of what kind of traffic you should expect in your store. You can definitely ask the real estate person who is helping you, or the landlord who is leasing out the space to you about that kind of information. And then we start to unpack what that sales per square foot needs to really look like to cover all of your cost, right? Whether that’s the operating cost of the store, as well as any of the employee cost.
And guys, it should also help to support the cost of the merchandise. So when it comes to understanding sales per square foot, that is going to be a critical aspect of understanding how much inventory and sales you need to plan for. Now, the second thing that’s so important, and also, kind of, goes along with inventory, are the inventory management systems that you guys are using. Now, personally, if your e-commerce site is already on a platform like Shopify, you really got an advantage. And the advantage is that Shopify has a great backend that allows you to have a POS system to use that in-store.
That means you guys can be working from the same inventory. Your e-commerce site is going to be reflective real-time of any of the sales that you guys do in-store. And guys, this type of software is useful even if you’re planning on just doing popup shops, or you’re doing any of the markets, like Unique L.A., Renegade, etc. It’s important to make sure your inventory is really synergized. Now, I know I already went into location a little bit more, but I want to expand on this point. Location is critical because you have to ask yourself, “Do I want to take a low rent and be in a neighborhood or an area, let’s say, isn’t getting that much traffic? Or am I willing to spend more money to be in the ideal neighborhood and scenario in order for my customers to find the product?”
So depending on what your main focus is, if you need to keep your overhead low in the beginning, then I would say make sure you give yourself enough time to really build a following into that store. It’s a little bit different than e-commerce, right? With e-commerce, we can throw dollars at digital, we can throw dollars at social, all sorts of, kind of, dedicated email blast, online collaborations, influencers, etc., to drive traffic online, and you certainly have the benefits of SEO. But when it comes to an in-store space, if it’s not something that’s easy to get to or it’s a little bit further, then it’s going to take maybe a little bit of time to be able to get that foot traffic, and to get that following.
If you are in a higher traffic more dense zone, I would ask yourself to take a look at who are the other stores that are surrounding you? What are the other types of products that are sold in that neighborhood? Make sure that you aren’t the highest priced point item in a neighborhood that’s mostly selling contemporary brands. These kinds of questions are really important to ask yourself because, essentially, you want to be around other alike businesses, right? Maybe you’re not selling the same product, but you’re catering to the same demographic. Now, lastly, guys, when it comes to really building cohesion between online and brick-and-mortar, remember, your online business should be driving traffic to your brick-and-mortar, and your brick-and-mortar should drive traffic to your online.
So how do you do that effectively? Well, we take a look and say, from online shoppers, let’s start to give them bounce-back cards and coupons to use in store, or maybe start to market to them and let them know when we have the next popup that’s coming to their neighborhood. When it comes to brick-and-mortar, inside that shopping bag, maybe you also have some calls to action, or some coupons, or some discount codes to be used online. I also suggest using in your brick-and-mortar spaces strategic use of hashtags. That means have those hashtags printed on your mirrors, make sure you have great signage, make sure that your brick-and-mortar store doesn’t live and die in that space. Give it the benefit of that strong e-commerce platform and presence that you’ve got.
Now, it’s so interesting, I spoke the other day to some businesses in the city of Coral Gables working with the Chamber of Commerce, and working with the city itself. And I went and saw a lot of great e-commerce stores that also had presences in brick-and-mortar. And one of the biggest cool takeaways that we were able to discover with a few of these brands is one of the best strategies is to really show an internal 360-degree of your store on your website. These days it’s so easy to get access to drones and use that technology to bring a lot of life and movement to the store, and bring that online.
I highly suggest that you try out those strategies for yourself. All right, guys. If it’s your first time launching into brick-and-mortar, please shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We build and launch stores globally, and work with first-time and repeating business owners when it comes to building brick-and-mortar locations. We’ve got your back, we can help you with your communications strategy, your launches, all of your brand positioning. So send us an email at email@example.com, and in the meanwhile, check out the rest of our episodes on our YouTube channel.
We’ve got amazing talks that have to do with how to build your business, how to think about starting a retail store, and a lot of tips and tricks that are going to ensure that you have great success the first time. Also, come and find us, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, we are where you are. All right, guys, talk to you soon. Bye.
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