How to Successfully Add Ecommerce to Your Retail Business

How to Successfully Add Ecommerce to Your Retail Business


There are many reasons why a retailer would want to dip into the world of ecommerce.

For one, you want to grow. Your customers are already online because they love the convenience of online shopping. If you want to stay current with the latest trends and tap into the digital market, it pays to have an online presence.

Two, some items may be easier to sell online. If you have trouble moving your inventory or you have underselling products or services, an online store may be the perfect place to create an additional source of revenue.

But if you’re not sure about how to transition to ecommerce successfully, or you’re just hesitant to build or promote your online presence, there are a few things you should know.

Here are 6 Physical Retailers with Awesome Online Businesses


Shopping online

Why Brick-and-Mortar Stores Need Ecommerce

Ecommerce sales are predicted to grow to $370 billion in 2017. If that’s not enough incentive to tap into an online market, consider the benefits of adding ecommerce to your brick-and-mortar store:

  • Measurable results – Online shopping leaves a trail of data that’s easily analyzed. While physical retailers often rely on generic sales figures or customer satisfaction surveys to measure success, data from online users can reveal more significant patterns and customer behaviors, allowing you to target products and prices more directly to consumers.
  • Flexibility – Retail is about reacting to customer’s behavior quickly and efficiently. Changing inventory, pricing, or creating discounts doesn’t always happen instantly in-store, but it can online with the click of a button. Ecommerce stores allow you to quickly notify customers of important information, offer discounts, and promote selected products at the drop of a hat.
  • Brand awareness – Even customers that are already familiar with your physical store may browse products online first before heading there in person to make a final purchase. Your online presence can reach shoppers who are searching online and drive some of them to your nearest location. It has the added benefit of reaching customers who would never set foot in your physical store because of location concerns or other factors.
  • Holiday shopping sales – In-store Black Friday sales fell by 12% last year compared to 2014, while online sales rose by 13%, which makes having an online store completely worthwhile, especially during the holiday shopping season. Consider that overall sales in physical stores fell by 5% or more last year compared to online shopping and you have a valid argument for launching an online store.
  • Low start-up costs – The best part of adding ecommerce is that start-up costs are relatively low. Rent, payroll, utilities, property taxes and insurance will never factor into the equation. In fact, most of your online store can be automated, taking relatively little attention away from your physical location.

If you’re still on the fence about setting up an ecommerce store, remember that there’s very little risk involved. If you’re not seeing the results you want, you can always go back to a static website. In all likelihood, however, you may find that having an ecommerce store benefits your physical location more than not having one.

How to Get Started with Ecommerce

If you’ve decided that ecommerce is something you’re ready to try, getting started is fairly straightforward.

1. Sign up for an ecommerce platform

There are many ecommerce platforms to choose from, whether you’re starting from scratch or simply integrating with your current site.

If you’re starting from scratch, consider using platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce, which exist specifically for ecommerce websites.

If you already have a WordPress site, you can utilize a platform like WooCommerce to attach a store to your current site. There are also a variety of other plugins and platforms that will allow you to build a store on your current site.

2. Sign up for a merchant account

If you’re using Shopify or BigCommerce, you will automatically have a merchant account that allows you to accept and process payments online. If you’re using something like WooCommerce, however, you will need to sign up with a third-party merchant account service, like

3. Integrate with your current POS system

You may discover that your current POS already integrates with your online store, so if that’s the case, don’t worry about this step. If you don’t have a POS system that’s fit for online use, however, consider upgrading (we recommend Clover) so you can manage both your physical and online stores from one place.

4. Create an online marketing strategy

Marketing to your brick-and-mortar shoppers won’t be the same as marketing to your online shoppers. TotalRetail has a great article here with advice for marketing to each platform.

How to Use Your Online Presence

Once you have an ecommerce store setup, you need to know how to use it.

What many retailers don’t realize is that ecommerce is much easier when you already have an established business because you already have an established customer base.

Therefore, the goal of your online store is two-fold:

  • To increase your level of notoriety and bring in new customers
  • To make your current customers happy by offering them additional online services

So how exactly do you do that? Here are a few creative ways you can use your online store to reach customers:

  • Browsing – Allow shoppers the ability to browse your products online before they come in the store. This can be helpful for any type of business, whether it’s browsing a restaurant menu or a selection of clothing or other retail items.
  • Social promotions – Offer in-store or online discounts for customers who promote your company on social media through tagged images or mentions.
  • Delivery – Offer delivery service if a customer is close enough to your physical location. If you really want to reach new customers, you can also offer shipping services for certain products or baked goods for those who can’t access your physical location. For example, The Cute Little Cake Shop has a physical storefront but also ships their cakes nationwide.


Source: The Cute Little Cake Shop

  • Sell gift cards – Many physical stores use their online stores to sell gift cards, which users can either use online or the next time they pop into your store.
  • In-store pickup – Along the same lines as delivery, you can also use your ecommerce store to allow customers to order online but pick up in store.
  • Cross promotion – You can entice your online shoppers into coming to your physical store by offering a discount online if they pickup in-store, or tell people in-store that they can get a discount if they shop online.

The possibilities are endless. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your online offering, and remember that your ultimate goal is to make the lives of your customers easier so they come back for more – either in person or online.

Check out these 6 brick-and-mortar retailers that are succeeding with ecommerce

Final Thoughts

If you want to drive business to your physical location, or simply expand into a new market, having an ecommerce store in addition to your physical store can be extremely beneficial.

Not only will you reach a new market, but you can also make the lives of your current customers much easier. To get started, research the best platforms for ecommerce sites, and if you already have a website, make sure that the integration is seamless.

Be sure to consider upgrading your POS system to accommodate both physical and online storefronts, and don’t forget to be creative when it comes to your promotions. Unlike your brick-and-mortar store, the sky is the limit when it comes to building your digital empire.

How To Open A New Restaurant – Part 1

How To Open A New Restaurant – Part 1

According to National Restaurant Association in the USA, 1 million restaurant locations are currently competing for customer attention. It’s because of this huge number that there is a strong need for new restaurants to carve a niche for themselves in the market.

Despite the tough competition, more and more people are dreaming of owning an eatery of their own. Yes, opening a new restaurant is a risky business venture. But which profession is not? Moreover, with smart planning and rational financing options, it is possible to turn this dream into a reality.

If you are passionate enough to grow your restaurant idea and learn the ropes of the game, the key is to start with the basics:

What’s so different about your restaurant?

It is good to have faith in your idea. But being overly confident about it is sheer foolishness. Before you decide the concept, conduct a thorough market research. See what is trending, what did not work in the past and what you think can work in the future.

Learn customer preferences and demands. Once you are done with this, decide the restaurant concept. Is it going to be fine dining or a quick service establishment? Are you going to focus on fast food or a specific cuisine?

What is the restaurant’s serving style going to be like? It is going to a self-service? A buffet? Consider the ambience of the place. Furniture, lighting, glass and dishware, linen, music and server’s uniform are some of the things you must have a clear picture on.

Most importantly, how are you going to pitch the restaurant to consumers, investors and potential employers? Pull out pictures from décor & lifestyle magazines and online portals of furniture, cloth swatches, decorations, lights and food items. Place them aesthetically in the mood board.


Now try writing one line about the concept. If you are able to write more than that, it means you do have a clarity of what you want to accomplish in the coming months. Share the draft of the pitch with your colleague or family. Note their feedback and make improvements thereon.

What’s your business plan?

The thought of having to curate a plan to fund your business through investors can easily drop you at your wit’s end, isn’t it? It is because of this “fear factor” that lots of business owners prolong the process of writing business plans.

However, if you want to grow your idea, you need funding and that is not possible until you reach out to investors and impress them with your business plan! Many restaurant owners make the mistake of avoiding this path altogether.

Don’t be like them. In fact, having a business plan will help you get an idea on more technical aspects such licensing, legal and construction. A business plan is your roadmap to success and you must never undermine its importance.


Draft a plan and then request your colleagues or family members to go through it. Re-write and re-discuss it as many times as possible. It is always good to have your flaws pointed out by people who want the best for you, rather than by those who are waiting to pull you down.

So make sure your business plan covers all the necessary information before the main pitch. Don’t hesitate to put all your efforts.

To know about making business plans in detail, check out this blog post.

What’s your restaurant’s location?

This is an exciting phase because everything you have planned for till now is going to be executed here. Choosing the right location for your restaurant is critical. Before you start scouting locations, you must do extensive research on demographics, competition, rent costs, visibility and history.

Based on your findings, narrow down a few locations you think will fit. You can even connect with a realtor to help you further. Remember to focus on what the space can become rather than what it looks like in its present state.

Keep the following points in mind:

  • Target market and ideal customer profile
  • Market conditions, including foot traffic and nearby areas of interest
  • Other eateries near the location – Who poses competition?
  • Size of the place – It should be spacious!
  • Previous tenants – Who occupied the space in the past? Why did they leave?

Don’t forget to choose a location that seamlessly aligns itself with your restaurant’s vision and aesthetics. The place and neighboring area should be neat and clean. You must also check out the parking facility, if available in the area. Everything about the place should be convenient and not pose as obstacles in the future.

Now that we have covered the basics, next step is to look into the legalities of setting up the restaurant. But we will cover that in the next article.

Stay tuned!

Top 7 Must-Haves For Restaurant Managers

Top 7 Must-Haves For Restaurant Managers

Being a restaurant owner is a lot of work. From managing employees and checking in on the kitchen from time-to-time to fine-tuning menus, ordering inventory and analyzing restaurant sales – the onus of getting everything and anything done falls on you.

To be the super businessperson you are, you need a system that simplifies all your every-day tasks and enables you to focus on core competencies of the business. Here is a list of management must-haves to streamline your restaurant processes considerably and rev up your sales:

1. Paytronix

In this digital age, everyone’s on the lookout for instant gratification. And in the business like this, free food means a lot to people! Therefore, you can’t expect your guests to be happy with just a coupon or a punch card. They need more than that and this is where Paytronix comes into the picture.

The tool drives incremental sales by creating guest loyalty. So what does it exactly do? It’s an engagement platform that curates intuitive reward programs, handles the guest email management system and makes gift cards accessible to the customers.

Although available for Android and Apple, the pricing of Paytronix varies.

2. BlueCart

A free and simple tool, BlueCart makes inventory ordering simple. Restaurateurs can actually place all their orders to the complete list of suppliers in just one click, enabling the latter to manage all orders and accounts from one platform.


You can conveniently avoid using excel sheets and spending extra hours in the back office dedicated to sorting through binders. With BlueCart, you can easily connect with all your suppliers at the same time and make your life a little less hectic.

BlueCart is available for Android and Apple.

3. Onesto Payments

An effective way to develop your restaurant’s payment strategy is throughOnesto Payments. It offers POS and financial solutions to help you measure total sales, average sales, number of visits, day-by-day sales performance of your restaurant business among other things.

This tool is apt for kinds of retail formats. It ensures that the customers remain free from the risk of being cheated by technology providers during payments. With Onesto Payments, you can also find out what your guests are saying about your restaurant on social media.

Want to know more? Give a call @ 201-546-5555 or head to OnestoPayments.comfor a free POS consultation right now!

4. Expensify

Calculating restaurant expense reports is a challenging task and requires lots of time and energy from your side. Thanks to Expensify, you can capture receipts, track business travel and create expense reports quickly and easily.

All you have to do is take a picture of your receipt, select the report in which the expense goes to and you are good to go! The technology in the tool will reach the receipt and create the expense – on its own- and eliminate any manual entry made.


You can even import credit card transactions and create expense reports on-the-fly. Another feature of Expensify is that it supports worldwide currencies. It’s tree and available for both Android and Apple.

5. Crunch Time

Want a robust back office system for your restaurant, look no further. CrunchTime is the right solution for you. It manages food cost, inventory and labor and also takes care of dashboards and alerts.

Basically, CrunchTime gives you access to complete functionality as an all-in-one system. The tool integrates with your restaurant’s POS data, so that you can obtain in-depth insights from your sales. It is available for Android and Apple, but comes at a cost.

6. Restaurateur

Download this app if you have plans to sketch out the entire strategy for you restaurant – especially the “finance” bit. For instance, you can enter the size of the space, price per space unit, average check amount, monthly expenses, cost ratios, etc. in the app.


Restaurateur will quickly create a Profit & Loss statement for you and even calculate the breakeven in sales and checks. The app also sends alerts when the ratio falls outside the industry guidelines. If you are obsessed with numbers, this app is apt for you!

Restaurateur is only available for Apple and it is free.

7. KeyIngredient

The key to a successful restaurant is its ability to offer delicious yet trending cuisines. KeyIngredient is a smart app for saving food recipes and emptying the counter space in the kitchen by going paper-free.

You can ask the chefs and their assistants to organize their recipes conveniently into different “cookbooks” on the free app itself and then share them online at any time! They can also create a grocery list based on the items they require to make a specific recipe.

KeyIngredient is available for Android and Apple.

Go ahead: Download an app or purchase a tool you think will take care of the nitty-gritties of your restaurant business. With the right choice, you can make your restaurant a more profitable initiative and keep your guests happy and satisfied.

Bon appétit!

How to Get Media Coverage for Your Retail Business

How to Get Media Coverage for Your Retail Business

Every small business owner knows that it is impossible to thrive without customers. But what they don’t realize is that getting noticed by media is an excellent option to gain traction and boost sales. Moreover, appearing in a newspaper/magazine or on a television channel increases the credibility of the business manifold.

Bringing the media spotlight on your business is not as difficult as it seems. All you need is some meat to offer to journalists that can be converted into interesting stories later. Scan through the following tips to get media coverage for your retail business smartly:

1. Share Newsworthy Content

If you observe closely, every story has an angle. It is neither a run-down of services offered by an organization nor is it an advertisement of sorts. A published article has an angle that piques the interests of not only the journalist who writes or records it but also the readers.

Therefore, don’t be too salesy. Pitch the story behind your business or the upcoming event you are organizing. The story can even be around how your product/service is changing the lives of your customer base.

media newspaper business

Here’s an example: Onesto Payments solves payment and POS challenges for small businesses. The solutions it offers are free from the risk of being cheated by technology providers. It walks an extra mile to keep its customers equipped with the latest knowledge of everything related to payment processing.

Now, the story can be about small businesses which have taken help from Onesto Payments and benefited from it.

You can even connect with your vendors or clients to work around a story. Whatever you share should have the power to resonate with the readers. Moreover, the story should throw a positive light on your business.

2. Target Local Press

It is always beneficial to be covered by a national newspaper or a TV channel. However, local media outlets are equally important. In fact, it is easier to tap into localized press. After all, they cater to your city or town.

Local media outlets support businesses in three ways:

  • Provide faster recognition
  • Boost sales
  • Add to the business’ credibility

If the local story on your business is that inspiring, compelling or impressive – it just might catch the eye of bigger publications and augment your presence even more. Start small, gain big!

3. Send Out Press Releases

This is a traditional PR tactic. If done right, a press release can fetch you the attention of many publications. All you have to do is make sure you don’t disseminate press releases just for the heck of it. The content should be newsworthy – and add value to readers. Writing a press release will also help you in creating strong and topical pitch ideas for journalists.

4. Connect With Journalists On Ground Level

It is easy to send pitches to generic email IDs – but connecting to specific journalists is a different ball game altogether. Try to reach out to them personally. Meet them for a cup of coffee or invite them over for lunch.

Also, read articles published about your industry. Meet the writers. Scan through pieces written on your competitors. Connect with journalists behind those articles. Ask your PR team to apply a “go-getter” approach.

5. Personalize Your Emails

Once you have identified the journalists working on your industry’s stories, personalize your emails accordingly. Start the email by referencing a recent article or a tweet they wrote. That way it becomes easier to relate to your business.

Tailor the tone of your pitch as per the journalist and the publication (s)he works for. The approach to reach out to journalists must vary, else they’d think you’re just another small business trying to be a big deal by making tall claims.

6. Don’t Forget To Follow-Up

Journalists receive tons of emails every day. The nature of these emails varies from pitches and official correspondence to howlers. If you don’t hear back from them within a week – write them a follow-up message reminding them about pitch.

And if you still don’t get a response from them despite repeated follow-ups, it is time to move on to another reporter. Don’t make the mistake of sitting on your pitch. It is necessary to follow-up with the journalist. You never know (s)he might become a close contact of yours through continuous correspondence.

Also, don’t waste your pitches. Be highly aware of those you are sending a story pitch to. Don’t reach out to too many journalists at the same time. That will make you look desperate. You may also lose out on potential stories or severe relations with the journalist. Be patient.

One of the best ways to be on the top of your PR game is to create a PR team.

Networking with media is a continuous task without a deadline. You have to stay connected to them, pitch them story ideas and get follow-ups almost regularly. The PR of your business can’t stay afloat if you don’t have a specific team working solely towards it.

The image of your business is in your hands. Be wise.