Respecting social distancing and
In this article, we’ll discuss how you can take your offline business online to adapt to these changes and continue operating your business while you strive to protect your customers and yourself.
In this post:
- Advantages of Having an Online Business
- How to Take Your Business Online
- How to Do Business Online During the Pandemic
Advantages of Having an Online Business
Every day your doors are closed without a website to pick up the slack is another day without needed profits to carry your business through the pandemic. So getting business online is the first step to adapting to this new environment. An online store will help you stay on your customers’ radar and grow your sales, even in the context of social distancing. And even when the pandemic makes it to our rearview mirror and we begin the long transition back to normal life, having an online presence will continue to be a valuable tool to grow your business.
Here’s why you should get your business online:
- Your business is available for customers anytime. While physical locations operate on fixed hours, online businesses can take orders all day and night.
- An online business is less expensive to set up and operate.
- Online business offers needed support in the event that you need to close a brick and mortar location for any reason in the future. For example, you may decide to move your business to a new location. Having an online channel means you won’t depend on your physical location to keep operations running during the transition.
We know transitioning from a fully offline business to fully online at the current rate of change can be more than a bit overwhelming — especially if you’re not a digital native. Fortunately, we understand the struggle. With Ecwid, you can take your business from offline to online and be ready for your first order in just a couple hours — no prior experience needed.
Ioesco Restaurant is one of many Ecwid merchants who’ve taken their business online during the pandemic:
How to Take Your Business Online
To start accepting orders online, you need an
If you don’t have a website, use Ecwid’s free
Instant Site is super easy to set up and edit — no coding required. All you have to do is:
- Add products or services.
- Add business information, contacts, and location.
- Enable payment options — make sure to include online payment to avoid contact with cash.
- Set up curbside pickup and/or local delivery.
Still have questions? We put together this detailed guide to store set up to walk you through the steps and answer some of the most common questions we see during the
If you already have a website for your business, but it doesn’t have an online ordering option, you can add an Ecwid store to your existing website in minutes. It doesn’t matter which site builder you used to create your website — just connect your Ecwid store and you’re ready to go. You can add an entire store, categories, or single products to your website.
After you set up your store:
- Place a test order to make sure everything’s working.
- Add information about your
COVID-19operations. Share your business hours, and let your customers know if you have local delivery or curbside pickup.
When a customer buys from your online store, the order will appear in your Ecwid Control Panel → My Sales → Orders. The Orders page is where you can view and manage all your orders. You’ll have access to all of the details, like payment and shipping information, items ordered, a customer name, contact information, and billing address.
Here’s how the Orders page looks:
And when someone buys from your store, you’ll receive a notification email, so you don’t miss it:
When an order for physical products is placed, you’ll need to fulfill that order and change order statuses accordingly. For example, if you’ve shipped an order to a customer, you need to change the order status to Shipped.
If an order status is Paid, it means that your customer successfully paid for the order via an online payment provider. Now you need to prepare the order and deliver it to the customer.
If an order status is Awaiting Payment, it means that:
- A customer selected an offline payment method. Now you need to contact them to arrange payment.
- Or, a customer’s online payment was not processed. To learn why the payment failed, open the order details page and go to the Payment section.
After you have received the payment and you have all the necessary details, you can change the Order status to Processing and start preparing the order. Don’t forget to change the status when you deliver the order or prepare it for pickup.
If you sell digital products or gift cards, you don’t need to process these orders — they’re fulfilled automatically. When a customer purchases a digital product or a gift card, they receive a link to download the file or a gift card code by email.
Read more about managing your orders in our Help Center.
How to Do Business Online During the Pandemic
high-demand products to your store
Shopping lists all over the world now include more
You can also adjust your current products to better suit your customers’ needs. For example, if you sell food, you can offer meal prep or family meals. This way you’ll reduce your customers’ need to shop and help minimize their risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
COVID-19Online Shopping Trends: What Products Sell In a Pandemic?
- 5 Ways Restaurants Can Protect their Customers (and Profits) during
Sell gift cards
Gift cards encourage customers to continue shopping and supporting your business during uncertain times. You can set up gift cards with Ecwid in less than 10 minutes. When a customer purchases a gift card in your store, they’ll get an email with a unique code, with the email acting as their gift card.
Offer curbside pickup and/or contactless delivery
Now that avoiding contact whenever possible is our new lifestyle, pickup and delivery have to change too. Here’s how curbside pickup works:
- A customer arrives to pick up their order and lets you know by a phone call that they’re at your location
- You carry out the order
- The customer opens their trunk from inside the car, and you place the order in their trunk.
Contactless delivery means customers can get their orders without coming
Sell digital products
No matter what you sell, digital products and remote conferencing services can provide additional support for your business. Plus, you won’t have to deal with shipping and inventory, which makes selling digital products and services contactless and safe for you and your customers. A few examples include:
- Selling ebooks, checklists, guides,
how-tos,and video courses
- Giving online lessons or consulting
- Creating online conferences for your customers, like hosting online master classes.
Register on Google My Business
People turn to Google to verify open businesses and their hours, so make sure your customers can find the information they need. A Google My Business account allows you to display your business hours, address, posts, photos, and reviews across Google search and Google Maps.
If you already have a Google My Business account, make sure to update any information that’s changed as a result of
Partner with other local businesses
Partnering with businesses in your community is a solid way to attract new local customers. For example, you could create special offers or even host online events.
Brookside Poultry Co. and Brookside Sushi teamed up to offer
Stay in touch with your customers
Use social media or newsletters to connect with your customers and let them know about changes in business operations. Announce new products, share how they can support you, and explain changes to your pickup and delivery options with respect to
Read more about communicating with customers during the coronavirus pandemic.
People understand that
- Go to PayPal’s website to set up your Donate button by choosing country, language, and your button style.
- Add your organization details: PayPal account email and purpose of donation.
- Set a donation amount, and press the Finish and Get Code button.
- After that, just copy and paste the button’s HTML code:
- To add the code to your Ecwid storefront go to your Control panel → Catalog → Categories → Store front page. In the Description field, click on the HTML mode icon and paste your code, and then save your changes.
After that, you’ll see the Donate button in your storefront:
You can also offer to let your customers support
Take Your Business Online Today
While selling at a physical location is on pause, setting up an online store allows you to resume operations and keep sales rolling while your doors are closed. So the faster you can take your business online, the sooner you can start accepting new orders. And with Ecwid, you can do it all in just a couple focused hours.
And don’t worry if we didn’t cover everything in this article. We’re gonna be sharing more tips to help keep your business up and running during
Do you want to learn more about starting an online store?
- Selling Online as a Beginner (Blog Series)
- How to Get Your Business Online Fast
- How to Move Your Brick and Mortar to Online
- How To Write A Business Plan
- Where to Find Ideas For an Online Store
- What To Do Before Launching Your Ecommerce Store
- How Much Money Do You Need to Open an Online Store?
- What a Domain Is & Why You Need It for Your Business
- How to Buy the Perfect Domain Name for Your Store
- 8 Best Practices for Choosing a Domain Name