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One of the surest signs of success in retail and foodservice is the addition of ecommerce business. If your business has grown to the point where you can begin accepting and fulfilling online orders that don’t require a visit to your brick-and-mortar locations, then you know you’re doing pretty well, right?


Of course, preparing for a conversion to ecommerce requires a lot of foresight and planning to make sure the transition goes smoothly – of course, nobody wants their first customer’s order to get lost or screwed up, and there’s a lot of work that has to go into readying your business for the transition to online ordering. If you’re thinking about making that big leap into ecommerce, here’s a few things you’re going to want to take care of first:


Prepare Your Online Presence: Arguably, the most important part of running an ecommerce business is the “e” part, and having a strong online presence is key. Make sure your online store is well designed and hosted by a reliable server to make sure it doesn’t crash after the influx of new customers. You’ll also want to sign up for a few different social networks to spread brand awareness and inform customers of new items, upcoming deals, and so on. And if you’re a devoted technophobe, don’t worry – this stuff is easier than it looks, and if you’ve got the money you can probably hire someone to do it for you.


Stock Up On Inventory: The next step is to make sure you actually have products for your customer to order! Even if you don’t choose to offer your entire product range online, you’ll want to take note of what items you are selling via your new ecommerce site, and make sure to buy enough of them to fulfill any orders that might come in. Of course, if you still run a physical storefront, you won’t want to sacrifice any inventory there either. It’s a tricky balancing act, but you’ll get there with enough careful planning.


Prepare Your Stockroom: All this enhanced inventory is going to need a home, and this might require a little reworking of your stockroom or warehouse. Bring in some extra warehouse storage or industrial shelving to hang onto the extra inventory, and make sure to work out your item picking, shipping, and return policies before you launch your website to make sure you can handle any orders you get.


Stick With It: Sure, the world of ecommerce can be kind of an intimidating (and frustrating!) place at times, but the most important thing is just to remember to stick with it and keep trying. It’s a big time and financial investment, but you can see big success if you just stay patient, work out the kinks, and stick with it for longer than a month. Trust us – it’s worth it.

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