Add a Store To Your Site

More and more anglers are doing their shopping online. For many retailers, this is hurting their business and for some it has forced them to close their doors. If your store has seen a decline in sales due to the online shopping boom, it may be a great time for you to add a shopping section to your site. How many customers have come into your store and let you know that you are the only store that sells a certain product? Imagine how many anglers not within driving distance of your store are also looking for that same product but cannot find it close to their homes. If you live in an area that receives heavy tourist traffic, adding an online store with regional items could be an additional way to drive online sales.

How to Get Started
Adding a store to your site may be easier than you have imagined and may make you wonder why you have not added one before now.

We need to assume that you already have a website and it is up to date. If you do not have a site yet, or it hasn’t been updated in the last twelve months or more, you need to take care of this housekeeping item first.

Next, determine what goods you have in your store that you will put in your digital store. Look for items that are hard for others to find. Maybe you have a talented local person creating the goods for you, or you just have an inside source to a product line. You should also include regional goods that seem to catch tourists’ eyes whenever they shop your store. The more unique items you add, along with mainstay items, the more popular your digital store will be.

If you are selling goods a local artisan creates for you, let them know ahead of time that your site will be selling their goods. It is common courtesy and may give them a warning that the demand for their product may go up. Also, be sure you have a contracted price agreement in place on the goods; increased demand normally translates into an increase of pricing. If they already have their items online, inquire about their pricing of the items and when they see their best sales. Do not try to reinvent the wheel; you will be an additional outlet for their goods so work with them if possible.

Once you’ve identified the goods you are going to sell, you need to have quality images of each item, a short but accurate description and a fair price for each item for your site. You can normally find photos of most goods from manufacturers. The description should be found there as well. If you can though, add to their description of how a certain lure or fishing item stands out for your area. A traveling angler may visit your site to find a lure that is known to be a standout on local waters and purchase it for their upcoming trip. Remember, more people are doing their research and shopping online these days. Many anglers go online and search for information on the areas and waters they are planning to fish before they get there. If you have permission from your customers, this would also be a great way to promote a photo of them with a big fish caught on that lure.

Pricing is something you can play with and change for your online store. You may sell a lure for a few dollars in your physical store, but online you can charge a bit more or bit less for that same product. If you are increasing your price for that item online, be careful – it could cost you more in the long run if the price is drastically increased; the same can be true for discounting the price. Some online stores increase their prices a bit more so that they then can offer free shipping on the goods.

Sit down and decide your pricing and shipping plan before you start your store. Look at the different shipping options available to you – what is most cost-effective for you, most reliable, and will deliver the products in a timely manner to the shopper? Also, what is the most convenient way for you to ship these products? Do you have the time to go to the post office daily or to a shipping facility? Many services, such as the post office or FedEx, will come to your store and pick up goods that need to be shipped. Research this now and analyze your options; nothing could be worse than poor feedback from customers who didn’t receive their goods in a timely manner or received damaged goods. You also need to be sure that shipping fees won’t make this a costly endeavor rather than a profitable one.

Once you have your goods on your site and your pricing and shipping figured out, you can create a shopping cart and start selling goods from your site within an hour. The easiest way is to add a PayPal shopping cart to your site and go from there. You will need to sign up for a PayPal Merchants account first. Once you have done this, just click on the shopping cart and add it to your site. Be forewarned, there is some HTML coding that will need to be added to your site to get it working. If you’ve set up a site, you more than likely have someone you already rely on to assist with this. Get their help and you will have no problem.

Once you get your first product set up, have your sales tax and shipping fees calculated, you will see how quickly you can fill out your store with the rest of the items. Remember you can add and remove items seasonally and by demand. Don’t forget to add color and size options, especially on lures and flies.

PayPal is just one option and for now the easiest and fastest method. You should research other methods and find what works best for you and your store. No matter which online shopping tool you use, you will need to accept credit cards. Watch for fees that the companies will charge you, and find the best system that will keep the most money in your store’s bank account.

Promote Your Store
While you’re working on adding your new ecommerce section to your site, be sure to promote it throughout your site. This is also a great time to call on your social media skills and get the word out to your followers that they can now shop your store from the convenience of their home. Be sure to add the fact that you have a digital store to all of your advertising and business cards. The more promotion you give your online store the better the return will be for you. Go back in and adjust your store’s keywords at this time so the major search engines will pick up the fact you have a new online store. Be sure to include the hard-to-find items as well as the regional items in your key words. While most of your customers may come from your own promotions, all traffic from online searches will help you gain more customers.

Managing Your Store
Once your store has been up for a few weeks and customers have been browsing and buying products, you will need to look at the numbers. Which items have been clicked on the most, and which items have been purchased? Why are people clicking on certain items but not purchasing them? It could be due to the price, it could be the title, or descriptions mislead the consumer. Take a look from an outsider’s point of view and tweak your digital store just as you would do in your physical store. Massive reworking of digital stores can be confusing to customers, so don’t alter your look too often or too much. Tweaking though is always effective; do not shy away from doing so on a regular basis as time allows.

If you find certain products are just not being viewed or bought, take them down or tweak their title, description and image. If you have limited quantities of certain products, or some items are of a seasonal nature, let that be known. Many times these facts alone can cause urgency for buyers to purchase those items now instead of waiting. You can also promote a monthly special, or showcase your most popular items in your digital store. Instead of making your digital shoppers wonder what is new, popular, or in limited supply, showcase those items. You don’t hide your best-selling, or sale items in your physical store – treat your digital store the same way.

Online retailing is always evolving and can be a full-time job; if you practice common sense and keep up with the demands of your online sales, you will notice an increase in your monthly revenue. Keep in mind that the tax laws are always changing and you will need to keep up on them, especially with the looming passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013.

If you have already entered into the realm of online retailing what has been the biggest hurdle for you and your biggest success? What tips can you share with fellow fishing tackle retailers? Share your thoughts with us all on our Facebook page or in our LinkedIn group.