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4 Tips for Taking Your Brick-and-Mortar Store to the Online Realm

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October 9, 2020 5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This year has been rough for retailers. Data from shows that 60 percent of temporary closures related to COVID-19 have now become permanent. Many big-name brands have filed for bankruptcy as they’ve seen retail dry up.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, ecommerce is thriving like never before. Statista reports that ecommerce site traffic in May and June of 2020 actually eclipsed the traffic levels of the 2019 holiday shopping season.

As brick and mortar stores continue to struggle with government restrictions and the public’s desire to avoid outings that could lead to COVID-19 exposure, the need to take businesses online has never been more urgent.

Even if you’re late to the online game, however, you can still make a successful transition.

1. Choose the right hosting platform

First things first: you have to claim a domain for your store and choose a hosting platform that will let you make online sales. While working with an agency could help you get a more customizable layout, platforms such as Shopify and Wix make it easy to get your site set up quickly, with a clean and efficient design. 

Such platforms can also address common ecommerce concerns like site security and order tracking. This will help you run your online store efficiently and deliver superior service to your customers.

Try to select a domain name that matches the name of your brick and mortar store. If your store has a longer name, consider a shorter URL that will be easier for your customers to remember. If the name you want isn’t already available, look for alternatives that are close to your store name or your business’s area of focus.

Related: 5 Vital Considerations When Choosing Your Web Hosting Service

2. Bring your brand to life in a digital realm

The in-store experience is filled with branding. Everything from signage and uniforms to interactions with employees helps foster your brand personality and image. It’s a big part of why customers choose to shop at your store.

While a digital storefront may not have the same in-person feel, you should still incorporate elements that help your brand shine through. Your logo and color scheme are a given, but copy and image selection can also help evoke the right feel for your brand. Create content that is true to the experience you try to create in-store, and your will be more memorable and authentic.

You can’t afford to skimp on these branding elements. A website that looks like it was slapped together at the last second won’t inspire confidence from your buyers. Professional-grade photography and copy will be more appealing to potential buyers and showcase your brand in the best light.

3. Consider how to sell products or services online

Determining how you will sell products or services online can be a major challenge. If you sell a diverse range of products, you may wish to initially only offer a select few online — focus on your top sellers. Each product will need its own page that allows customers to add it directly to their cart. Attractive product imagery and detailed descriptions will help customers buy with confidence.

What if you are more of a service provider? Some outside-the-box thinking can help you successfully transition online, as happened with Clairissa Cruz, founder of Bare at Home.

In an email, Cruz explained, “When my body sugaring salons closed because of COVID, I had to find a way to keep my business from going under. I tried to put myself in my customers’ shoes as I thought of ways I could pivot and realized I could turn my service into a product with an at-home sugaring kit. Finding a way to sell a productized version of my service created a new revenue stream during a time when other sources were cut off.”

4. Plan for customer service

Customer service for an online store looks a bit different. After all, you can’t give your customers a handshake and smile as you resolve their concerns. But a lack of face-to-face interaction doesn’t make customer service any less important as you take your business online.

A positive experience is still key to getting customers to shop with you again — and as reports, 77 percent of those customers will also share their positive experiences with others. For online businesses, this often yields positive public reviews that drive more traffic to your store.

At the very least, your website should list a customer support phone number, where you or a staff member will be readily available to address customer questions, concerns and complaints. Account for varied user preferences by also including options for email and online chat. Make it easy for them to reach you, then provide the same friendly service you would in-person.

Related: 12 Ways to Deliver Excellent Customer Service

Nail the transition

Taking a brick and mortar store online can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to take months to successfully bring your brand online. With an online store that is available 24/7, your loyal customers will be able to make purchases whenever is convenient for them.

Chances are, you’ll also bring in new customers who would never have discovered you otherwise. By setting up your website for success, you will lay the foundation for lasting online revenue generation.

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Business

Money is love too: 5 lessons from immigrants to manage your wallet

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October 24, 2020 5 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Adina Chelminsky’s grandfather left Poland when he was just 13 years old and unable to speak a single word of Spanish. However, when he arrived at the port of Minatitlán in Veracruz, he had no money, but he began to work tirelessly until he managed to open a tlapalería that, believe it or not, continues to operate in Corregidora in Mexico City.

“The most important thing I know about finances I learned from my immigrant grandparents who came to Mexico with nothing,” said Chelminsky in her participation in MoneyFest 2020 . “My grandfather was a true entrepreneur because he knew that entrepreneurship was 50% sweat and not just having a ‘millionaire’ idea”.

Adina Chelminsky is not only an accomplished economist and entrepreneur, she is also the author of the popular finance book Cabrona y Millonaria . However, despite his academic training, he points out that the best lessons he has had on money management always come from immigrants ”.

“People like my grandparents who came to Mexico in search of opportunities understand better than anyone how to handle money in a crisis, because they know how to face adversity and prosper in a world they understand,” said the expert.

Image: Money Fest 2020

5 love lessons told with money

Adina’s two paternal grandparents, both immigrants, taught her five basic universal financial principles. “They not only left me with an unpronounceable last name [he says laughing], but also strategies that can be applied always and by everyone.”

1. There is no asset more valuable than education: Whether for one or the children, education is one of the smartest investments that can be made because it is a portable instrument that does not lose returns over time.

“When I was born, my grandfather opened an account for me to pay for a master’s degree. No BA, a MASTER’S DEGREE . This so that there would be no doubt about what I could achieve ”.

2. “Whoever has a store to attend to it”: And in the same way, whoever has savings and investments, keep an eye on them.

“My other grandfather was the smartest person to make investments because he was always informed. It taught me never to go into a business that I didn’t understand or to sign a contract that I hadn’t read.

3. Don’t screw your kids and plan your retirement: “My grandparents came to Mexico and they knew they wanted to die in it. At that time there were no Afores or retirement plans, but month after month they saved for that moment, even if it was at the cost of a luxury ”.

Adina pointed out that her grandparents always knew that they did not want to be a burden for their children when the time came and on the contrary, they always made an effort to have a dignified old age.

4. Finances are ALWAYS a family affair and especially a couple: Sometimes talking about money with your partner can unleash a pitched battle, but it is about being a team.

“There wasn’t a time when my grandmothers didn’t have a say in financial discussions because they ran the house. In those times, my grandparents had the last word, but they always decided between all of us ”, Adina recalls and points out that especially in times of crisis, her grandparents were precisely a COUPLE , partners.

“Today there is a lot of financial infidelity, individual debts, hidden problems and half truths. It makes me think that my grandparents were ahead of their time ”.

5. There is nothing more patriotic than building well-being for others: Adina’s grandparents lived committed to Mexico and providing jobs was always one of their most active priorities.

“As an immigrant you want to help the country that made you its own. There is nothing more patriotic than building well-being for others ”.

It doesn’t matter where we come from, Adina noted, whether from immigrants, born savers, born profligates, or parents who simply did what they could with what they had. “Learning from the past and the financial history that shaped us is essential to build your future.

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Learn to read the news to earn money

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It seems that the economy is going crazy, but as an entrepreneur you must be aware of what is happening in the world. Journalist Isabella Cota tells us how to understand those numbers and trends that we see every day.

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October 24, 2020 4 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

“Where were you when you realized that the pandemic was going to change your life?”

For Isabella Cota , a journalist specializing in macroeconomic issues, that moment of cold drop came when she was attending a wedding at the end of February and a friend involved in the health industry told her that at some point in the year the stock markets were going to collapse, large amounts of infections would occur and that, if the government did not act soon, a health crisis like no other would occur.

Just a few days later, the National Healthy Distance Day would begin, which practically stopped the country’s non-essential economic activity.

Perhaps the force of the spread of COVID-19 took many by surprise, but Cota asserts that “many people who were used to reading the news saw the pandemic coming and were able to take protective measures even before the authorities.”

For the journalist, information is the best tool that people can access for free to make critical decisions for their health and finances.

“If you want to invest your money well, you have to understand money and for that, you have to read news about economy, finance and yes, science,” said the expert in her participation in the virtual MoneyFest festival.

However, in Mexico we have a stigma with numbers and it is the job of the media to explain to the reader how economic news affects their daily life.

“If the medium does not land that information, it is the MEDIA that is failing the public, not the other way around.”

Image: MoneyFest 2020

How to read the news to help you earn more money

Isabella Cota gives us a three-point checklist to consume financial news to make better decisions.

1. “Cure your fright” with curiosity: You have to ask yourself questions, but don’t panic. “If there is something that the pandemic has given us all, it is fear. Fear of getting infected, losing a job, saying goodbye to a loved one, etc. ”, says Cota. “We must approach the information without fear and not let ourselves be carried away by alarmist news.”

Given this, it is drastic to remember that the headlines do not report and you have to look for different sources.

2. Google is your friend: “The media are like great libraries of stories,” says Isabella. “Before making any financial decision, you have to ask Google what the media says about a brand or investment opportunity that they advertise, what information the bank can ask you by law, what are your rights before collectors, etc.”

3. You don’t have to believe everything: One of the most unfortunate effects of the pandemic has been the spread of false information that is sold as news and is not. “A study says that there are already 800 people in the world who die because of the fake news about the coronavirus.”

So how can we identify real news?

Isabella offers this “accordion” to quickly identify credible information:

  • When the notes or links come without a real or reputable source, do not open them .
  • If the information comes from a medium that you don’t recognize, don’t read it .
  • Finally, if what the article says does not seem true or reasonable, do not share it .

“The media fails, but they also offer fascinating stories. These stories are important and they teach us something. The information that is consumed with calm, curiosity and an open mind, is the best tool for our money ”, concludes Cota.

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The world has already changed: How to design a new professional and personal reality

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Silvia Singer, general director of the Interactive Museum of Economics, gives us the keys to transform ourselves into this new normal that, like it or not, is here to stay.

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October 24, 2020 4 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

“The world stopped and I feel so bad that I don’t want to talk to anyone. It’s a feeling that we’ve all had in the last few months, ”said Silvia Singer , in her talk at Money Fest , Mexico’s interactive personal finance festival. “However, if there is a crisis, I am sure there must be an opportunity.”

With this phrase, general director of the Interactive Museum of Economics (MIDE) , told us that this is the time to make a change to face the new normal.

“Every museum is due to its public, but what happens when people cannot go?” This was the challenge that MIDE faced in March when Sana Distancia measures began to stop the spread of COVID-19 .

“We had to acknowledge that there was a crisis that was going to last, we needed to make changes and restart,” Singer explained when presenting how MIDE had to transform its strategy to focus on the digital public. “Now the museum is beyond Tacuba 17 in Mexico City; now it is for anyone inside and outside of Mexico who understands Spanish ”.

The MIDE has already opened its doors, but this digital strategy allowed them to transform.

In this regard, Silvia gave us the strategy to replicate the success of the MIDE in our businesses.

Image: MoneyFest 2020

How can we design a new professional and personal reality?

Pablo Picasso used to say that when the muse of inspiration visits you, she has to find you working.

“Entrepreneurship is a creative and at the same time critical act. There are no magic formulas to transform and there are many paths. Which is the best? Yours ”, indicated the general director of MIDE.
To generate your own strategy, according to the expert, it is required:

Being able to observe the environment: “First of all, you have to see the opportunities that are outside, understand what is happening and identify what things or situations require a different solution that works better in this new normal.”

Understand that change is constant: “It sounds obvious, but you have to remain agile and have an open mind to innovate.”

How I reinvent myself

Silvia Singer pointed out that you have to learn to think with a certain structure in order to transform yourself. A simple model that you can follow in your person and your business is:

1. Think about something that you have dreamed and imagined, but with some alternatives on how to achieve it: “I need a clear objective, to know where I want to go and what alternatives I have.”
2. Write down these alternatives honestly in a notebook with the advantages and disadvantages of each one: “Find realistic dreams with goals within reach and agree to be flexible in the method to achieve them.”

3. Be informed to be able to choose an alternative and take the step: “In order to be successful, you must be yourself, but reflect on what you can improve.”
4. Commit to what you have chosen and move on: “We all have huge desires, but our resources are limited. So you have to make a decision and commit to it ”.

In the end, the MIDE director gave great advice for all entrepreneurs who are looking to transform themselves: “You don’t have to suffer the process, you have to enjoy it. I’m sure that in the end everything will be fine ”.

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