What’s stopping you from taking your brick and mortar store online? If you’re worried that it’s too expensive, time-consuming or risky, it’s time to think again.
Research by McKinsey’s Arun Arora, Philip Christiani, Ralf Dreischmeier, Ari Libarikian and Hayk Yegoryan found that brands can often get online much faster than they think. “In fact, a poor understanding of what’s really possible with digital can be one of the most significant hinderances to moving quickly,” they write.
Partner with an expert and you’ll be able to build out an eCommerce presence in weeks, not months. Leveraging existing infrastructure and leaning on expert advice also means your partner bears the risks, while you get all the rewards.
Sound enticing? Here’s exactly how BaaS can get you selling online quickly and securely.
Rapid Storefront Creation With a Commerce Cloud
If you’re serious about selling online, you need your own store. Yes, it might be faster to start selling on Amazon, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
Jake Rheude, Vice President of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, warns small brands of becoming too dependent on one platform, especially Amazon. It makes you totally reliant on Amazon to turn a profit. If they suspend your account, your entire business model breaks down. Even worse, you are competing against Amazon’s own private label products.
If your products come up against Amazon’s own-brand items, who do you think the site is going to favor? Exactly. That’s why having your own platform is so important.
There are two methods to get your store online, writes communication consultant Laura K. Inamedinova:
- Build the store yourself.
- Use an eCommerce platform.
“Unless you have bags of money to invest in your effort, you should cross the first option off the list,” she advises.
By partnering with an eCommerce platform, however, you can have your online store set up in a matter of weeks. That’s because the back-end eCommerce platform is already built, it’s just a matter of configuring it with your existing website or building a new consumer-facing website.
If your chosen eCommerce platform uses headless commerce, there’s no need to create a new website (assuming you already have one). Headless commerce platforms can be attached to existing websites and content management systems, writes the team at Shogun. “With this model, the eCommerce platform does what it does best: inventory management, hosting, security and fraud detection. Then, you’re able to integrate with other systems for a more content-friendly experience.”
Back Office Support As and When You Need It
Getting your brick and mortar store online takes more than a website. You need a way to take online payments, a way to calculate the correct sales tax and a way to deliver customer support. These can all be achieved by partnering with BaaS providers.
Payment processors are as fundamental to eCommerce as websites. They come in two forms, explains Merchant Maverick’s Liz Hull: merchant accounts and payment service providers (PSPs). Both have their issues. Merchant accounts take a long time to set up and don’t integrate well with a lot of online stores. PSPs are easier to set up, but they aren’t the most reliable method of taking payment.
It’s why it’s much easier to partner with an all-in-one eCommerce solution that offers payment processing as part of its platform. The same goes for the additional tax and accounting issues that are part and parcel of selling online.
If you sell tangible goods online, chances are you’re going to need to collect sales tax, writes TaxJar CEO Mark Faggiano. The trouble is tax rates vary from state to state. That makes automated software essential for the smooth running of your business.
Finally, you’ll need a customer support solution in place as soon as you start to sell. Hopefully, customers won’t have any reason to complain, but it’s important to give them a way to get in touch that isn’t Twitter.
The last thing you want when launching an online store is to sit down and interview a dozen potential customer support candidates. Nor do you want to have to handle support requests yourself if you’re busy running the business.
This situation is what outsourced customer support is designed for, writes Mathew Patterson at customer service software provider Help Scout. “Outsourced support teams allow for scaling the team size up and down as needed, without over-hiring or having to let people go when the queues are quiet.”
Get Products Out the Door With Existing Logistics Infrastructure
One thing you’ll quickly realize when selling online is that having customers collect their own packages is a big benefit of offline retail. Order fulfillment may seem manageable at first, but it can quickly become a headache. So much so that it can quickly get in the way of more important tasks, writes ShipBob’s Kristina Lopienski.
A slow fulfillment process can ruin your business, writes Deliverr’s Rachel Go. “Your fulfillment strategy is your business’ lifeblood, so having a fluid process that allows you to scale and handle thousands of orders is critical.”
The solution is to outsource fulfillment through a BaaS provider. By outsourcing fulfillment, you’ll be able to piggyback off your provider’s existing network. This will save you hours of searching for warehouses and negotiating with couriers. It will also save you money, says Kevin Sides at Shipmonk. There’s no need for long, expensive warehouse leases. Third-party providers will also have exclusive and better rates with couriers.
Mitigate the Risk by Partnering With Experts
The other benefit of partnering with BaaS providers is that you significantly reduce the risk of selling online.
In many cases, brands will take on responsibility for protecting your store and your interests. One way they do so is by acting as a merchant of record. A merchant of record is responsible for all customer transactions, explains Cleverbridge’s Hana Molíková. You don’t have to worry about chargebacks, declined payments or attempted fraud. Your merchant of record bears all the risk, you just get the money in your account.
Another way they take on responsibility is by acting as your cybersecurity expert. Many of the cybersecurity features you need will be included with your eCommerce platform, writes Email Analytics CEO Jayson DeMers, but not all of them will be. “Some offer dedicated servers with robust capacity, so you’ll be better protected against threats like DDoS attacks,” he explains. “Some are simply better made than others, offering fewer potential vulnerabilities to exploit and issuing patches more regularly.” The point is that you need to choose your platform provider carefully to ensure you have the necessary protection.
BaaS providers can also help reduce risks to your existing business. You may be worried that selling online will make running your business and keeping track of everything more complicated, for instance. An omnichannel eCommerce platform can help with this. An omnichannel system lets you control everything as one single source of information, writes Lightspeed’s Elina Barklon. In other words, there’s no risk of getting your physical store’s inventory confused with your online inventory — all shopping data is shared and merged, allowing you to get the clearest picture of your customers.
You also de-risk your brand by working with an eCommerce expert. There’s much less danger of creating a poor online shopping experience that puts existing customers off shopping with you in the future. At the same time, outsourcing the creation of your eCommerce store means you’re able to continue working on core retail business.
The truth is you really can have the best of both retail worlds—we’ll even prove it. We’re offering our services at cost for a limited time for brands that want to launch their own stores quickly and securely. You could have your own online store in just 15 days.