Looking to move your offline business online? There’s never been a better time: read on to discover how to achieve this with Shopify and Excelify.
Commerce in the Time of Coronavirus
So you’re a retailer who never quite made the jump into the online space. Perhaps the timing never felt right. Perhaps in-store sales were good so you felt there was no real need.
But now you’re sitting surrounded by a lot of sellable stock, and a bricks and mortar store that won’t be opening its doors anytime soon… Not having the time to get an online store set up is not a plausible excuse anymore!
The global coronavirus pandemic is a huge shake-up for all sectors. But here’s the thing — retailers have always been adept at responding to changes in circumstance, pivoting our offerings to reflect the current needs, whims, and wishes of society. Our whole industry is built on supply and demand, and COVID-19 is certainly placing some strange demands on humanity.
Now’s the time to take that leap, level-up your supply side of the bargain, and take your store from offline to online. Read on to learn more about the best ways to get up and running. And let Excelify be among the first to wish you a very warm welcome to the world of e-commerce!
Helping Hand, or Help Yourself?
Once you’ve recognized the need to make your products available online during the lockdown, your first key decision is how you’ll go about managing the setup process. Is this a task you feel confident in handling yourself, or should you seek professional help?
There are a few options at your disposal: the fully DIY web store route; working with some assistance from a specialist freelancer; or handing over the reins to an experienced e-commerce agency to make the magic happen for you.
To help you come to a decision about which path you should choose, we’ve created this helpful decision matrix. Sum the total numbers in each column against your answers to those questions.
|Hire Agency||Hire Freelancer / Data Specialist to Help You||Do it Yourself|
|My whole life is organized by Spreadsheets||0||1||5|
|What is a Spreadsheet?||5||1||-20|
|Your product structure|
|How much spare time do you have?|
|You often say:|
|If you want to do something well, do it yourself||0||1||10|
|If you want to do something well, hire an expert||10||1||0|
|How well can you work with computers and the internet?|
|Total sum of your score for answers|
If you liked this table, add +10 points to the “Do it Yourself” column. If you didn’t understand it, add +10 points to “Hire Agency” 😉
Choose the column where you have the highest total number, and you’ll have a good idea of the path you should take to build your new online store.
Your Offline to Online Survival Kit: Shopify & Excelify
If you’ve decided to go alone and want to bring your offline store online yourself, help is still readily available. A lot of handy resources like Offline2On.com have already been pulled together by key players in the e-commerce community. We’d recommend reading around some of these before you roll up your sleeves to take action.
But we’ve all seen the movies. What’s a global pandemic without a carefully chosen survival crew? When it comes to getting your products online with efficiency and ease, we’re here to offer the assistance of a winning combination: Shopify and Excelify.
For the uninitiated: Shopify is an e-commerce platform known for its intuitive design and support for entrepreneurial spirit. Currently offering an extended 90-day free trial as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can be up and running with a great looking and highly functional store in a matter of minutes.
Once you’ve created your Shopify web store, think of Excelify as a very sharp tool in our hands to allow you to concentrate on your store data. And our Support is here to help you take your wares from the physical to the virtual realm, bulk importing your product list with minimal effort and maximum accuracy.
Used in tandem, Shopify and Excelify offer a user-friendly path to getting yourself set up and selling online.
How Excelify Helps Break Down Your Blockers
If you’re slightly nervous about getting your products online, let us reassure you. Some of the most common barriers to getting started with an e-commerce store are easily remedied by Excelify.
If you’ve decided to take the DIY approach, a common concern is the amount of time it will take to get an extensive product catalog listed. Many balk at the concept of inputting so much information, especially when variants and customizations are also part of the equation. Thankfully, Excelify handles bulk uploads and edits with ease. If you’re comfortable manipulating a spreadsheet, then you can populate your Shopify store with Excelify.
Or, you may worry about ensuring the accuracy of your product listings. With so much to translate onto a new online store, the margin for human error can feel high. Again, Excelify handles your catalog upload with perfect precision. By working with our straightforward spreadsheet templates, you can easily and accurately manipulate your product data and create new collections, orders, pages, and more.
And if the cost is keeping you awake at night, Shopify offers the first three months for free, as they move to support retailers caught in the coronavirus crossfire. Excelify offers a free Demo plan with up to 10 items per file so you can become familiar with its potential, and beyond that starts at just $20 per month, with no hidden charges or sneaky fees.
Making the Move: How to Get Started
Let’s take a hypothetical business as an example, to demonstrate what getting your store online with Shopify and Excelify would look like in practice.
Imagine you’re an independent DIY supplies store carrying a wide range of products. Until the pandemic hit, you were selling solely across a small regional chain of physical stores. You’d toyed with the idea of getting set up online, but the day-to-day challenges of running your business meant you never really felt able to make the time.
As COVID-19 spread, you predicted a huge surge in demand as the lockdown was imposed and people, unable to leave their homes, started to look to make improvements. But you’re still not online, and know you’re missing out on a lot of sales!
Getting started with Shopify is a simple process. Sign up for the 90-day free trial, select a store name, and pick a plan. The basic package will be perfect for most retailers who are just getting started online, and if you do find that you need more capacity, upgrading is simple.
Next, choose a theme. This is a huge selling point for Shopify: their free off-the-peg themes give you a professional-looking online storefront in a matter of seconds. No design skills necessary! After preparing their essential pages (see a handy set up checklist video here), it’s time to start uploading some products.
Now, in the case of our hardware store, this is where your eyes would grow a little wider. You stock a huge range of products — lockdown would be over before you’d finished inputting each item manually!
Thankfully, you can deploy the bulk editing and uploading power of Excelify to do all your heavy lifting. Not only would your virtual shelves be instantly and accurately stocked, but you could also use Excelify to import your existing contacts as customers, inviting them to shop online while they’re unable to visit the stores in person.
Easy Does It: Uploading With Excelify
Excelify is an invaluable timesaver for hundreds of busy e-commerce businesses. If the thought of a little spreadsheet editing doesn’t make you turn pale, you’re definitely capable of benefiting too.
To bulk upload your products, you simply need to get your existing product data into a format and order that Shopify can recognize. Once everything is ordered correctly, Excelify can upload a single file to the platform. This will populate all relevant fields, leaving your store full to the brim and ready to open its virtual doors.
The first step is to download the Excelify Demo Template file which will show you which fields are available (learn more about this in our handy guide.) Next, simply edit your own file so that it marries up with the Excelify template.
You’re well on your way to being ready to bulk upload your products and start selling online. Before you do, you may wish to use Excelify to create custom collections or manage metafields to give you control over products, orders, customers, and more.
For a helpful walkthrough of the full process, check out our detailed tutorial.
Everyone — individuals and businesses alike — will come out of the experience of this global pandemic changed in some way. By taking control of your situation and finally taking your store online, you can tip the odds in favor of a positive, long-term change.
Even after this strange time is over and you flip over that closed sign in your store window, you’ll have surprised yourself with how easy the move to online was.
And after experiencing the benefits of e-commerce, we’re betting that you may choose to futureproof your business and stay primarily online. Physical stores will remain invaluable as a place to meet shoppers in person and have them test and touch your products. But for loyal customers and those who have experience of your products, repeat online ordering will be a huge time saver for all involved.
Customers have been increasingly moving online for many years, and this trend is here to stay. Shopify and Excelify are here to help you not only survive but thrive in the years ahead.