10 checklist to digitize your physical retail business

Digitizing retail business it not all about e-commerce or e-wallets, it is much more than that. O2O or not, it is about enabling retailers to leverage on various touchpoints enabled by the Internet.

Being a digital marketing agency that is familiar with the retail and e-commerce industry, we have met or worked with many retailers here who are undergoing digital transformation.

In comparison to pure-play Internet retailers, traditional brick and mortar stores do have certain advantages with the existing customer base and physical touchpoints.

Most of them will not be left behind by e-commerce. In fact, physical retailers can continue to grow and excel, provided that they couple both offline and online strategies.

How to digitize retail business?

This is NOT a checklist on how retailers can be ready digitally via e-commerce or e-wallet, here we focus on marketing, customer touchpoints via digital or new channels.

Be it to acquire new customers, or to increase repeat customers, the Internet has enabled so many touchpoints and retailers are having more homework to do now.

Without further ado, this is the checklist for you to cross off.

While having an eCommerce presence is NOT a must depending on your business category or priorities, Online to Offline (O2O) strategy is important for all brick and mortars to cross off.

Retail digitization checklist

#1. Store at eMarketplace


Establishing a store at e-marketplaces is much easier than setting up your own online store so this shouldn't be an excuse for those who are selling consumer products.

You probably just need to identify which online marketplaces are suited to your business, even though the big two right now are Lazada and Shopee in Malaysia.

#2. Own-branded Online Store


It's best to only set up your own branded online store after you have experience selling on e-marketplace. There are many factors to consider from shopping cart system, mobile app extension, integrations, marketing, customer service to order fulfillment.

The investment could be higher than what you are budgeting. The bright side is that you get full control of your online business, and many marketing activities below can only be executed if you have your own store.

#3. Google My Business

Online to Offline

Google My Business (GMB) is the business location list you can set up to appear in the Google search results. For example, your GMB listing can appear for searches like "pharmacy near me".

As you can imagine, GMB works best for businesses with physical locations so it helps to drive footfalls to your store. Don't forget to provide good service and encourage your customers to leave you a review!

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    • 3 practical Google search strategies for retailers

#4. Search Engine Optimization

Online to Offline    eCommerce

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is much more technical so it's best for you to get a reliable agency to consult and implement. Avoid those overseas "SEO experts" who keep telling you that your ranking sucks.

In short, developing content in the form of articles and videos will be able to boost your organic search rankings and traffic in the long run, so you might need content marketing experts instead.

#5. Search Engine Marketing


Don't feel bad if you are confused with the difference between SEO and SEM. Search Engine Marketing (SEM a.k.a. PPC, pay-per-click) is the paid search you can book via Google Ads.

As opposed to SEO, you can bid for the relevant keywords using SEM to make sure your business appears on the first page. In general, SEM is best for e-commerce to convert your customers online.

#6. Facebook Page / Instagram Account

Online to Offline    eCommerce

Whether you have an e-commerce store or not, every business needs to be present on Facebook. Besides the regular content, running ads is the key to achieve your objectives on Facebook.

Not every business needs to have an Instagram account though, it is a platform best suited for visual categories like beauty, fashion, food etc. Don't just follow for the sake of following.

#7. YouTube Channel

Online to Offline

There are two ways of YouTube marketing, with advertisers usually produce video commercials and run YouTube ads, skippable or not. This is akin to the SEM sprint aiming for impressions and views.

Another way is to grow your YouTube channel like an SEO marathon. It is not easy for brands to build useful and engaging video content but where there's a will, there's a way.

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    • 5 practical tips to start & grow your YouTube channel

#8. Google Display Advertising

Online to Offline    eCommerce

Similar to YouTube advertising, or even the traditional out-of-home media, display advertising is like billboards (banners) flying around over the Internet.

You are able to serve your banner ads on big publisher websites via Google Display Network (GDN), to attract eyeballs, footfall or web traffic to your big-bang campaigns.

#9. Digital Out-of-Home

Online to Offline

Instead of banners flying around the websites, these are the real billboards displaying on the roads. Even though this is not really an Internet channel, but it is "digital" enough to be included here.

With all the attention on the Internet, don't forget the "new" traditional media like Digital OOH which is very effective in location-based marketing. Just anything except the newspaper ok?

#10. Email Marketing

Online to Offline    eCommerce

Last but not least, don't forget about customer retention while you busy acquiring new customers. CRM communication seems to be a very under-utilized channel for many retailers here.

You do have a CRM software, don't you? Call SOS now if you don't have one. Don't limit yourself to just SMS, keep your mind open to push message, email marketing which is very useful for both your online and offline stores.



Silver Mouse: 10 checklist to digitize your physical retail business
10 checklist to digitize your physical retail business
Digitizing retail business it not all about e-commerce or e-wallets, it is much more than that. O2O or not, it is about enabling retailers to leverage on various touchpoints enabled by the Internet.
Silver Mouse
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