2 tips for temporarily moving retail operations online

With the COVID-19 outbreak shutting down physical businesses in many countries, many retail operations are scrambling to migrate their businesses to sell online. If you find yourself in that group, WordPress offers a great online solution with WooCommerce, but there are some things you should consider first. Here are 2 tips for temporarily migrating your retail store online.

Consider inventory control and synchronization

The biggest factor you need to consider when deciding to migrate your retail store online is how your inventory control system is set up. If you simply copy all your inventory to your website, your physical inventory will not be updated when someone makes an online purchase. You could look a few different options.

  1. See if your inventory vendor supplies an online component. If so, find out if they offer a WordPress plugin. If not, you could create a “Shop” link that redirects visitors to their website. While it isn’t a perfect solution, this might be the simplest way to get an online store up and running while synchronizing with your inventory system.
  2. If you expect sales to be moderately low, you could manually update your physical inventory whenever a sale is made.
  3. If you will be suspending in-store sales, you could also input all of your inventory totals into WooCommerce and then do a one-time correction in your inventory system once you’re able to open a physical location again.

Consider delivery and shipping charges

WooCommerce includes several built-in shipping methods. Add-ons are available for services like USPS, UPS, and FedEx. You could also create a flat shipping charge and name it “Local Delivery” to cover delivery charges if delivery is an option you will provide. Be aware that setting up shipping is perhaps the most complicated part of the process of getting your online store running.

Also, consider whether you will offer global shipping or only a certain area. WooCommerce provides options for you to only deliver to certain countries, territories or states, or even ZIP codes or postal codes.