13 things to consider when transitioning your Etsy shop to a brick and mortar store
Despite Etsy’s shaky start as a publicly traded company following their IPO in 2015, the online marketplace for handmade crafts saw slow but steady revenue growth in 2016 and into 2017.
One of Etsy’s main strengths is its ability to adapt and change in response to buyer and seller behaviors. One such example is the new push to offer handmade Etsy items in large, national brick and mortar stores. The effort, branded as Etsy Wholesale, connects the portion of Etsy sellers who are capable of scaling their production to meet large wholesale orders, with retailers looking to bring the appeal of homemade goods to their largescale retail operations.
What prompted an exclusively online, exclusively handmade platform decide to go offline and into the territory of big box retailers? Slow online sales may be in part to blame.
Despite a booming eCommerce industry, a solid ninety percent of total U.S. retail sales still occur in-store. With five percent going through purely online channels like Amazon, and the other five percent going through the online channels of brick and mortar giants like Wal-Mart and Best Buy.
If Etsy is expanding their reach to the offline, in-store realm, it should be no surprise then that individual shop sellers on the site are considering their own foray into brick and mortar sales venues. But selling on a plug and play online marketplace is an entirely different experience than operating a brick and mortar retail store.
If you’re one of the many Etsy sellers taking your products offline, here are some things to think about as you plan your move towards a physical retail space.
13 considerations for brick and mortar stores
- Start-up capital—you’re going to need enough cash to get a lease, set up your displays, and stock up on inventory.
- Applicable business licenses and registration—check into the laws in your area about establishing a business. You may need to register with the county, city, and/or state, depending on your area. Check in with your local Chamber of Commerce for guidance.
- Method to accept credit card payments—will you use a POS system to help you manage employees and inventory, etc.? Or will you accept credit cards via stand-alone payment terminal, or even a mobile payments solution? You can learn more about your options here.
- Process to handle cash—be sure to develop a process for handling cash. Will it be put into a safe nightly? Weekly? Make sure you create a system with checks and balances to guard against employees skimming cash.
- Security system—whether you rely on standard locks, or install a full-fledged security system like those offered by ADT with alarms and cameras—security is a must. You could even install your own security equipment with retail security products available on www.Amazon.com And don’t forget to include payment security in your plan.
- Store signage—for both your storefront, and inside the store. A variety of online printers can help design and print signs and banners on demand to promote a grand opening and/or sale. They can be designed online and ordered with ease.
- Inventory—you’ll want to stock enough to have a nice display on opening day. Make sure you have a plan in place to track inventory so you can scale your operation accordingly.
- Display shelves and racks—show off that inventory with well-placed displays. Keep the line of sight of your customers in mind to help determine what kind of hardware will work best and produce the most robust sales.
- Lighting—don’t forget the importance of lighting to make sure your products look their best. A good contractor can likely advise here and help install fixtures that meet electrical codes and put your products in the spotlight. Lighting specifically for retailers can be found online.
- Email system—make sure you have a way to maintain contact with your customers for future marketing efforts. You should consider a system that will collect emails from your Etsy shop customers during the purchase process, so you can let them know your brick and mortar location is open for business. These solutions: https://www.icontact.com/ and http://www.campayn.com/ are just a couple of the affordable options for small businesses.
- Website—even if you continue to list items on Etsy, as many businesses do, you should have your own website that you can integrate into your Etsy site, as well as your brick and mortar location. Focus on unity in branding so your Etsy site, your social media presence, and your store all present a familiar face to your customers.
- Shopping bags—keep a supply of shopping bags, ideally customized and branded with your store name and logo. Your customers will need something to carry their purchases, so why not take advantage of the free advertising?
- Cleaning supplies—make sure you implement a plan to keep your store clean so you always put your best foot forward for your customers and your employees.
Need more resources about operating a retail business? Check out our collection of informative articles on all things payments and business management.