Shopify Partners

How To Grow Your Business By Becoming An Omnichannel Expert

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Ecommerce sales will exceed $5 trillion this year, according to eMarkerter. But, ecommerce isn’t the only channel where retail sales are skyrocketing. 

Experts project brick-and-mortar sales will grow between 2.6% and 3.4% by 2025 and will see more in-store spending this year ($702.17 billion) than online ($603.68 billion).

The explanation for this increase is simple: more merchants are adopting the “clicks and bricks” omnichannel model because it saves them time, supports their growth, and aligns with trends we expect from The Future of Retail. In other words, sellers are seizing the massive opportunity within retail to combine and grow both offline and online operations into a cohesive retail experience.

As more merchants adopt omnichannel selling, Shopify partners can grow their business by providing additional services to help unify their clients’ online and in-store operations. 

Here’s the good news — if you’re a Shopify expert, you’re already a retail expert. You just don’t know it yet. Shopify POS provides partners an opportunity to help retailers drive increased revenue and build deep relationships with their customers, while saving them time managing their business from one admin.

Whether you run an agency or build apps, Shopify makes it easy for you to grow your business by not just supporting the ecommerce side of your customers’ businesses, but their in-person presence as well. Here’s how. 

For agencies

If you’re a Shopify agency partner, there are many ways to incorporate the needs of brick-and-mortar merchants into the services you’re already offering.

As omnichannel commerce, shop-local, and in-person experiences support the growth of brick-and-mortar business, it’s never been a better time for Shopify Partners to align their services with Shopify’s full platform.

A truly seamless, omnichannel operating system is what sets Shopify apart from competitors. The partners who adapt to this new normal and help their clients execute on their omnichannel way of business will be far better equipped to succeed in the future.

Here are some concrete ideas on additional services you can offer to merchants with a brick-and-mortar presence.

1. Migration and store setup

If you’re already familiar with migrating data to Shopify for clients online stores, providing a similar service for POS migration should be a breeze. This is one of the most in-demand services from merchants as we’re seeing an increasing number of businesses migrate to Shopify POS.

Mark Perini, Founder of ICEE Social, is a Shopify partner who grew his agency by building a POS migration app.

In an interview with Shopify, Perini explained how he set up an online jewelry store for two older women to run their business. These women also liked to do the occasional pop-up shop and needed extra support.

After setting up a website for these jewelry entrepreneurs, Perini integrated the jewelry website with Shopify POS. As a result, these women can now capture sales in person and track online and pop-up sales from one convenient POS system.

Perini also stressed how easy it was to integrate the POS system and for the store owners to learn how to use it. He gave them a three-hour training and he hasn’t had one question from them since.

“I’ve helped 100s of clients move from Lightspeed, Square, Vend, Quickbooks, Revel, and more. Merchants of all sizes are making the move,” said Perini.

2. Design and branding

If you offer design and branding services for ecommerce websites, extending your services to offer in-store branding and experiential design is an easy addition to the ways you can support businesses who sell online and in-person.

Aaron Gray, Co-Founder of NO-BS Marketplace, said Shopify partners could create branding partnerships that extend into clients’ brick-and-mortar locations.

Gray’s advice was to stress to your clients the importance of keeping physical and online branding consistent.

“You might feel tempted to stand out with your brick-and-mortar branding, but less is more when it comes to making a strong first impression. Stay consistent with the logo, colors, and design you use to instill confidence in your customers,” he added.

3. Digital marketing 

With Shopify POS, merchants can bring all online and in-store customer information into a single customer profile. Partners can then leverage this data to provide targeted digital marketing experiences that bring online customers into retail stores or vice versa.

While the unique data you capture from a merchant’s POS will help you formulate a highly personalized digital marketing strategy for each of your clients, here are some starting point suggestions:

  • Email promotions – Retailers can invite online shoppers to visit in-store locations for a free fashion consultation or a special event. Again, use unique Shopify POS data to create targeted campaigns.
  • Local SEO – Whitney Burton from White Fox Studios says her agency drives foot traffic to physical stores with strong local SEO marketing. They include references to the clients’ physical location in the customer journey, maps showing locations, calls to action, and more.
  • Google My Business – It’s critical to encourage new retailers to claim their Google My Business profile. Consumers use local search to find local products and services, and a Google My Business listing will put a new brick-and-mortar business on the map.
  • Paid ads – Paid ads on platforms like Facebook and Google are another excellent value add. Geo-targeted ads can help customers find merchants when they are looking for products and services in a specific area.

When it comes to offering digital marketing services to Shopify merchants who are expanding into a brick-and-mortar location, capturing cohesive customer information from one point of sale is the key to success. 

Partners can leverage the insights from a unified commerce platform to provide creative and on-point marketing solutions.

4. Business consulting

If you offer business consulting, you can help your clients improve efficiencies and customer experiences by going omnichannel and adopting Shopify POS.

Mark Perini explained how one of his clients saved time and money by moving to Shopify POS. His client had an online store with one POS system and two other physical stores with separate POS systems—three in total.

Perini proposed merging everything to Shopify POS, and the results were fantastic. Instead of entering inventory into three different systems at separate locations, the client now only has to enter inventory into their one unified Shopify POS system. And it updates all inventory in real-time. 

Perini said it was a lot of work to get the information corralled into one spot, but now his client does a third of the work they did before. Not to mention, it reduces human error.

Another way to expand your consulting business is to teach merchants how to implement the fully customizable POS system features to speed up checkout and improve customer experiences.

For example, you can show merchants how to set up their point-of-sale with customized tiles that speed up workflows and allow employees to capture more than one sale at a time.

Another idea is to set up convenient processes from a merchant’s POS that give customers options. You can set up POS features that allow customers to:

  • Buy products in-store and ship them to their home
  • Buy items online and return them in-store
  • Make purchases online and pick them up in the store
  • Establish an integrated loyalty program that works both online and in-store

Not only does this serve the customer by adding convenience, but it also helps merchants stay on top of fulfillment.

Shopify POS is built to help merchants set up a foolproof business that’s organized across all platforms and easy to scale. This is an excellent selling point for any Shopify business consultant.

For app developers

You can also make your app compatible with Shopify POS to get a whole new segment of merchants using your app—brick-and-mortar clients. Let’s take a closer look.

1. Online loyalty and gift card apps

If you build online loyalty or gift card apps, you can expand your services to POS and help merchants build higher-value customer relationships.

Adam Pearce, CEO of BlendCommerce, said app developers can make a loyalty program app that integrates with Shopify POS.

For example, his agency worked with a Canadian high-end clothing retailer that has a loyalty program branded both in-store and online. 

“By opening shopping through both channels and attaching rewards to it, it generates awareness of the online store and opens up more sales channels for the brand. If you’re using Shopify POS, this is very simple to implement,” Pearce said.

Mark Perini did something similar but with a gift card app. Perini said one of the biggest problems merchants were seeing for POS customers was transferring hundreds of thousands of dollars in gift cards into Shopify.

So, Perini built a Shopify gift card migration app that integrates with Shopify POS. Now merchants can use his app to move gift cards into Shopify POS without a headache. The added bonus is the client can see all their sales—from any avenue—in a unified system.

2. Fulfillment apps 

As more ecommerce merchants expand into physical locations, there’s an increased demand for apps that help retailers upgrade their systems and processes.

Many merchants currently rely on buggy third-party fulfillment software. Shopify merchants need more app options that streamline on and offline operations, eliminate inventory problems, and provide a cohesive back office.

As such, there’s a huge opportunity for Shopify partners to create more attractive fulfillment apps that solve these problems by integrating with Shopify POS.

Fulfillment app developers can leverage Shopify’s local pickup, local delivery, or email carts to get creative with fulfillment options.

Alex Fortin, a Shopify Plus partner and the Founder of Molsoft, stressed the importance of app developers learning Shopify POS to grow their business.

“It’s incredibly useful for developers to have knowledge of Shopify POS, especially as more retailers are looking to sell online, and online brands are opening flagship stores,” he said. “Being able to help merchants streamline their operations will help partners develop longer relationships with their clients,” said Fortin. 

3. Staff and HR apps

Another idea is to extend the functionality of Shopify POS to the staff so that merchants can have a holistic view of payroll, time tracking, and more.

Johan Liebert, Founder & Shopping Expert at DazzDeals, did this and he explained the benefits of this approach.

“The benefit of extending the functionality of POS to your staff is that it allows them to manage customers more efficiently,” he said. “Your employees can document all client information in one place. This will help you understand your target market and make informed business decisions,” said Liebert.

Spread the word about your new services

Now is the perfect time to extend your services to support brick-and-mortar merchants, especially since sales from physical locations are projected to out-perform ecommerce sales. 

Consider emailing past clients, updating your website, and creating new digital marketing campaigns to let them know about your new services. 

Ready to extend your partner services to brick-and-mortar merchants on Shopify POS but not sure how to find them? Read “How to find your next brick-and-mortar client” next.

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This article originally appeared on the Shopify Web Design and Development blog and is made available here to educate and cast a wider net of discovery.
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