How to extend your brick-and-mortar store to a virtual one

October 21, 2020
How to extend your brick-and-mortar store to a virtual one

By: Andrés Álvarez and Obeth Seguinot, ED Digital

The coronavirus pandemic has affected most businesses in one way or another. For yours to be resilient and capable of adjusting to the new reality, it is vital that you consider transitioning your brick-and-mortar business to incorporate electronic commerce or e-commerce.

You have surely invested a lot of time and effort in your brick-and-mortar business, cultivating relationships with clients in your community. You may think that diversifying your brick-and-mortar store to an electronic business will be difficult, but there are platforms like Shopify, which allow you to have an online presence and sell your products without having to develop software from scratch.

Get ready to create your online store

Before building your online store, think about what makes your business and your brand unique. When you have a clear idea of what your customers like best about your business, you can determine which products to initially include, which distinguish your business and/or brand and, depending on your audience’s age, what decisions you should make in terms of page layout.

Shopify is a platform to build and grow your online sales. There are businesses with specific needs in terms of inventory management, employees and advanced logistics that use Shopify as a tool for their online channel—while continuing to use their own systems, since Shopify integrates them and makes communication between platforms possible with existing integrations or custom-built in other cases.

Build your online store

Here are the elements you should consider within the Shopify platform:

  1. Templates

Shopify has a wide variety of themes or templates from which you can choose the one that best suits your business. Some templates are free, and some have an initial cost. You can also filter them by industry and by the size of your product catalog. Some projects that require custom-built templates that address specific business needs can be achieved.

  1. Home page

The home page is your business’ showcase. Here is where buyers learn about the offers and promotions, and also access the list of products and/or collections available in your store.

  1. Product pages

Here is where you draw attention to the value of your products. It is important that the content and visuals highlight the attributes of the items you sell. Therefore, they must have:

  • Quality photos

Take quality photos that allow potential buyers to see the product from different angles. This is the way people will acquaint themselves with your product.

  • Product description

Include as much information as possible. Your potential customers need to have a full idea of what they are buying.

  • Reviews

Highlight success stories and reviews from people who have already purchased your products. These help potential buyers to make decisions.

  • Shipping information

All product pages should include shipping information or a link to shipping details, as well as clear purchasing and return policies.

  • Size guide

Include a size guide to help shoppers understand what they are buying. This is vital if you sell clothing or furniture, for example. A size guide will avoid many returns in the future.

  • Announce that your online store is open

After you build it, your priority is to tell the public that it is now available. Here are some suggestions on how to promote your online store:

— Send an email to your customer base

— Put a sign on your brick-and-mortar store and add the link to your virtual store

— Use your social media profiles to promote the store and create publications promoting products to direct your customers to the virtual store

To learn more about tools that will help you boost your company, go to our Business Education Center.


ED Digital is a company that provides solutions for businesses and merchants who want to have a professional online presence. They work on building online stores and creating sales and marketing strategies specifically for this sector.

Banco Popular of Puerto Rico (“Popular”) is not affiliated nor related to the individuals or entities mentioned in this article. This article is for informative purposes only, and does not constitute an endorsement or guarantee of its accuracy. Neither Popular nor any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, or related entities are, nor might be held liable for any special, direct, or indirect, damages, resulting from reliance on the information contained in this article, which Popular did not prepare. Popular provides financial services) and does not provide the type of service referenced in this article. If you need any related service, you should request the advice of the competent professional of your preference.