Covid - 19: Part 1 Taking Your Business Online

Covid - 19: Part 1 Taking Your Business Online

Covid-19 has already changed so much about business. Everyone is now a homebody, or at least many are. 

This is already causing carnage in geographical based businesses and working from home is becoming the norm for many sectors. Online services have been disrupting high street operators for many years now, but that change is likely to become more pronounced as Covid-19 tracks along and it doesn't appear that respite through a vaccine is imminent, and maybe won't even come this year.

As a business owner used to having a physical presence, what do you do? For many the answer is to get online. 

Not, 'get online' as in have a website with some pictures and some text on but really online. E-commerce selling your products online.

For many of our Clients this is the first and biggest driver for change at the moment. When legacy sales models cease to be as effective, you have to pivot. But for most small retail business operators the first question is where do you start. It's a new, different world for many but one that has to be mastered.

In this Part 1 of this series we just cover the high level overview to give you the context of whats involved. In further Parts we explore in more detail what is really involved at the different steps. 

Online e-commerce even for (and in some ways especially for) small businesses is like being in a huge busy market full of competitor stalls. You have to stand out. And what you stand out with has to be impactful in a good way.

So here are the 6 Super Steps to taking your business online:

1. Polish your P's! In this case your Products Prices and Personality. When launching online you need to show your best face, your brand has to be consistent, desirable, your products relevant to the audience that may buy them. Your pricing competitive. Get this wrong online and you will fail. Replicating your physical stores online rarely works online.

2. Pick a Sales Channel. For some businesses the best option is to create your own online store, but for others it makes more sense to use someone else's. Amazon offers it's 'FBA' service - Fulfilment By Amazon. Far from being a bookseller, Amazon is the juggernaut dominating online sales and logistics. Even NHS Covid-19 test kits are being delivered by Amazon. Others are Ebay, Etsy, DePop, although these are mostly for amateur retailers and you need a certain product set to scale into these.

3.  Create your main presence. We are assuming that you need an e-commerce platform for your store to start with. You can choose to do it yourself, or you can pay a company to do this for you. How much it costs depends on what questions you ask. For our Clients looking to get meaningfully online initially we advocate Shopify. It has a very rich functionality and you can get genuine professional standard e-commerce sites up and running from Shopify Partners for £1,000 with ~£100 a month maintenance. A traditional website designer will cost £10,000 and up to sky's the limit.

4. Make Friends With Google. It's a fact of life that without Google, you will struggle to get any form of presence. It is hard and complicated. Terms like 'SEO' and 'PPC' are just the starting point. You need to be familiar with Google Search Console. This optimises, validates and gets your website known by Google. You need Google Analytics which provides you valuable feedback on how popular your site is, what visitors do when they are there, and helps you unblock barriers to sale. And you need Google Ads. Unless you are retailing through Amazon or Ebay, you will need to be found online - and that is Google Ads in combination with Search Console. 

5. Spread Your Wings. You need to push enquiries and leads into your e-commerce website. You do this through Google, but also through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest as the biggest brands but also through other interest groups such as Mumsnet. Through posting content onto these platforms you raise your brand awareness, increase your sales opportunities and build confidence in your brand. And great content is a sales tool in itself. People place Social Validation as one of the highest factors in their purchase decisions. They want to feel confident in their purchase and they get that from knowing who you are. Be social   

6. Repeat. Without exception, the biggest mistake people setting up an e-commerce platform make is to set it up and then sit back. You just can't. Within Google alone there are dozens of settings that appear minor or obscure but get them wrong and you will pay 10x what you need to for presence or just not get seen at all. You need to analyse in detail the user response to your website through tools like Google Analytics or SmartLook to see how and where your buyers are / aren't buying. You need to check your products and prices. It is a constant task to do it right.  You need to create good content, regularly to engage your audiences.

And that's it. Simple? Ok so it isn't that simple, but initially it's confusing. You can spend £200,000+ on creating your presence and online store or you can spend £2,000, and in reality both can work fine and both can fail. The secret sauce is knowledge.

In the next Parts of this blog we will be going into more detail on each of these elements and sharing some experiences we have gained through taking dozens of our Clients online.

If you want to talk to us then just call or email for your free, no obligation initial consultation.

Call: 03333 449928



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