The recent pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of many high street businesses that were forced to close during the lockdown. The resulting loss of business caused dire hardship for many and even forced some out of business.
But those businesses that were smart and had already started to sell online through an eCommerce website, were able to offset some of this loss and continue trading.
There are no guarantees that we won’t experience lockdowns again because Coronavirus is still with us, albeit in a milder form and experts are saying that more virulent variants may occur in the future.
So, there is no excuse for anyone not to be conducting at least some of their business online with an eCommerce website.
I’ve heard many excuses from business owners as to why they don’t want to go down this route. Here are the major ones.
- eCommerce is expensive and I can’t afford it.
- My business is not suitable for eCommerce
- My clients like to buy in person.
- I’m not tech savvy and wouldn’t know how to operate it.
- I don’t know where to start.
I’m going to look at each of these in a bit more detail and explain why I think why, these days, they are myths.
eCommerce is expensive and I can’t afford it
There was a time when that was true. eCommerce development systems were costly and difficult to integrate into an existing website. Even so-called open-source systems that were free to use required significant development work, and cost, to set up. You would be looking at a few thousand pounds to set up an eCommerce system.
Modern eCommerce systems are much simpler to set up and can be easily integrated into an existing website. The resulting costs are now much lower. A simple eCommerce store can be added to an existing website for under £1000.
Online payment systems, which used to be the preserve of the banks have now become ubiquitous with fees reduced to levels that can be afforded by small businesses.
My business is not suitable for eCommerce
Really? You would be surprised what you can sell with an eCommerce store.
When they think of eCommerce most people think of something like Amazon where physical products are sold and delivered. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
I have clients with eCommerce stores selling all kinds of things; tickets for events, training sessions, car repairs, consultations, digital downloads (e.g., books), music.
I’ve heard objections from businesses that they have too many products to populate an online shop. My answer to that is that you don’t have to add them all online. Just add your most popular and best-selling products. For example, take a pet shop. Most pet shops sell hundreds of small items, many of which are low volume sales. But they sell items such as pet food, which many people buy in bulk and buy regularly. Online is a perfect medium of these kinds of products. How many times have you seen people struggling to their cars with 20Kg bags of food or similar?
My clients like to buy in person
That may be the case but what about the times when they can’t get to your business in person. For example, in a lockdown as we’ve seen recently. Or when it’s just not convenient for them to come to you. The coat of fuel these days will put many people off driving to stores just for one or two items.
I know you will have to arrange delivery which you will have to pass on to the customer, but many customers will opt to pay that rather than make the journey themselves to collect.
An online store will expand your business’ and reach enabling customer who wouldn’t normally be willing to travel the distance to you I person.
I’m not tech savvy and wouldn’t know how to operate it
These days, eCommerce systems have “back-office” interfaces that are easy enough to use for anyone who can operate a computer. The developer who sets up for system will give you instructions in written or video form and will usually be available on the phone to answer your queries.
I don’t know where to start
You’ve already made a start if you’ve read this blog post.
Your next step is to talk to a website developer who specializes in providing eCommerce systems. He will be able to understand your specific requirements and explain in more detail what would be appropriate for you and what the costs will be.
Any business still not convinced that trading online is the way to go should consider again. The high street as we know it is rapidly disappearing in most towns and cities thanks to spiralling costs both for the businesses themselves; in the form of rents and rates; and for the customers in the form of fuel costs, congestion charges, and clean air zone charges.
If you would like a free, no-obligations consultation to discuss your options then click below contact me.