How Does Moving Online Help Your Business?
It isn't a silver bullet ...
POSTED BY JONATHAN VOWLES ON 19/02/2019 @ 8:00AM
More and more people are shopping online. In fact, there is no getting around the fact that people love e-commerce ...
e-commerce means you can sell online, but it isn't a silver bullet or a magical instant fix!
copyright: buchachon / 123rf
You're probably guilty of it yourself; statistically, around 75% of us have bought something online. A big issue here is that online is growing, and doing so at the expense of traditional retail shopping.The facts don't lie.
"We have all walked around shopping malls or high streets with a growing number of empty shops!"
In November 2018, online sales exceeded 20% of all retail sales for the first time ever. What's more, the pace of change is greater as online sales grew by 13% year on year. Research shows that around 53% of shoppers prefer to shop online and this preference is more prevalent amongst the under 40s. In other words, the customers of tomorrow pretty much define that you need to be online.
Going online doesn't have to mean moving out of your high street shop, but that could be an option and a way of reducing your costs. But this article isn't about cost-cutting, it's about moving your business forward so that it is still there 2 or 3 years from now.
Key business issues, both for a traditional retailer and for an online retailer, are Customer Service and Stock Control. If your business excels at these two things then you can influence (but not always control) customer deliveries and returns.
What's more, you obviously have to be more in control of warehousing and stock management which will benefit your business. So, what are the practical things you need to do?
Firstly, you need stock or inventory management software so that you are in control of your stuff. This doesn't have to cost much to implement and with the right tools (yes, software is just a tool) you can automate lots of time-consuming tasks. Automation saves time and hassle so this is a good thing to do regardless, but it is essential if you are going to sell online.
Secondly, you need to have an e-commerce website. But don't get hung up on this costing vast sums of money, there are plenty of pre-built platforms out there. These make online selling really easy. It is nice to have your own website with a great e-commerce presence, but sometimes this is just vanity, or being oversold by a web designer! Before you go there, consider starting out with Shopify or some other pre-built platform.
Thirdly, you need a delivery system. And there are loads of them out there, so do your research. You might need a simple delivery system, or you might need a warehouse pick, pack and ship service. Some products need a special delivery service, and again there are loads out there.
A point to bear in mind is that going online isn't a silver bullet or a magic instant fix. It can take time to make a difference, but it could also be the way that you ensure you are still in business in 3 years' time!
"Would you like to know more?"
If you'd like to find out more about e-commerce and how it can help your business to survive then do give me a call on 01234 752 566 or click here to ping me an email and let's take a look at those software tools and find one that is right for you..
Until next time ...
More about Jonathan Vowles ...
I've been an accountant in and for business since 1987 and have a wide experience of consultancy, audit, accounts, taxation and wealth planning work from individuals and small businesses to multinational corporations and charities.
My eclectic interests in growing and developing business span a number of areas, which can be summarised as strategic business advice and tax saving advice.
I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to deliver courses for people about starting up in business and have lectured about tax for a major accountancy practice and for Milton Keynes College.
I relax by reading fiction and by getting away from the office in a campervan.
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