The date has been set – our hero of the hour; the internet, will save retailers in 2013.
You heard it here first.
As you struggle with a myriad of emotions – shock, disbelief, curiosity and finally acceptance, I’ll explain the reasons why.
Over the last 24 months businesses have been radically adjusting their retail outlets to counteract the changes in the economy. During the good times, less emphasis was placed on price, but since 2008, retailers of all sizes have been evaluating how they can stay profitable AND cut costs.
After trying and failing with the usual techniques since the ‘blip’ (we’ll just call it a blip, as it sounds better), the threat of liquidation has forced businesses to look at options that they never truly considered.
Enter the internet
In the same 24 months, we have been approached by a number of retailers who are, either looking to move their business online for the first time, or feel that there is more opportunity online and that they have little understanding of how to make their existing online shop work.
In both cases, we’ve had success.
Why – because people are online…everywhere
Everyone is online. And online more. The internet is publicly open and accessible anywhere – to John down the road and Shelia in Australia.
According to ‘State of the Net’ (Amas.ie) 43% of people in Ireland purchased an item online in the past 12 months . Almost 50% of Irish households own a smartphone and 36% shop using a smartphone or tablet. That means more sales, more often. Anytime.
That means that even while you sleep, sales can be taken when you’re asleep. 50 items can be purchased that you can arrange to be sent directly from source, warehouse or the shop.
Why – Online is where your customers are
Social media, blogging, apps and video are the ‘stickies’ of the online world. That means that people love to engage and spend more time online in one session.
It also means that we’re interacting more online, asking for advice and help, sharing information, engaging with businesses and looking at their website via various channels.
Why – because trading online is more cost effective
The cost of setting up and managing an online shop can be as cheap as €250, although I would recommend paying for a good quality website with integrated content management system which will cost in the region of €4000 and a yearly website domain and hosting cost of €100 – €500 (this price will depend on whether you need dedicated or shared hosting).
Comparatively, the cost is less after the website launches. It costs nothing (but time) to maintain and publication of updates is instant.
Why – because digital advancements have made it easy to shop online
Simply put, technology has made it easy to shop online. Various e-commerce platforms and numerous plugins and add-ons provide an assortment of options for retailers.
You will notice that products have centre stage, with sharing buttons and reviews the norm. User accounts save time on re-ordering and email sign ups help retailers stay in touch with customers.
There are plenty of reasons to hop online or start using a clear-cut strategy to increase performance.
A website is always the best place to start as it works as your hub for online activity. Here you can display your products and advertise.
A digital strategy will then help formulate a plan based on your key objectives. So, the platforms you list your business, the time spent on each, how you use them, your content strategy, how you monitoring customer behaviour and purchasing patterns – these can all be scoped out and set up to keep your online shop on track.