Survive the lock down
by offering your customers online shopping

While certain sectors of the UK are slowly being eased out of lock down, for many local businesses, things won’t be back to normal for some time. The immediate challenge then, is how to keep things operating until given the all clear.

If you’re able to get your products to your customers – either by post or delivering in person – then e-commerce could be the solution.

What is e-commerce?
E-commerce is selling things on the internet – it’s as simple as that. If you have an online presence, you can set up an online shop and have your customers order direct from you.
What does e-commerce involve?

If you’ve ever bought anything online, then you’ve engaged in e-commerce. In principle, it’s no different to a physical transaction in your shop. There are a few technical bits and pieces you need to put in place, but that’s something we can help you with.

Shopfront

This is where you display your products, including a high-resolution photograph and a detailed description of what your customers will receive.

Ordering

There are several ordering mechanisms you can employ for your online store. You can opt for an online basket, where customers select individual items at the click of a button. Alternatively, you can choose on online form, where the customer makes specific choices to customise their order before forwarding the whole to your email address. Both have their advantages and we’re happy to help you choose the best for your business.

Payment

Secure online payments are essential for a successful e-commerce site. We provide you with a robust and efficient system that allows your customers to make credit or debit card payments in complete safety.

Inventory

If you’re selling online, you need to know what you have in stock. There’s no point in 100 customers buying one of your products if you only have 50 for sale. Our e-commerce sites include an easy-to-use inventory hub where you can set your stock levels, ensuring nobody makes a purchase that then needs to be refunded.

What are the advantages of e-commerce?

Right now, the most significant benefit of an online store is access. Just because your regular shop is closed to the public and many of your customers are under lock down is no reason not to sell.

EXAMPLE 1.

Four Acre Farm

We recently put together an online store for a local farm on the outskirts of Neston. While they had dabbled in online selling through their official Facebook page, they needed a way to reach a wider market so that their fantastic pork products wouldn’t go to waste. We stepped in and created a bespoke website that allowed customers to purchase their goods and arrange a collection slot from the farm. The whole transaction could then be contact-free from start to finish.

The response has been nothing short of astonishing. Chris and Meg from Four Acre informed us that they sold out of their existing stock within hours of the shop going live.

Increased demand

This demonstrates an overlooked side-effect of the lock down. With only the major retail chains open, customers are eager to get their hands on items they can’t get in their local supermarket. These could be speciality food items, restaurant quality takeaway, or non-food items that simply aren’t available on the high street at the moment.

Moreover, this pandemic has led to an increased sense of community, meaning people are keen to shop locally in order to support neighbourhood businesses. Certainly some of those decisions are pragmatic – a local supplier means a quicker delivery time, after all – but no matter the reason, it results in an upswing in sales.

Easy to adapt

Creating and maintaining an e-store needn’t be difficult. Not every online retailer strives to be the next Amazon. Sometime you might already have a website that fulfils your existing business needs and just need a way for customers to make cash-free payments, leading to contact-free transactions. We can add whatever ordering system makes most sense to you, creating a separate page that matches your existing website and branding. Once life returns to normal, should you no longer require it, we will be able to remove it just as easily.

EXAMPLE 2.

Dine Edinburgh

This was how Dine Edinburgh – a beautiful restaurant in the Scottish capital – has circumvented its closure under lock down regulations. They had us create a bespoke order form for their existing site, allowing customers old and new to order restaurant-quality food and refreshing cocktails delivered to their door.

In this instance, a full online store wasn’t necessary. The website already held details about Dine’s menu and cocktails, so repeating this information in a shop format was not only redundant, but could have impacted on their search engine rankings. Instead, we created an order form using logic paths. This means that every option you choose opens up the next set of choices, relevant to that option. For instance, if you order two cocktails with your meal, this creates two drop-down fields for you to select the cocktails you want.

This simple ordering solution has allowed Dine Edinburgh to continue trading at a time when many restaurants are suffering. Indeed, much like with Four Acre Farm, the team at Dine inform us that their delivery slots are booked up at least a week in advance.

A flexible selling solution

Of course, it’s not just goods and products that can benefit from an e-commerce website. Being able to pay online offer great opportunities for service providers as well. If you’re a hairdresser or a pub-owner, for instance, why not sell vouchers online, to be redeemed after lock down? Not only do you have a cash flow you can use now, when you need it most, but you also have guaranteed clientele during the first weeks when you start operating again.

Other businesses are trying something completely different – playing to their core strengths, but adding a twist while they remain under lock down. Tabletop gaming clubs that normally make their money through admission fees have started renting out games to their members, keeping the whole process contact-free with an e-commerce solution. Restaurants are running paid online cookery courses, which are proving highly successful, as they marry their own talents with people under lock down looking to learn a new skill.

EXAMPLE 3.

Soccer Gods

A prime example of this ability to diversify is Soccer Gods, another company we’ve had the pleasure of working with. They run a 5-a-side football league that, understandably, has to be curtailed for the moment. Feeding the desire for sports, friendship and human interaction within their community, they took the brilliant step or organising an online league.

They set up a subscription service for players to face off in online games with their Xbox or PS4 consoles. With leagues, competitions, and real sense of community between the players, they’ve seen online sales and new sign ups go through the roof.

LWSILVER

LWSilver sells jewellery online. All pieces are designed and lovingly handmade in the workshop at their Wirral address.

KAREN DAVIES CAKES

Karen Davies Sugarcraft design and manufacture high quality silicone cake moulds which are sold on their online shop.

REYNOLDS TIMBER

Reynolds Timber supply decking, timber, fencing, gates and sheds. We look after their online shop.

What can Be Bold Studios do for you?

As experienced and professional web designers, we can put together an attractive and effective online store for you, from scratch, within a very tight time-frame. If you want to add an order form or a shop page to your existing website, we can do it even quicker.

Get in touch

We provide all the e-commerce infrastructure detailed above and can give you any technical support you require to get it up and running.

As part of our wider work as web hosts and SEO experts, we can also help you grow your site to attract more customers. This will certainly be something worth considering once you’re comfortable with your new online store..

For more information and a free consultation regarding your e-commerce needs, call Be Bold Studios today on 0747 688 7743