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Reacting to COVID-19: Move your business online

GloboTek | Business

Literally overnight, the retail industry in the UK has been forced to close. With traditional bricks & mortar stores no longer open, we look at how you can move your business online and resume trading by setting an e-commerce shop.

It may be a daunting proposition; shifting your entire thinking to selling online and what it takes to move a business online. We’re here to help and this article will hopefully answer some of the questions you might have.

If one is to look for the silver lining in this current chaos, then take it like this. If you’ve been toying with the idea of starting an e-commerce store, COVID-19 is the nudge, albeit a mighty big one, you need to do it.

Are Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, GoDaddy and all the rest any good?

To a point, yes. They offer a very solid platform to get online quickly and with minimal web development skills. The drag and drop page builders they offer, allow any computer literate person with enough time and patience to put together a website.

But, that is the issue. You need a bit more than that. You need to:

  • Understand how digital marketing works in order to maximise its effectiveness.
  • Know how websites work so as to build a site that is efficient and easy for users to understand and navigate.
  • Have the ability to source and edit images so they fit the space you want to use them in.
  • Understand how images react to the space you put them in and then how things react on different screen sizes.
  • Have a keen eye for design.

The list goes on but you get the idea. At the moment, time isn’t something any of us are lacking. If you’re confident in your eye for detail and are a demon with Google search, go for it. Read up on how images react in the web browser, learn a few tricks about cropping images and then start the process of moving your business online.

What options are there other than the above?

You can go down the traditional route of engaging a digital marketing firm to design and develop a bespoke e-commerce website for you.

At the moment though, it’s not a recommended option. A completely bespoke site build with all the research and whatnot that goes into it is expensive and time-consuming. You’ll be looking at a minimum of £10,000 and 2 months to get online.

Instead, a somewhere in-between option that exists is the perfect solution. By using what is known as a Premium Theme for WordPress, you can move your business online at a fraction of the cost of a bespoke build but with many of the benefits of being on the WordPress platform.

By using a premium theme, all the building blocks for the site are already done. It just needs assembling. Think of it like Lego or Airfix. The sites look great, professionally designed and are geared towards selling. They have a plethora of tools within them to add and edit pages over time.

Finally, should you wish to move to a more unique, bespoke website design – you can. All of the data you enter in the database can be used on another theme so you’re able to simply switch the look of the site without having to migrate anything from one platform to another – a major issue with the aforementioned hosted platforms should you ever wish to move on from them.

How quickly can I move my business online?

You can be online and ready to take orders in as little as 24 hours. Our packages will have you up and running within 24 hours with a fully functional e-commerce website.

How do I take payments through a website?

The majority of traditional e-commerce stores on the WordPress platform, use a plugin called WooCommerce to give sites the e-commerce capabilities. There are many payment gateway options for WooCommerce but the two that we recommend and install on every site are PayPal Checkout & Stripe.

We all know about PayPal, users make purchases and then the funds appear in your PayPal account minus the usual fees.

Stripe is a card processor. The Stripe payment gateway makes it easy for people to use their bank or credit card to purchase your products. Again, there’s a small fee for handling the payment but then all payment processors charge these.

With PayPal, you’re free to make a withdrawal to your bank account as soon as the funds arrive. Stripe is a little different. They automatically transfer your balance at the end of each day to your bank account. It takes a few days for the transfer to process so bear that in mind.

It’s very easy to get the necessary credentials to link your site to either PayPal or Stripe and GloboTek clients benefit from us being here to walk you through the process. There are a plethora of articles on the subject as well.

How do I attract customers after moving my business online?

There’s no quick and easy route to getting orders I’m sorry to say and don’t be fooled by firms which promise you thousands of orders per day in 3 weeks! It simply doesn’t work like that. Competition is fierce and you need to build a brand. It’s no different to your high-street store. In those early days, you could go a whole day without seeing another person. The internet is no different. It takes time and effort. If you have a professional, well-constructed site then you’re ahead of many but you’ve still got to get people through the metaphorical virtual door.

There are 3 main areas to focus on to start building your brand base and traffic:

  • Paid Advertising
  • Social Media Activity
  • Blogging

Each has its pros and cons but executing all three simultaneously with a targeted strategy will see traffic numbers grow. We’d love to discuss this at greater length but it will have to wait for another blog post. Or, you can give us a call and we can have a chat on the phone about this and moving your business online.

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Am I going to see a sudden increase in sales?

In all honesty, no. It is a complete myth that moving a business online is a license to print money. Yes, there are “overnight” success stories but take them with a pinch of salt – how much work went into the setup prior to the success? There’s usually a well-trodden path littered with carcasses of previous failed ventures before finding “the one”!

What you will see is a slow but consistent increase in traffic with the deployment of tried and tested effective growth strategies. Then it’s a case of playing the numbers game. X number of website visitors = Y number of sales. You’ll soon see a ratio working out that could be for every 100 visitors to the site, 1 sale is made. At this juncture, you’re in a position to increase traffic or optimise the site or marketing strategies.

What about all the returned items?

It is an unfortunate side effect of moving your business online. Shoppers will inevitably return more items. However, there are ways to minimise the number of returns.

Clear and accurate product descriptions and images help ensure the customer knows as much as possible about the product. This helps eliminate returns where customers simply weren’t expecting what they received.

How can GloboTek help move my business online?

We have been hard at work this week developing a package to help you move your business online.

Our first package has been launched and tweaked as our objective is to help as many retailers re-open their doors, albeit it virtually, as possible. With the government’s announcements of when funding support is going to be delivered to everyone, we’ve taken the decision to offer all our Coronavirus packages on deferred payment terms. You can buy now, move your business online now but not pay for any of it until June. We’re happy to discuss payment plans to help spread the cost further as well.

Please get in touch with us to see how we may help you through these tough times and get you trading again.

Get In Touch

Please submit your query & a consultant will get back to you.

Please make sure all required fields are completed.



Thanks for your message

A consultant will contact you shortly!

or call 01905 570735

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