So you’re an independent retailer with a bricks and mortar store who has an online presence but no online shop, this means you’re potentially missing out on a valuable income stream – so what’s stopping you? Well, committing time and money to a new venture is a tough decision to make, especially when the high street has been going through such a difficult time – and you’re struggling just to pay the rent on your current shop premises.
It’s true that high street retailers have been suffering throughout the current downturn, however online sales have continued to grow, and while overall retail sales in the UK grew by only 0.4% over the last year, online sales grew by almost 20%, meaning those businesses without the capability of selling online have suffered the most during the past 5 years.
The good news is it’s still not too late to dip your toe into the ecommerce pond and to start reaping the benefits of selling online. Whether you’re business has time and staffing constraints or budget limitations, there are ecommerce platforms out there to suit everyone. Also there are professional people willing to provide essential help and advice should you find the process challenging.
I would always recommend getting advice from a professional with experience in designing and developing online stores, they know what’s out there and the most common mistakes, and paying for their experience up front can save you money in lost revenue and costly rebuilds in the future.
As someone who gets asked to advise on the right options to take when starting to build an online shop, my first consideration is always how can I get the most for a client from what might be a small budget. It’s tricky, managing a client’s expectations and delivering the fabulous online shop they envisage can be a difficult ask, but not impossible.
The thing to remember is don’t waste money on trying to reinvent the wheel, use what is already out there and what already works. Companies such as Bigcommerce, Shopify, and Volusion can provide you with everything you need. You have full control over the look, feel and how your online store functions, and with a number of pre-templated design layouts available you can cut down dramatically on design and development costs. Should you want a bespoke design, help setting up your store and ongoing management support there are many experts available who will provide you with the technical knowledge and skills to get you up and running.
So what’s stopping you finding the best ecommerce platform for you?
Find out how technically able you are, all three options I mentioned give you a free trial with no obligation.
If you have the time, and find setting up your own shop easy and you’re happy continuing your build on your own, go for it.
If you think you would benefit from using someone with more knowledge and skill to take the reins then it’s worth bringing in an expert – this will save you time and money.