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Is selling online a must now?

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Reading some of the headlines of late, it seems those retailers with a lower cost offering; TK Maxx and Argos for example and those with a strong online presence (Argos again!) have seen a real boost in their sales during the pandemic.

This begs the question – is being able to sell online an absolute must now, to future-proof your business?

Nic Rutherford, founder of UK Business Buddy says, ‘If you’re a restaurant or pub, then maybe not, but then again being able to order a takeaway online has proved exceptionally useful of late.’

We wanted to get the perspective from a local point of view, so when we asked Rosie Jacobs of Independent Oxford this question she said, ‘Yes definitely. Businesses who have already got, or have very quickly added an online presence to their business, have weathered the storm better than those that don’t have a presence. Businesses that serve their communities have been rewarded with trade, and in this case, they are serving their communities by helping them to stay at home, offering convenience, and often a space to connect and share experiences online.’

Independent Oxford is a business directory showcasing independent retailers in Oxfordshire. We’ve been members for over two years now and enjoy the regular updates and online community space for networking and support in the form of regular ‘meet-ups’.

They have found that many restaurants and pubs have had to diversify and for example, begin offering takeaways when previously they did not, so maybe now is the right time to consider an e-commerce website to round off your presence in the marketplace.

We spoke to designer and programmer Ed Hollingshead, founder of Web Boutiques. His overwhelming opinion is that, ‘among a number of compelling reasons to sell from your own platform is the single most important reason – creating a community. The fact is that by having an ecommerce website and generating a sense of community you form relationships that drive sales.’

The value of online selling

According to national statistics website, Statista, ‘The United Kingdom (UK) has the most advanced e-commerce market in Europe.’ With 19% of UK retail sales going to online businesses. These figures were collected in 2019, and we can only imagine how the pandemic has affected those data published.

If you sell a product or have recently adapted services such as business consultation or training to be available on line, you could well be missing out on a huge chunk of your market if you do not have the option to buy online. We would recommend that you take a look at your customer base and work out whether they would benefit from that option.

And when you are ready to add ecommerce to your site, ask us how to keep the costs of online transactions down 😉

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