Sell Online

Making Ecommerce work for Local Business

Let’s face it, we have few other choice. We need to find a way to keep business running. We have a duty to our employees to do everything possible to provide them employment and a duty to our customers who rely on our products. Some businesses have chosen the other path, the hunker down and hope it all goes away quickly. Truth is, we don’t know how long this abnormal situation will last. We hope it is not the new normal, but it is what we have for now. Meanwhile, we can get this new kibo code quantum program here till things settle down.

So the answer is innovate, create, find a way. The ability for business to survive based on foot traffic, for most, is not viable. But consumers are not without resources. Yes, a great deal of consumers have been financially impacted, if their jobs have been impacted, but there are many who are still in need of acquiring the products you offer. Many are not venturing outside their homes, unless absolutely essential, to shop.

Consumers Have Time to Shop Online

What consumers do have is time. This is being filled by many with screen time. Streaming media, music videos, video chat, conferencing, movies, binge watching TV shows, and, shopping. Yes, online shopping is accelerating, specially now that websites like Raise allow customers to get great discounts on their purchases. If we don’t offer them a local option, they will buy from Amazon. This revenue available to local businesses.

Maximize Your Tools and Talents, Online

To make the best out of the current situation, think of the talents of your employees and help provide them with the tools to bring your products to your customers using ecommerce, email, social media, and any other technology tool available starting with this auto clicker guide. This will help you keep your staff, your loyal staff, whom you have trained and who you rely on as a key success factor in your business.

Ecommerce is the start, getting your products online, on screen, so your customers can place orders. This is a foundational tool. Once in place, it’s time to maximize the rest of available tools and let your employees talents shine.

Get the Word Out

If you just implemented your ecommerce channel so you can sell online, you now need to get the word out. Remember, your customers will be looking online for sources of what they need/want. If they can’t find it locally, they will find it on Amazon.

Begin with your customer database. If you have been diligent and collected customer contact information, email addresses, and permission to market to them, then you need to get the message to them that you are now selling online. Past customers will be the most likely to buy from you again. Be willing to offer them incentives to shop online locally. You also need to offer reassurance of how you and your employees are protecting themselves and your customers from COVID-19. Safe working practices and safe product handling practices.

Social Media to Announce Your Ecommerce Channel

As mentioned earlier, there is more screen time being consumed than ever. People are working from home and people are spending their entertainment time at home. Alongside the email window and office applications, the browser window has their social media apps running. Leverage your social media channels to get the word out about your now available ecommerce store. If they are going to buy from somewhere, it should be you.

Should I SEO During a Downturn?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is that there may never be a better time to prepare for the future.

Continuing to Market Despite Downturn

For every adage out there, there is another one on the opposite end of the spectrum. When conventional wisdom says do one thing, the market leaders and innovators do the other thing. Many businesses are cutting costs as the “hunker down” for the bad times and hope to be able to climb out of their shell when it’s all over. Here is the good news for you, if you try this website , you will be able to learn some of your competitors retract, there is less noise in the market, more airtime for your business. When the economy recovers, your brand will be remembered, your sales will surge. Those that pulled the shell over their heads will have to re-start, regain lost position. This is even more so the truth in the world of Search Engine Optimization, SEO.

Of course, that is our opinion, and we are marketers, digital marketers, specialists in SEO. We spend our time helping clients climb the search rankings, often through the help of websites like spamzilla.io. We don’t believe that there is ever a good time to take your foot off the gas. Sometimes it means finding another gas pedal. We have dug up some support for our opinion, some cold hard research based economic facts that we thought would be good to share with you:

In today’s environment, with the COVID-19 health crisis and social distancing the current practice, many businesses that depend on walk-in traffic are struggling. There is help for Local Business Via Ecommerce. There is also much to gain now with respect to SEO. While your competition goes into hiding, you have the opportunity to leap forward, to grab a bigger piece of the mind-share, and vault up the SEO search rankings.

SEO Motivated by Survival

Survival is powerful instinct and a wonderful motivator when properly channeled. Channeling that motivation in SEO tight now will pay dividends while your competition lays low, waiting, inactive. Search engines like fresh content, on established websites. It’s a sign that the business is alive and growing. Stagnate website are frowned upon by search engines. If, relative to the other options available, they are no more than static content, they begin to slip in the rankings, while active websites begin to gain authority and more favorable positioning.

The Home Office Content Shop

For many office workers, they have taken their computers and set up an office at home. As someone in a similar situation as myself (home office for the past 10 years) said, ‘we have been preparing for this for over a decade’. For those that are new to the home office experience, you will find that there are prolonged periods without distractions. While the benefits of personal interaction, of collaboration, may be harder to obtain, the ability to focus on a task at hand may improve. One of these tasks well suited to the home office isolation is generating content. With a little time on your hands, it can be wisely spent re-writing existing content, developing new content, and re-purposing older content. All of this has SEO benefits to your website.

More Fresh Content is Good For SEO

Search Engines like content, they like new content, they like original content. When a search engine discovers new content on a website, it signals that the site is alive, that the business is active, that the content is likely more relevant that something produced years ago.

It’s Time to Take Advantage of SEO

Now is the time to take advantage of an SEO opportunity. As competitors go into the “hunker down” approach mentioned above, they tend to put all marketing work on hold. That usually includes SEO, to their detriment. If they choose to be stagnant, and you choose to be active with your SEO, you have a window of time on your side to march up and past the search engine rankings of your competition.

Hire In or Hire Out for SEO

In addition to content generation, a key component of SEO and improving your search rankings, there are a number of other activities that can help boost your site’s ability to draw in organic traffic. If you are an experienced digital marketer and competent in taking on SEO projects, then now is the time to make it a top priority. If your business needs help with SEO, now is the time to seek the skills of an SEO consultant. Whether you hire in (yourself) or hire out (consultant), take advantage of your opportunity.

Virtual Sales via Facetime

Previously we have posted some ideas on how local businesses can survive through a significantly challenging time. This includes the post Local Business Survival in a Crisis and Sell Online Plus Creative Delivery. Now we want to talk about another creative practice we have learned about.

The Sales Challenge

For retail businesses, foot traffic is key. The ability to browse and compare items, to feel the fabric of clothes, to read the package, etc. is a key part of the retail shopping experience. As shoppers stay home as part of social distancing, the hands-on approach is not practical. We have worked with one store that has come up with a way to provide as much of this shopping experience as possible. The first step was to add an ecommerce shopping cart to their website to replace the in-store cashier. Initially they added about 25% of their product items which account for about 80% of their sales revenue.

Using their customer database, they then began to send out emails to their clientele, beginning with their top clients first, to let them know they were now available online. Web traffic immediately jumped. Comments back from their customers are that even thought they are staying home, they still want to feel like there is some aspect of normal in their lives.

The Facetime Solution

Then for the sales process. This was a happy discovery by an employee willing to provide exceptional customer service. After a customer had spend some time browsing the online store, they were undecided between two items. So they called the store for advice. This employee then took the sales process a step further and offered to use their mobile phones and the Facetime video chat feature to take the customer on a virtual sales trip, comparison shopping of the items. After an initial selection, the customer asked for a tour of a few other items and eventually bought 3 products.

To be successful with this Facetime virtual sales approach, you need to have staff who are personable, friendly, knowledgeable, and, of course, willing to put in the effort. This sales method has caught on. The business has offered to cover the mobile phone bills of their staff and the unique experience has proven to be a success.

Sell Online Plus Creative Delivery

Starts With Selling Online

In the face of a very difficult business environment, brought by an even more difficult health care environment, businesses that have products to sell are moving to sell online. At Netnotic, we are helping local businesses to sell online by offering discounted ecommerce website plans. This is the first step, being able to receive orders and receive payment when foot traffic to your retail location is not happening.

The time to get an ecommerce channel set up can vary but with some labour supplied to load the product data, and ecommerece site can be online and your can have the ability to sell online in under a week.

Product Delivery Options

In our discussions with local businesses, we have come up several creative and effective ways to get product off the shelves and into the hands of paying customers. Of course, this needs to be done in a manner that is safe for both the employees and for the customer, to prevent the spread of the virus causing our current crisis.

Option 1, Self Pick Up

One business we are working with is offering self pick up. After the order is placed online, it is packaged by employees wearing face masks and gloves. When ready for pick up, the customer is contacted. The customer then drives to the retail location and phones or text the store. The boxed order is placed out side the door and the customer picks up the package. Social distancing is maintained.

Option 2, Courier Delivery

If the customer does not want to venture out, courier businesses are still operating and they have been trained to be in compliance with health standards in terms of protective clothing and equipment. The courier retrieves the package from the retailer and delivers to the customer, usually with a door step pick up.

Option 3, Evening Delivery

One creative solution we are happy to have been involved in conceiving is an evening delivery service which is handled by current part time employees of the store, in this case university students. This practice is following similar methods to some door-to-door food delivery services. With university classes now migrated to online, these students have a flexible schedule and are able to gather a batch of deliveries and provide door-step drop offs.

Keeping Employees Working

A somewhat obvious benefit of selling online is to keep your employees working as much as possible. You have invested in their training, development, product knowledge and experience. It would be unfortunate to lose these valuable people if you had no revenue to pay them.

We are also finding retail business are using technology to their advantage to offer virtual sales experiences for their customers. We will describe some of these in a very near future post.

Local Business Survival in a Crisis

Take Action

As we all know, the Covid-19 (corona virus) is causing tremendous damage to the Canadian, Saskatchewan, and local economies. We cant just wish it away. We have to take action. That action, while necessary, has been bad for business. We can’t just wish for our business to survive through the crisis. We have to take action.

Ecommerce Channels for Local Business

If you have a product, you have an opportunity. If you are determined, courageous, you can help your business to generate revenue in the face of dwindling foot traffic to your business, you can read this article and learn ways to grow your business skill. In Saskatchewan, many of us are now going into the second week of social distancing, reducing the amount of interaction. Those who are able are working from home, TV binge watching, missing the hell out of live sports, and starting to get a little restless. We all have a profound desire for things to go back to normal.

As the desire for normal grows people will look for outlets and there is a coming wave of pent up demand, of people becoming more active. Getting off the couch and being active within the house or wherever they can maintain the social distancing requirements. So those who are financially able will start to buy again, those with a do-it-yourself attitude will get busy. Home fitness, home renovation, home entertainment. In order to fuel their home-based activities, they will need to be able to purchase products and have their products delivered. It will extend beyond these home items, to personal items, to entertainment and recreation. if you sell a product from a shelf, you have the opportunity to continue selling, online.

Ecommerce Websites

We are currently offering heavily discounted services to help local businesses bring their product offering to their website for online purchase. Tou can see more details at: https://www.netnotic.com/web-design/ecommerce-for-local-business/

Ecommerce + Innovative Thinking

In the face of necessity, the people of Saskatchewan get resourceful. Some of the most innovative thinking has come as a result of needing to overcome some form of adversity. We are certainly facing adversity right now. In conversations with other Saskatchewan businesses, we are developing creative plans to keep employees employed and keep revenues flowing. This includes both integrating technology into the sales process as well some low tech but equally creative solutions.