Everyone says you need to be online, but is it right for your independent deli or farm shop?
Bluntly, sending stuff out through the post is hard. You’ve gotta have it in store, pack it up, write out the labels, get DPD in or drop it at the post office, cost all that up and make a profit.
Like so many businesses nowadays, it only makes sense at volume. Sending out a half a dozen every day begins to be OK – but less than that and we promise you’ll never be quite sure if it’s worth it. Plus you need the staff and the space to do it, and you’re constantly checking your emails. It only takes one to be broken, another to annoy a customer because the email was missed, and you have damaged margins or damaged customer relations.
Plus – advertising costs. No one is really serious when they think they can do a unique online offer of Montgomery cheddar, Peters Yard biscuits and a bottle of cider. These things, as fantastic as they are, are not unique online and you do not have the volume to be cheaper than everyone else.
So why be online?
The answer is simple: To sell more products to your existing customers.
Give your people more ways to shop
- Let them shop in advance
- Let them reserve products
- Let them Click & Collect
- Do local deliveries only
- Let them book events
- Link to offers on social media
- Let them browse before committing to visiting
- Offer them a wider range of foods and non food products online than in store
- Earn commission by offering them products direct from producers online (yes there are great services who can do that like Hider+Delishops) direct to their home or click and collect from your store
And you don’t have to commit to anything that you are not happy with or ready for.
✔ Don’t want to mail stuff out? Do click and collect only
✔ You don’t want to list your whole shop? Focus on your core products
✔ You don’t want to deliver every day? Limit orders only, for instance, to Thursdays.
✔ Offer new products and seasonal products all in one place
✔ Offer non food products
You don’t want a me-too website that looks just like everybody else’s and attracts the traffic of Margate in winter. You need a website that does what your store already does, but in more and bigger ways.
Your shop window is not your shop window. In the new normal your online shop is your shop window. And it is more flexible, more focussed, bigger and with greater capacity than any shop window you can imagine. And it is cheaper.
You can’t afford not to be online.