More and more businesses are moving online- E-Commerce. And there are more incentives to do so everyday. Online shops present huge opportunities for new budding Irish Start-ups with bright business ideas, as well as for already existing off-line businesses in Ireland who want to reach new markets, both Nationally and Abroad, The increase in online retail in the consumer market will be followed very quickly by business to business. And companies are making it easier. Sage themselves now no longer ship physical software product to us, we get all our Sage Accounting (Sage 50c) and payroll (Micropay) software online, making delivery quicker and easier.
Top Tips for E-Commerce:
- Hire a Professional. Don’t even imagine that it’s easy or that you can google how to do it. Buyers are increasingly more selective about buying online and are far more likely to purchase from a website that looks good and functions well. Prepare to spend at the start in order to save money and more importantly for a small business, time, in the long run. In addition, freeing yourself from the initial design and set-up also allows you to focus on other important aspects of getting the online business off the ground. Setting up an E-Commerce business, even a few years ago was costly and time consuming as it was most likely going to be a bespoke product, not very suitable for small businesses in Ireland. But now it is a more competitive field, with help available from the Local Enterprise Office through their online trading scheme.
- Know your Customer, both Existing and Potential. As we said, if you don’t currently have an online business you are reaching into a new market. Know their age, their gender, where they originate from, their hobbies, interests, what websites they like to visit, what their job is, their online buying habits and how many times a day they go online. This will make it so much easier to market to your customers. And Yes, this seems like a lot, but a simple e-survey with a possible incentive, as in a prize, or voucher, can go a long way to sweetening the deal.
- Be Social. Reach them through the market you want to join, for example, if your business is Business to Consumer, Facebook is probably your medium of choice. If you are selling very visual products, try Instagram. Have a look at our blog on Social Media to get you started. If you intend to run an online anything you need to have an active presence on some or all of the main social media platforms. Sign up and secure your business name as soon as possible. Social media is a way to engage with your audience and share information with them on a constant basis. Choose your platform wisely, I find the easiest way to do this is to look at the age demographic. I feel Social Media allows our brand and business to be creative and show personality, which for a customer, could be the difference between you and your competitor, and you want to drive them to your E-Commerce site as easily as possible.
- Link your Systems. As far as possible the switch to E-Commerce should be easier and more cost effective in the long run, therefore it makes sense to link your Sales through your E-Commerce site directly to your accounts, Eliminating the need for double administration. We partner with Actinic, a one stop shop (excuse the pun) to get your E-Commerce platform off the ground. Talk to your designer and us about this at any stage, but make sure it is sooner than later, we can help. Contact us on 1850-202502, or by email.