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Should I take my business online?


In a post-COVID-19 world, many businesses are moving what they do online. At EMSL, we have a wealth of experience helping organisations take their offering online and running successful eCommerce strategies.

Here is what you should consider before taking the leap…

Should I build an online store?

Online shopping is part of the norm these days – even more so post coronavirus – yet not all businesses need an online store. If you are thinking of setting up an eCommerce site to sell your products or services, first ask yourself if there is a need for this - both for you and your customers. You should also ask if your business has the right model that would lend itself well to selling online - not all do.

What type of businesses benefit most from an online store?

Typically, online stores work best for selling products or items in small to moderate quantities and directly to end-users. Those working in industries such as retail, supermarket & groceries and software (think apps), where users can browse, purchase and have the items/services delivered within a matter of days, work best. Anything that doesn’t require the customer to take a long time to make a decision and where a price can be given immediately, work well for selling online.

For those businesses selling in bigger quantities (on an industrial scale), who have a very specialised product that is technical or customisable and who typically require long lead times, it may be difficult to sell through an eCommerce site. However, that shouldn’t stop your business from telling people what you do via a website, even if you can’t sell to them through it directly.

For small businesses, such as small local shops, selling online could be costly to set up (the website build, operational set-up and delivery costs). However, there are schemes where you can come together with other businesses to spread the cost and risk, such as The High Street Basket.

What should I sell through my online shop?

Before you start building an online shop, you need to decide what you’re going to sell and who you are going to sell it to. You will need to decide your niche and research whether there is a market for it. Simple Google searches can be a good way to start seeing if there is demand for your product or service online, and what the competition (if any) is doing.  

Benefits of an online store

If you have a business suited to online selling, there are several key reasons for having an online store:

For your customer

  • Offers convenience and an easy way of shopping
  • Provides customer choice: shop in store or shop online
  • Allows customers to browse and shop 24/7
  • Helps customers learn more about your offering

For your business

  • Boosts your brand online and increases your visibility
  • Helps people find you, particularly new customers
  • It’s very measurable: track customer buying habits and product trends
  • It’s scalable; as you grow, your online store can easily expand
  • Your business can go from trading locally to nationally, or even internationally

Challenges of running an online store

Finally, before taking plunge, there may be many benefits to taking your offering online, but you should also consider that there will be challenges:

  • You will need to work hard to generate traffic to your online shop (it won’t happen overnight)  
  • Converting shoppers into buyers isn’t always easy - you’ll need a well thought out plan
  • Online shops require their own unique operational set-up, different to your current processes
  • It will take time to get it right. There is no set way to create and grow an online shop – every industry, customer and business is different. Creating a successful online shop will require testing and trialling
  • Once an online shop is live, it needs to be regularly maintained and serviced, otherwise it will likely break or become out-of-date (frustrating the user)

We hope you found this article interesting. If you need help taking your business online, EMSL’s team of web, design and marketing experts are here to help you. Contact us today for a no-obligation chat.

Should I take my business online?
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