Posted: 19/01/2021

Setting up an online store

A recent report from the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) shows that internet sales were up 55% in the last year. This is hardly surprising, but it demonstrates the fastest growth since October 2018, with 29% of UK consumers now shopping online more than once per week and 31% of online shoppers using Click & Collect services at least once per month.

Setting up an online business

No longer the preserve of the retail giants, having an online store or click & collect service can provide an additional revenue stream – as well as bringing more customers through the doors of your physical store. This is particularly relevant in these times of Covid-19, but also more broadly with customers actively wanting to support their local businesses. The aim is to establish new shopping habits going forward by making it as easy as possible for them to do so – regardless of their circumstances.

Ideas from the industry

If you’re toying with the idea of launching an e-commerce offering for your customers, Fine Food Digest delved into Deli owners Thyme & Tides and their newly launched online-only business The Food Forager. Created in response to the pressures of the pandemic, the business provided a new revenue stream. You can read the full article here to see how other businesses have adapted their operations.

How do I do it?

There are many different platforms from which to build an online store. At the most basic level, you can simply list your products on a poster, flyer, online on your website. Or you can use social media and ask people to email or phone in orders. Requiring slightly more online know-how (but still at a basic level) there are several platforms that will enable you to get an online shop up and running with surprisingly little effort (e.g. Shopify’s helpful how-to guide).

What else can you do?

Don’t forget, for any online offering, data is going to be key to your success. Collect customer details as soon as you can and wherever possible (ensuring you adhere to GDPR rules). This will ensure you can communicate with them by email or social media. Read Fine Food Digest‘s article for further inspriation: Make data the real driving force behind your cafe’s loyalty scheme.

If you have experienced success with a particular platform that you think will help other retailers, please let us know.

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