With tough times ahead, ecommerce has been a lifeline for many businesses but it’s also an opportunity to think outside the box and get ahead of the pack.
It’s been a challenging year for businesses, and the most recent level 5 measures has dealt the sector another blow. With the next few weeks being a testing time, there’s going to be a significant reliance on ecommerce services to tide things over.
Yet an ecommerce set up can be much more than a stopgap until physical customers return, and it’s a gamble to expect footfall to recover quickly in December after restrictions are lifted, said Loughnan Hooper, managing director of Dotser.
“The fact is footfall is never going to come back to the way it was – ever,” he said. “It’s very hard for businesses. They appear to be paralysed and are facing a daunting couple of years ahead.”
The challenges are significant but for businesses in the mid-range or higher, thoughts will be on improving upon the foundation already set. It’s an area Dotser has decades of experience in, having built its own platform from the ground up and refining it over the years.
Hooper has seen numerous businesses embrace ecommerce when restrictions originally arrived back in March and has seen significant success as a result.
He gives one example of a major client which made the tough decision to shut down a number of its bricks and mortar stores but then saw online sales increase significantly.
As its devices are similar to those sold by major international brands, it faces stiff competition but Dotser’s specialised commerce platform, alongside its work in areas like SEO, has helped it grow its online services.
The client is highly visible in natural search results and items like digital cameras, telescopes and binoculars will appear on the first page with major brands like DID, Harvey Norman, Argos, and Currys PC World.
The other crucial part is managing inventory. While the client has over 3,500 products to manage, with multiple special offers and promotions from suppliers, the overall system has time-saving tools to ensure its simple to use.
“Many of our clients have adapted swiftly, changing their model and using their website as the master product catalogue, ensuring that everyone – be it the public, staff – knows all the essential product details and best prices,” said Hooper. “As a result, many clients’ sales have significantly increased in the last eight months.”
There’s also a significant opportunity for businesses to think outside the box. Another client of Dotser is working on an online subscription method using its system, sending videos and PDFs automatically to clients.
Creativity may be the last thing on a company’s mind but it’s creative businesses that will succeed in this current landscape.
“The ones who are pivoting at the minute might start off on the low-end, but they will be the people who will succeed in a year’s time,” he said. “It’s going to be a different landscape. There are no rules and our system is flexible to fit innovative businesses with the ability to throttle as sales grow.”
Embracing Click and Collect
The latest Covid restrictions states that retail businesses can continue if they facilitate a click and collect system; a sign for companies to embrace it when possible.
Dotser’s own Click and Collect model is designed for all businesses to use, offering the same ease of use and robustness that made it popular over the past few months.
“Dotser Commerce can bulk import your products if you have a large product set,” he said. “Get your core products up first, assign some as special offers and you can share these automatically on social media with one-click.”
The other benefit of Click and Collect is being able to specify a collection time allowing businesses to stagger collection times and prevent queues.
The most significant benefit to Dotser’s system is that it’s built by Dotser itself. There will be no situations where a tweak can’t be made to suit a specific business need, giving it a flexibility that may not be found with other providers.
Add to that features like integration with major payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal and Realex, a self-contained website content management system, and API integration with third-party systems like ERP and accounting packages, and you have a system that can be as simple or wide-ranging as you need.
“When it comes back to our software, we’re able to tweak the system to fit your process or the model rather than reading the manual and going and trying to find out if we need another third-party plug-in that might or might not work.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ECOMMERCE SOLUTIONS CONTACT DOTSER on www.dotser.com