Making the switch from in-person, bricks and mortar selling to online sales can be a daunting prospect but if done thoughtfully and properly, it can enable businesses to continue to serve their customers.

Here are 5 tips for online selling: 

  1. Choose your channels– Whilst your website could be a powerful selling tool, you may not necessarily need to build a full new website or add on e-commerce ordering capabilities to your existing one. If you already have an online presence via social media, you can use your pages to showcase your products and offer sales via email or telephone, depending on your product. If you want to explore selling via a website, Shopify, Squarespace and Wix will enable you to start from scratch with a number of free and paid-for service offerings.
  2. Sell the right products– It is important to review your product range and decide what to sell online – you might wish to sell a limited selection of products or specialist products which are reflective of current trends. Keeping in touch with your customers and engaging with them online will help you understand their needs and wants, so you can adapt your offering accordingly.
  3. Implement a process – Ensure your sales and ordering process is clear at the outset.Highlight your delivery costs, order timings and returns policy. You should also provide contact details and information for customers wishing to amend or cancel their orders.

    For further government guidance on the rules around online selling, click here.
  4. Collaborate– Can you partner with existing online retailers such as Just Eat or Etsy to get your products to market? Or can you work with neighbouring businesses in your area to share customers and resources. Recent examples of this include:
    • A bar teaming up with a local deli to offer hampers and wine and cheese boards.
    • A café/restaurant working with a local taxi firm to offer home delivery services. 
  1. Maintain service standards– Just because you can’t see your customers, doesn’t mean your service doesn’t need to be less than perfect.Ensure you maintain communication with your customers throughout the purchase and add a personal touch wherever possible.