Are you ready for online trading?

20th Apr 2020

Are you ready for online trading?

20th Apr 2020

Can your customers shop online?

When Covid-19 trading restrictions are loosened to include online delivery of non-essential services, will your website be ready?

Even under level 3 and 2 restrictions, face-to-face trading is looking pretty difficult. There’s a difference between having a physical retail business with a traditional website, and an online business with a physical storefront. 

Traditional websites were more like a poster or brochure about your company – a way to get the word out there about who you are and what you do, and to encourage people to call you or come into your premises.

But in a world where people are being encouraged to reduce their shopping trips and do as much as they can from their homes, your website becomes a lot more than that – it becomes, for most customers, the only part of your business that they see.

Think about your website. Does it introduce your business in an inviting way? Can customers easily find out how to order from you? Can they see your people and make those important interpersonal connections? Is there a good description of your services, including some of those unusual jobs that they might have trouble solving themselves? Can people see your products? 

Is the whole experience one that the customer finds painless, and leaves them with a smile on their face?

It is time to get your website sorted for online trading.

  • Does your website introduce your business in an inviting way?
  • Can customers easily find out how to order from you?
  • Can they see your people and make those important interpersonal connections?
  • Is there a good description of your services, including any unusual or unique ones?
  • Can people see your products?

Different ways that Turboweb can help your business to create an online store:

1. Product module with payment for online shopping

Check out Turboweb’s products module. It’s designed to showcase your products to their best advantage, can be customised to include spec sheets or other details if needed, and can be easily integrated with a shopping cart and online payments. Delivery calculations and costs can also be added automatically.

The products module can accommodate a large inventory by organising your products into categories so your customers can easily find exactly the thing that they want.

The Singing Wood website has a great example of a lovely, simple products module that could easily be extended to allow full online ordering. And Mighty Mix can sell directly from their website, as well as through their franchisees and stockists.

The Greenhouse Florist in Mosgiel has a great online store that allows customers to choose between click-and-collect and delivery options.

A number of our customers already have a products module on their site, with photos, specs and details of their products, but no online ordering facility. If this is you, now is the time to figure out your delivery options and add a shopping cart and online payment option to your site.

2. Customised order form, with or without online payments

Another simple option is a customised ordering form on your website.

The form would capture everything you need to process that order, including their delivery area, whether they are an existing customer, or any other information you need. If your inventory is very simple (for example, three sizes of vege boxes, with or without a bag of potatoes) the form could have drop-down menus or checkboxes so the customer can indicate what items they want and how many. 

The order would be emailed to you, a confirmation email sent to the customer and you can personally follow that sale up for payment processing by phone or email. One option could be to have the total price and your online banking information included in that automatic reply email, and that you will ship the goods once payment has been made. Or a credit card payment portal can be added to this ordering process.

This customised order form is most suitable for two categories of business. Those which trade in only one or two products and package sizes, and those that sell such an enormous range that there’s no way they can list it all online. 

Most other businesses will find that they’ll need something a bit more sophisticated in order to attract their customers, such as a Turboweb products module.

3. Email and phone orders, using your standard contact form

The most basic solution to starting to trade online is already built into the vast majority of our websites; your customer enquiry form on your contact page.

If you can take email orders, arrange delivery, and process payments over the phone for instance, then your website needs to tell people that you can do this, and that they can use the customer enquiry form to email you about an order.

Take a look at your wording on the home and contact pages of your website. Do they mention phone or email ordering at all? Can your customers easily find out what they need to do to place an order, how they can make payment, what the delivery charges are likely to be, and when they can expect the delivery? Is it clear that you are accepting orders from the general public, or is your online ordering only open to trade accounts? Would an ‘Order Now’ button on the home page be a good idea?

Although this is the simplest solution to set up, it is the one which will create the largest increase in work at your end.

You will still need to phone or email people to arrange payment and delivery, and to clarify and confirm what their order actually is. Also, you will need to be checking your email for orders several times a day as people have come to expect a quick turn-around to online enquiries.

4. Link to another online sales platform

Maybe your business already does some trading through another online platform separate from your website, like Shopify. Turboweb can link the two so your customers can easily find how to buy from you. 

For example, CVC sell used trucks through TradeMe, and their website links to their TradeMe accounts. Egnite use the online sales platform Storbie to process their orders, and their Turboweb site has a “shop now” button that links straight to that site.

An advantage of this method is that it is often very simple to set up yourself and, in the case of TradeMe anyway, your customers are used to shopping there. 

The chief disadvantage is that there is often little to no flexibility or customisation available, tech support can be very variable between third party providers, and if you’re sending your customers to a big trading platform then they might decide to buy something else instead.

Need a website, and need it now?

If your business has been pretty much all face-to-face trading, and selling through markets or social media, you'll be looking for a way to set up a website and get online sales up and running easily and quickly.

Check out Turboweb's new SinglePage website offering.

We can set you up with a single page website, with a contact/order form all ready to go. It's easily expandable at any stage. Your website can grow with your business, allowing you to add additional pages and functionality whenever its needed.

Other ideas for using your website for online business

Maybe getting your business online will take a bit more creative thinking. There are plenty of businesses that aren’t just about creating or sourcing products and selling them to people.

But no matter your existing business model, you need to be thinking about how you can use your website as your main place of business.

  • Can you do video consultations with people? Vet clinics and GP practices are already doing this. Could your business give it a try?
  • Can people send you photos and plans via email and then you have a web chat with them about their requirements?
  • Can people press a button to request a call-back? 
  • Is your FAQs page up to date?

Get your business website ready to sell online in alert level 3 with Turboweb

Turboweb have been helping kiwis get their businesses online for the better part of fifteen years. We’re established enough that you can trust that we’ll be around for years to come, and we’re nimble enough that we can help you swiftly pivot to face these new challenges.

Have a chat with Turboweb today.