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Ecommerce is the future: helping independent retailers get online

Written by Kelly Cummins

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2020 is shaping up to be a year defined by dramatic change, for every business and every consumer. Retail is one sector that has had to act particularly fast to respond to a rapid evolution in customer behaviour.

47% of consumers say the number of times they shop online will rise

Research by O2 Business and Retail Economics reveals just how much COVID-19 has accelerated the demand for a digitised shopping experience.

O2 Business’ The Big Ask report reveals that 44% of customers feel that the pandemic will have a permanent impact on the way they shop moving forward – with 47% stating that the number of times they shop online will definitely increase.

24% of customers say they have even purchased an item online whilst in-store!

Online retail in the UK surpassed 150% year-on-year revenue growth this year

Retail Times recently reported on consumer research from Emarsys, which showed that shoppers say they will shun the high street in favour of online this Black Friday. Just 13% reckon they will brave the high street, while 58% will buy from brands solely online.

The article states that, according to COVID Commerce Insight, online retail in the UK surpassed 150% year-on-year revenue growth during the height of the lockdown — representing a record 31% of all retail according to the Office for National Statistics — before settling above 100% in August.

Independent retailers need to futureproof their business with ecommerce

Trends on the high street are echoed in the independent retail market. Until a vaccine is found, all retail business owners know that that shop doors could close at any time if there’s a second wave of COVID-19. Even if there’s not, people have adapted to shopping online now.

Smart independent shops know that it’s become business critical to invest in an online proposition in order to remain competitive – and to survive.

Even without the threats to business that a pandemic generates, there are many reasons to switch to or improve your ecommerce offering, for example:

  • Open for business – 24/7/365 – with fewer staff overheads
  • Expand your customer base beyond your local area
  • Stay competitive

Feeling overwhelmed about going online?

Having to change the way your business operates can be daunting. But lockdown will have forced you to look differently at how to make your business run profitably, whatever the circumstances. An online shop, for example, is now seen by many retailers as a priority solution.

You’ll have many questions. Where do you start? What system do you use? Who can you get to build it? How complicated will it be to add products to and keep up to date? What are the ongoing running costs?

Case Study: Solo Mia says ciao to new fashion ecommerce site

Previously selling via her studio near Basingstoke, and various events and pop-ups across Hampshire, Erika Conti, owner of Solo Mia – a boutique clothing brand for women – was adamant she was not going online, primarily due to the limited edition items she sold. She was worried that by the time she’d added them to an ecommerce website, her stock would have run out.

But the arrival of lockdown opened Erika’s eyes to new ways of selling.  One being her highly successful Market Nights which continue happen live on Facebook every Tuesday at 8.30pm; attracting an audience of 1K shoppers, every week.

As a micro business, Erika had invested in a website but it didn’t easily allow for online sales.

Call in an expert you can trust

Erika had previously met Brevity Marketing via the Marketing Buddies service and she knew of another company in Basingstoke, who’d used Brevity for website design and had liked the end result.  When it came to her website, she wanted to work with a marketing expert that she trusted:

“Kaia is undoubtedly honest and transparent.  Brevity wasn’t not the cheapest quote I received for my website design, but Kaia spent time listening to my needs and worked out the best route to market for my ecommerce site.”

Erika Conti - Founder and Owner, Solo Mia

Finding the right ecommerce platform

For Kaia, Director of Brevity Marketing, she was conscious that Erika needed to keep costs low due to tight profit margins in the fashion industry:

“I explained that going down the WordPress route for Ecommerce would still mean she’d have to integrate with another system for the ecommerce element – something like Woo Commerce or Shopify. To deliver a quality looking website which was intuitive to use and had less monthly overheads , I suggested Shopify.”

We asked Erika to research some women’s fashion stores she loved the look of and then Brevity analysed the Shopify templates available and additional apps required to fulfil Erika’s needs.

View the end result here.

A happy customer

“When the circumstances of 2020 led me to move online, I knew I could trust Kaia at Brevity to guide me in the right direction, with honesty, expertise, and clarity. My customers are so impressed with my new website and it has allowed my business to grow. If I’d have known an ecommerce site could be so easy to use, I would have taken my collections online much sooner.” – Erika Conti, Founder, Solo Mia

Brevity is a marketing agency in Hampshire that can help you get your independent retail business ready to face a new tomorrow with positivity, confidence, and the right ecommerce site. Contact us to discuss your requirements. Call 01256 536 000 or email hello@brevity.marketing