E-commerce Collaboration for Online Success
Many companies have embraced new ways of working during lockdown. E-commerce has provided an opportunity to maintain sales when shops are forced to close. It is relatively quick and low-cost to set up an online shop. This statement is evidenced by the fact that between April and July 2020, 85,000UK businesses launched online or joined an online marketplace.
Whilst it is great to have the possibility to sell online, it isn’t easy or affordable for many micro-businesses. With a sharp decline in footfall and uncertainty about the future, many local shops had to consider the options. How could they continue to serve local residents?
Whilst there have been many different solutions, we want to showcase a couple of community e-commerce collaborations.
Welsh Independent Businesses Go Online
In small communities across Wales, independent retailers have signed up to a collective online platform. Siop.io is a Welsh and English platform which enables people to search for local independent retailers who sell what they need. It offers the convenience of one-stop shopping, whilst supporting the local economy.
Independent butchers and bakers are among the businesses who have embraced the collaborative spirit. Rather than setting up and managing their own e-commerce site, they have joined together and benefit from a system that makes it easy to receive orders. They can then focus on collating items ready for delivery or collection.
With the platform working well, the next step is for pubs and restaurants to be offered the chance to join. Hot meals could soon be available, alongside groceries and other essentials.
Local Online Shopping with the Risborough Basket
Another e-commerce collaboration was set up in a town local to Aylesbury Box Company. Risborough Basket brings together all the participating local shops of Princes Risborough. They even joined forces to create a January Sale page.
For easy browsing, this e-commerce site is categorised by retailer or product, enabling shoppers to find and order exactly what they need. Risborough Basket offers to collect each order from the different retailers and deliver it to local residents for free. This has been a vital service to many during lockdown.
They say that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and these examples clearly illustrate how challenges can turn into opportunities. Although the local business collaborations were a response to the current situation, they have a long-term value.
Furlough, redundancy or the desire to follow a new path may have led to you to consider setting up an e-commerce business. Is it wise to set up your own shop, team up with others or join a collective online market place?
When you are starting out, it can be wise to limit your range. This approach keeps supplies, stock management and order processing simple.
Selling online really focuses on delivering visual appeal. You need to have great images of your products, supported by good product descriptions. The services of a professional photographer may seem expensive, but this can be money well spent.
Use a trusted payment gateway and ensure that your website is secure. Get advice on data protection and put in place all legal requirements for online sales before your site goes live.
Post-purchase Processes and E-commerce Packaging
It is also important to consider the post-purchase process. Your success is dependent on responding quickly when orders arrive. The goods need to be easy to pick and pack. Your e-commerce packaging has to provide good protection and you need a reliable courier service.
Your customers will like to be informed – let them know that their order has been received, that it has been dispatched and if there are any changes to the estimated time of delivery. Also, consider how you will manage returns and refunds.
All of the post-purchase elements may be straightforward to manage when orders a low, but also consider how to scale them as the business grows. Collaboration with a local packaging supplier, fulfilment company, courier service can aid e-commerce success.
Ask a Packaging Supplier!
Aylesbury Box Company design and manufacture cardboard packaging for businesses of all sizes, including start-ups. We are happy to offer advice and provide low-volume runs without charging a premium. If you would like our recommendations and a quote for your packaging supplies, get in touch on 01296 436888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.