Right before our eyes, the world has changed and e-commerce has, overnight, become an essential part of the SME marketing and sales kit. To say that we are in extraordinary times is an understatement.
While we grapple with the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, as humans and as business professionals, there is no clear playbook to follow. No one has all the answers, but with forecasts of extended social distancing in New Zealand and across the globe, one thing is clear – transactional businesses of all sizes need an e-commerce solution.
Facebook and social media, in general, are seeing an extreme spike in usage across the globe due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With most communities at home, on their mobile devices, and with time on their hands, sales and marketing on social media is arguably the most effective, economical and targeted tool that small businesses have to connect with their customers at this time.
When considering a solution, here are four things business owners will need to ask themselves about an e-commerce platform:
- How easy is it to get started and use?
- How easy is it for my customer to use?
- How do I promote this new service and win more customers?
- And most importantly, how is this going to make a difference to my P&L?
Also, consider the platforms you think fit your business brand best. Facebook is certainly worth considering. It’s a trusted environment and used by most kiwis on a daily basis. Facebook has also announced some great business initiatives aimed at helping small business during this time, such as new templates to communicate key messages during Covid 19.
You can download them here for free:
Facebook also offers a range of industry-specific tools.
Small businesses need to carefully consider two key variables in order to efficiently transact in an e-commerce environment, Facebook or otherwise:
1. The cost of administering the e-commerce platform:
Do they have the resources to upload content and then effectively market the platform? Traditionally, the business employs an expert inhouse, or outsource this marketing activity.
2. How will it affect their P&L:
E-commerce marketing should only be undertaken when it can make a demonstrable difference to the company’s P&L. How a business selects what to market is key to their ability to transact profitably within an e-commerce environment. The business must be able to easily fulfil orders without adding staff resource or complexity to their business model. Take choice out of the solution - if you run a café, sell coffee beans, if you’re a local butcher, offer set packs – don’t give your customers a large range of options that will cause you a headache to fulfil. Connection and efficient delivery build goodwill.
For a lot of smaller businesses, opening an online store may seem like a daunting task, but in the current environment, there are a number of economically viable providers ready and willing to help. For retail stores, there is no way around it, in this day and age, a digital shopfront is just as important, if not more important than a physical shop front.
Having an online sales portal will mean that you will not only be more accessible to your existing customers, but you will also open yourself up to a whole new pool of potential patrons.
BuddyBid is an NZ owned & operated business that provides effective eCommerce solutions SME’s. As a preferred developer for Facebook they offer a simple [NZ made] online sale solution
Take a look at some live examples of the BuddyBid eCommerce platform in action:
https://sample.buddybid.co [website platform]
Click here to visit the Buddybid website.