The whole concept of ‘getting online’ was the big story of 2020 – ways to pivot, stay flexible in a socially distanced world. However, something has changed…evidence and research is showing us that online is here to stay. Not as an alternative to the high street or market stall or face to face meeting but as a complimentary offer. Of course many of your customers are ready and waiting to get out and about as soon as they are able but some are not. As small businesses we need to be ready for a new way of shopping, accessing businesses and delivering what we do. Even for those who are happy and confident to get out and about, many will also have got used to connecting with businesses like yours online, in some form, forever.
So how can you sell online easily and simply without having to invest a huge amount of money? How can you use e-commerce for both products and services?
Here are some of the best options for 2021.
- WIX – Great for small business and needs very little technical confidence. There is a drag and drop system of construction and pretty good flexibility to get the designs you want. You can even build your shop for free – you only start to pay when you sell something. Downside? It doesn’t integrate with social media shops e.g. Instagram stoppable posts and you have to upload products one at a time.
- Shopify – This platform has had a great 2020 and has proved popular with small businesses. It has some brilliant, modern looking templates and designs and you can integrate it with tons of other platforms including Amazon. This really is an easy option to work with but it isn’t the cheapest. There are also fees if you don’t use their payment gateway. For example, if you use Stripe then you’ll pay per transaction.
- Square Online Store – New to the market, Square Up now offers you a chance to quickly and easily sell online – even without much tech know how. They also let you do this for free and overall one of the best value options. However, there are some limitations to the design side and you may need to make some compromises. Bonus? Sign up to Square Up using the referral key in our Member Hub and you get the first £1000 of transactions fee free.
- Squarespace – Brilliant to sell services, make appointments, sell subscriptions and more. You’ll be able to make it look super stylish too.There are also some great integrations like ApplePay and Instagram.
- Go Bespoke – Despite the fact that I’ve just given you some of the best and cheapest ways to get your e-commerce sharpened but I don’t want to put you off heading to a web designer and getting a bespoke option just for you. There will be an investment to make but you’ll be surprised that it doesn’t need to be that much. You will get exactly what you want, unique to your business and something that truly gives you all the solutions you need. Top tips? Before you seek a web designer (head to your fellow members first!!) understand exactly what you want your website to do, who your customers are and what they’re searching for online. This will give your web designer a proper idea about what your business needs.