The coronavirus pandemic is bad news. It has closed down a critical segment of the world's economy and killed far too many people. If, however, you’re willing to chase for a silver lining, the shutdown and social distancing could be an open door for small business owners to finally get online.
Why no eCommerce?
Most people in the retail industry understand the importance of having an online business. So, you might be asking, how a successful retail business could have no online presence? But they exist.
In many cases these businesses are small or mid-sized, successful, and busy enough that they just had not yet built up an online business.
“Going online was something they had hoped to do, but it wasn’t something that they needed to do,” explained Mike Potter, the CEO of Rewind, a cloud service with over 10,000 users.
“Their local business was successful,” Potter said. “They were doing fine. It wasn’t something that they had to do out of necessity — to go online. It would have been a nice-to-have.”
This situation is not too hard to understand, imagine you have a retail shop or even a small chain of stores.
As the proprietor of a physical business, you likely don't have a great deal of web-based business experience. You may have some fear about recruiting new people, burning through cash on new products, taking hundreds or thousands of item photographs, and executing on an unknown number of other tasks.
In "typical" times, you hence have little inspiration to move your store's items on the web. You're caught up with dealing with the clients directly before you.
“In some cases, those merchants are not necessarily looking to grow their business in that way and add that complexity. So they’re happy just running the local store that they’ve got. They are happy selling to the local consumers they’ve got. They know their customers, and they’re satisfied with that.” Potter said.
The coronavirus pandemic and its associated store closures offer both a strong motivation for small and medium-sized businesses to start selling online.
The first of these “opportunities” — if we can call anything related to the pandemic an opportunity — is a powerful and immediate reason to open an online store.
Around the globe, physical stores are shutting down to decrease the virus's spread.
The same business owners and leaders that either did not have the time or energy for e-commerce or that were not keen on the development of an online store are maybe thinking, "'Okay, my business doesn't work the way it was working before. The clients that I had are not, at this point ready to come to the store,'” Potter said.
"Regardless of whether the store is open I think there is general anxiety across Nigeria at least, presumably Europe also, that individuals simply would prefer not to connect with others as of now… they would prefer to shop on the web."
"So I think it is, even more, a need now than it was in the past where it was possible, 'No doubt, that would be a pleasant thing. We'd prefer to do that sometime in the not so distant future.' Now it's become a survival kind of thing from a business standpoint," Potter continued.
Also, some small businesses may likewise have the opportunity and individuals to get online at this point.
For instance, all or most of their retail staff could be given something to do (rather than furloughing them) adding products to a newly launched e-commerce site.
Photographing, as an example, a few hundred products and adding them to an online store is light work for a multitude of retail agents with eight hours a day and a bit of focus.
Regardless of whether the first run of product images look more like Instagram posts than professional photography, the business will have made significant steps.
Creating an online store
Now that we have looked at the problem at hand it is time for us to seek a quick solution. How then can a business create an online presence and start selling on the web?
The easiest way to take a business online is by using Tradift. Tradift is an all in one platform that provides all the essentials needed to start, grow and scale any e-commerce business. Small business owners can easily take advantage of this affordable, and built to scale service and create an online store for their business.
To begin creating an online store in Nigeria, one would need to create an account with Tradift, after creating an account, an online store would be generated for the merchant immediately, where they can sell their products online to customers.
One advantage of using Tradift in Nigeria is that it integrates with leading online payment services like Paystack and Paypal, what that means is that the merchant would be able to receive their payments directly to their bank account after-sales.
After creating the online store, one can easily boost their sales by creating discount codes for their customers on Tradift.
Click and collect
Merchants’ newly created online stores might not initially ship products. Rather, retailers could put their efforts into click-and-collect sales (what some call buy-online, pick-up in-store). The merchants would still be serving their local customers but in a new way.