Lockdown forced many businesses to close their doors to help keep Wales safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a huge challenge to businesses who rely on their bricks-and-mortar presence for income, but its one that many Welsh firms have met thanks to digital.

With doors closing so swiftly, businesses had to adapt quickly to ensure they could survive. For retailers like Spiffy, a wellness shop in Carmarthen, selling online became the only way to keep trading in way that protected the business, its staff and its customers.

 

But how easy is it for businesses to sell online? Given that over ¾ of Welsh businesses sold online pre-Covid, according to the latest Digital Maturity Survey, there are definitely ways of doing it well. Luckily, there are a whole host of platforms out there that can help you turn your website into a one-click-shop for your customers.

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Tools like Shopify, BigCartel, WooCommerce and more all help you turn your website into a sales machine. They help you:

  • Easily sell your products online
  • Simply list stock online, complete with descriptions and reviews
  • Manage stock levels, with automated notifications for low stock
  • Take payments from a wide range of sources, including card, PayPal and WorldPay

So, we’re here to help you navigate the world of online sales with a quick run through one of the most popular platforms, Shopify.

What is Shopify and what does it do?

Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms, with over a million businesses using it all over the world.

With Shopify, you can build a website that lets you sell your products online. You can list all your stock, complete with pictures, descriptions and specifications, ready for your customers to buy with just a few clicks.

But what if you already have a website? No problem – Shopify Lite integrates with your existing site, meaning you won’t have to build things from scratch.

Payment isn’t a problem, either. As standard, Shopify stores take payments from all the usual cards, but it also integrates with platforms like PayPal, making it even easier for customers to buy from you. And, to keep customer data safe, Shopify provides a free SSL certificate. This protects the data your customer sends you via your website (such as card number or address), and vice versa.
 

Websites with an SSL certificate have a padlock by the address bar

 

Shopify can even integrate with platforms like Amazon Webstore and eBay. It also links up with the real world too – if you have an iPad, you can use the Shopify app to conduct sales and automatically update your webstore’s inventory, meaning you’ll never been caught short of stock.

As Shopify has grown, it has introduced more nifty features to help make selling online easier. Their mobile app lets you manage orders and your stock on-the-go, while its analytics dashboard helps you spot trends and better understand your customers. It also links with Google Analytics to help you track sales, visits and referral sources. This is really useful in learning how your customers buy from you, and how you can make it easier.

It’s analytics that show you how to transform a shopping experience for your customer. V3 Apparel, a fitness clothing company in Blaenau Gwent, used analytics to assess the customer journey on their website and noticed they were losing a lot of overseas customers at the checkout. By simply adding the US Dollar as a currency option, they increased their international sales by 22%.

 

Speaking of customer journeys, Shopify also allows you to link Facebook and Instagram’s e-commerce capability so you can sell products directly via social media. Getting your products in front of the right audience is half the battle, so if you can let customers buy products where they see them, it makes it even easier for them and will help you boost conversion.

What do I need to bear in mind?

If you’re new to selling online, it can be difficult knowing where to start. Our digital business advisers have the know-how to help you make the most of Shopify, so remember to book your free 1:1 session with them to get the answers to all things e-commerce.

Some of the most common problems our advisers see with Shopify sites relates to product listings. If you have hundreds of products, it is a big task to write descriptions for every single one. However, not only do these descriptions help you better sell the product, it also has an impact on SEO, too.

You might have the most stunning product images, but if no-one sees them, what’s the point? That’s why SEO is important. Getting the right keywords in place (and enough of them!) will help your products show up on Google. Think about it… is your customer searching for your business by its name, or by what you sell? Getting your SEO right is key to attracting a larger audience. Luckily, we have a webinar for just that – click here to book.

What other platforms are there?

Of course, other e-commerce platforms are available. WooCommerce, Wix, iZettle, Squarespace… they all offer ways of selling online, so it’s worth checking them out to see which one is the best fit for your business. If you need some help, our free Software Essentials guide offers an impartial take on the latest e-commerce platforms – download your free copy today.

I need help setting up an online shop – where do I start?

We’re here for you. Sign up for one of our free webinars or ‘how to’ sessions to find out more, or speak to one of our digital business advisers. We also have a huge range of guides on our Info Hub. And if you want to see the Welsh businesses already making a success of selling online, visit our Case Studies page.

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