Set up eShop: How to help your business cope during the coronavirus crisis

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Written by: Action Digital

The coronavirus global lockdown is hurting business, but not all businesses are hurting the same. Those companies that were once hesitant to make the digital leap and upgrade to an e-shop now find themselves at a serious disadvantage. Sure, anyone in the retail industry already knew that setting up e-shops and making products available for purchase online would be a step that they would eventually have to take. But the global pandemic seriously shifted gears in the industry highway, making a strong online presence an absolute necessity, rather than an afterthought.

Having an actual physical location will continue to be the way most businesses operate, but ignoring the digital world is no longer viable. If you are thinking of combining the two, or even making a complete digital transition, setting up an e-shop is now a necessity.

But when the coronavirus crisis is said and done, and the lockdown is lifted, will it have been worth the investment? And can you feasibly fit this into your business plan? Our experts at Action Digital have the answers for you.

Can I afford an e-shop?

The short answer to this question, is yes. And now is a great time to set it up as governments around the world (including Cyprus) have announced, or should be announcing, stimulus packages to help businesses bounce back. And included in these stimulus packages will be funding to digitally upgrade your business, such as setting up an e-shop. 

But even if the stimulus package wasn’t available, the question isn’t if you can afford to have an e-shop, but rather, can you afford not to have one? Retail sales in physical locations all over the world are in decline. People prefer to shop from the comfort of their home  – quickly, easily and at their leisure, without having to plan out their schedule around a store’s closing hours. Retail businesses are moving online as more and more people see the waste involved in renting space, paying utility bills and hiring employees for 8 hours every day. And if you are not considering making the leap online, you can bet that your competition is.

Ok, I’ll do it but I‘ll just use a cheaper ready-made template

Getting a ready-made template is fine, if running an e-shop is more of a side-business and not your main source of income. While ready-made templates are definitely cheaper, they are so for a reason; they offer limited customization, basic services and can’t handle complexity. If what you are after is a more bespoke site, then a ready-made template just isn’t for you. So before you take the leap, it would be a good idea to sit down and identify your business needs and whether those needs can be met by a generic template.

But will an e-shop really actually cut costs? 

Yes, it will. Tremendously. If you choose to fully transition into the digital realm, imagine not paying rent for your shop, not paying utilities and not having to pay a person to be physically there all the time. You’ve already made a significant decrease in your operational costs and this is just the beginning. But even if you are still operating an actual shop, or few for that matter, why limit your business to the people who walk into your physical store? An e-shop gives you the chance to address an audience of billions. The whole world can walk in your store now and browse your products. Corny as it sounds, your imagination is the only limitation.

And what happens if you witness a sharp increase in demand and need to add more products? Consider it done. No need to buy a bigger store to showcase your goods, you just need more images and pages. Flexibility is the name of the game when you are cruising down the digital highway and nothing provides you with more flexibility than the internet.

And if you are concerned about logistics, don’t be. Here at Action Digital we will keep you informed every step of the way, and even bring you in contact with companies that handle logistics on a global scale.

I hear what you are saying, but I believe this whole thing is going to blow over

Unlikely, at least, not in the sense of everything going back to how it was before. Chief financial advisers and economists have already predicted that the global lockdown is very likely to have long-lasting effects and probably influence the way we interact as a society forever.  

But even if by some chance things did go back to how they were before, the value of technology, and especially the value of online interaction, has proven to be the supporting pillar of society as it now stands. Without the internet we would not be able to work from home, would not be able to shop, or continue with our everyday lives in the way we have become accustomed to. The forced increase in online interaction has exposed Cypriots and the world to the benefits of the internet, and once seen, people are not likely to just go back to doing things the hard way. Coronavirus or not, online interaction will increase in the future and your business needs to be there and be ready.

We at Action Digital have extensive knowledge of setting up e-shops and improving your reach with effective digital marketing campaigns. Contact us for a consultation and we will ensure that your business is ready to face any challenge while taking advantage of the opportunities available now!

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