30 Mar, 2020

Establishing an Ecommerce presence for your business

During these unprecedented times it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to trade in the traditional sense. But there are options, see how you can take action to overcome these challenging times.

During these unprecedented times it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to trade in the traditional sense and with the announcement from An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, asking for all “non-essential retail outlets” (a list of essential retail outlets can be found here) to close their doors, trading will practically cease for some retailers.

Faced with a challenge like this it can be difficult to see the wood from the trees, but there are options out there for business owners help overcome this challenge.

Now is the time for small business owners to take action to sustain their businesses into the future.

One measure that you can take is to establish an ecommerce presence for your business. There are a number of options available to you in addition to creating your own ecommerce website, with the two most common being eBay and Amazon. Globally, these marketplaces are well respected and can serve consumers’ needs for almost any product. Both services offer detailed guides on how to establish a shop on their platforms. Learn more about eBay here and Amazon here.

Alternatively, some retailers go for the bespoke ecommerce option by building a store unique to them. One way of doing so is the ecommerce platform, Shopify. Usually, we work with customers to establish their ecommerce functions as alternative sales channel to accompany traditional retail; a lot of businesses are now seeing this as a necessity due to recent announcements.

Shopify allows you to build an ecommerce site unique to your business.

At the front-end the customer will be able to get a full overview of your product range and view individual products, descriptions, colours, sizes etc. (this can be adjusted depending on your offering).

Just like any other online shop the customer journey involves the user placing a selection of products in their virtual basket, entering the checkout with their credit card and delivery details and completing the transaction.

All the time the back end of this platform is operating. This includes an inventory management system, order management system, billing centre to manage payments and deposit funds to your selected bank account. There is a host of other analysis tools available here to assist decision making but the essentials are outlined above.

Shopify can also be fully integrated with Facebook to allow you to tap into your customer base across social media. One of the key benefits of using Shopify is having the ability to access your network of

customers digitally. Be it via email, text or social media you will have the ability to share the news about your new online store directly with a link - otherwise it could be difficult to find you online.

To set up a Shopify page you need to:

  1. Log on to www.shopify.ie and select “Start free trial”

  2. Enter the required details, step by step - We would suggest using a centralised email address as this will be the point of contact for all online sales

  3. You will then be brought to the homepage where you can begin adding products

  4. Once you’ve added all products with imagery and a detailed description you can begin adding them to your inventory

  5. When happy with your online store you can connect it to your Facebook page through the “Sales Channel” function

  6. Linking your bank account is also important in order to withdraw funds from sales generated. See more here.

There is a monthly fee of $29 (€27.15) to use Shopify plus a 2.9% margin on each sale + 0.28c per sale.

Worked example below based on 10 sales @ €100 each totaling €1,000 turnover for the month.

Shopify fixed fee €27.15

2.9% Shopify margin €29.00

10 sales @ 0.28c per sale €2.80

Total Shopify Fees €58.95

Establishing this site will have benefits in the short term given the current situation but it will also assist in future proofing your business as we move into a more digitised world with consumers requiring on-demand availability of products.

For further information on establishing your ecommerce platform please get in contact with Patrick Black, Food & AgriBusiness Executive on (087) 6371428 or patrickblack@ifac.ie.