A range of Devonport’s local businesses gathered at Level One recently for a workshop hosted by Simon Lampen and the Devonport Business Association on e-commerce and the benefits of having a web presence in an increasingly seasonal market.
The businesses ranged from long-established retail outlets with a global-facing online presence to self-confessed technophobes who relied on word of mouth to generate new business. Some had inherited websites with their businesses, but didn’t think they served the needs of their businesses well; others were keen to learn how to maximise online traffic generated by the likes of TripAdvisor and other online reviews.
Simon discussed with the group the benefits of having an online store so that customers that find you can actually buy from you there and then. Also an online presence for those customers who are searching online — giving them the ability to follow the online trail to where they can purchase. This can be as simple as having a prominent listing via Google Places, or also listing their products on sites like Trademe and other similar sites that perform well in searches. Systems are also important, namely a point of sale system that serves both retail and online purchasing so retailers can keep track of stock at all times and from all outlets without duplicated effort.
The group also discussed ways to build an audience through the establishment of a robust and frequently updated customer database and customer communications such as regular newsletters. In all of this, customer experience is key.
It’s hoped that the group will meet more frequently, more as a peer support mechanism to discuss common areas of interest and to share best practice.