Getting online: things to consider when setting up your e-commerce site

Over the past 20 years, the continuing trend has been for online sales to grow steadily year on year. 2020 not only continued this trend but, for obvious reasons, accelerated it significantly. It was predicted that online sales would increase by 11% in 2020. Thanks to COVID-19, shoppers had to do much of their purchasing online, and it is now thought that online shopping increased by 19% during 2020. We can’t know what 2021 will bring, but we can be reasonably sure that online sales will continue to grow and grow even as the pandemic abates.

This trend means that it is becoming even more critical for retailers to have a robust and effective e-commerce website to cater to the increasing number of online customers. Easy to say, but what do you need to think about when selecting the right e-commerce platform for your business?

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Upgrade your Business with Omnichannel EPoS Integration

In our last blog, we discussed ‘omnichannel retail’, what it is, and why you need to start thinking about how to turn your organisation into a true omnichannel retailer. Online sales have been growing steadily year-on-year for the last twenty years, and COVID-19 has only accelerated that trend. We can’t know what this year will bring, but we can be sure that online sales will continue to grow and grow for many years to come.

It’s no longer enough to operate a traditional bricks-and-mortar business. It’s not even enough to branch out and have an online business too. Shoppers are increasingly expecting retailers to have fully integrated online and offline operations which provide a seamless, unified, cohesive user experience. If a store doesn’t have an item in stock, customers expect the staff to be able to tell them if it’s available online instead, and vice-versa.

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Omnichannel Retail: The Basics

Online sales have been growing steadily, year-on-year for the last twenty years. Everybody assumed that 2020 would be no different and that this trend would simply continue. Of course, none of us had any idea what 2020 would have in store, or how it would affect the wider economy and how individuals and organisations can interact with each other and do business. It was predicted that online sales would grow by 11% in 2020. Instead, thanks to COVID-19, shoppers have had little choice but to do much of their purchasing online, and it is now thought that online shopping will have increased by 19% during 2020. We can’t know what next year will bring, but we can be sure that online sales will continue to grow and grow.

What does this mean for retailers? The massive increase in the amount and proportion of online shopping means that becoming an omnichannel retailer is more important than ever before. But what does ‘omnichannel’ actually mean? For this blog, we thought it would be a good idea to take a step back and revisit some of the basics, cut through the industry jargon, and help you see why ‘omnichannel’ isn’t just another buzzword that will soon fade away.

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On a street near you: How NearSt are getting customers back into the shops

It is received wisdom that the high street is dying. Customers are no longer going to bricks-and-mortar shops, and instead are buying almost everything online. Big chains have been able to move increasing amounts of their products onto their websites, but smaller businesses simply don’t have the resources to do this, and they are losing out. In 2018, almost 2,500 stores disappeared from the UK’s top 500 high streets, resulting in the loss of over 50,000 jobs. Covid-19 restrictions haven’t been helping of course, but even without those shopping online is much more convenient, and can be cheaper, right?

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