These phrases have become staples in our world over the past few years and for good reason. Spending our dollars in locally-owned businesses keeps more money in our own community and fosters a stronger sense of connection that can’t be found when buying at big box stores, retail chains, or online. For the past 10 years, ever since American Express started Small Business Saturday, customers have increasingly taken to the movement. Embracing the businesses that they know, trust, and love continues to be on an upward trend.
Unfortunately the pandemic threw us a curveball. Local businesses are finding themselves severely challenged. Stores have slowly reopened but with new guidelines and related expenses. As we head into the fall and holiday season we are facing a completely different landscape with new questions to ask. Are customers going to feel safe enough to shop in person? Are we going to have to shutdown again if we see another increase in cases?
What can small businesses do to continue giving their customers the opportunity to support them now and during the upcoming fourth quarter?
Although it may seem daunting and perhaps futile to try to compete with companies who have been online for years, it may also be an ideal time for small businesses to take the dive. This year has not surprisingly seen a drastic increase in online sales as customers have been shopping from home more. Adobe has reported that by October 5th of this year, online sales will have surpassed last year’s. Small businesses should be sharing in the fruits of this trend in a way that’s comfortable, affordable, and sustainable. Adding eCommerce will also give customers an opportunity to support their favorite local businesses. Last but not least, business owners may find that having an online presence creates a feasible new revenue stream. In the future they can continue to maintain or grow once our lives return to normal.
In this article, Burris Computer Forms® would like to offer a few thoughts and pointers about taking this plunge.
You only need one product to get started selling online. Pick something that customers identify with your store or business. It’s also good to choose items that won’t break the bank for you to stock and ship. Products that can be branded with your logo are also a good option. They have the potential to spread the word about your business near and far. They can become gifts that can give a gift in return – more customers!
There are many choices when it comes to platforms you can use to serve as your online store. The folks at ecommerceCEO have done a fantastic job of putting together an article that discusses them all. We recommend starting there first to get a good overview and comparison of some of the options. Or if that’s too much to process at once, check out what Shopify has to offer. They seem to be one of the more widely used eCommerce platforms that can help you take care of all of your needs, from giving you a visually appealing online marketplace all the way through producing the shipping labels for customer orders.
Speaking of labels, if you need any help with ordering forms and labeling supplies, feel free to contact us at (800) 982-FORM (3676) or click here to request samples. We have products, including our popular PeelOut!® Shipping Label Sheets™, that are specifically designed to work with many of the eCommerce platforms and that are sure to speed up order processing and reduce errors.
Once you have everything in place and you’re ready to start accepting orders, shout from the rooftops that you have something to offer your customers online. Get them excited about the opportunity to support you in this new way so they can become cheerleaders for you and your business, especially during the upcoming holiday season.
It’s been a whirlwind these past few months, challenging everyone to stay flexible and creative. Until the pandemic is over, let’s do what we can to keep providing the magic that small, local businesses have to offer. Who knows? The changes we make today to keep ourselves viable may serve us well, even when this crazy time is just a memory.
If there’s anything we at Burris Computer Forms can do to help, let us know!