So many industries have been heavily impacted by the consequences of COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions that have enforced business closures or resulted in major business disruption. For many businesses, just being in a position to operate again once the UK moves out of the strictest lockdown restrictions is their main target.
However, many business owners have been using this time to review their existing marketing strategies and to develop an improved marketing strategy. As well as having more time to dedicate to their marketing strategy, they have identified that they need all of the advantages they can get as the economy starts to recover. Many businesses are going to face major challenges to get back to their pre-COVID-19 position, for a number of reasons and this will vary depending on the industry.
The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behaviour
Businesses will need to have an edge over their competitors and they will also need to have adapted to any change in consumer behaviour that has happened as a result of COVID-19. For example, people have been using online shopping more than ever and this pattern is likely to continue, as people remain cautious about going into shops and also because they have found online shopping more convenient.
This means that it will be more important than ever to have a good quality website that is easy to use and provides visitors with a straightforward experience. For some businesses, they already have a website but it is not set up to optimize their online sales and this needs some investment to ensure that they are able to perform as well as possible going forward.
For other businesses, selling products online is a completely new territory but one that may make or break their business over the coming months and years. Just a glance at how Amazon’s profits have increased during the pandemic shows exactly how essential online sales have become for people around the world.
How to get started with an e-commerce website
There are lots of different options for selling products online and the right choice comes down to your specific business and how you intend to use your website. Platforms such as Shopify and Magento are both very popular options for small businesses to get started with their first e-commerce website.
These options are relatively easy to set up the website and to add your products quickly so that customers can make secure online purchases. Once you have decided which e-commerce platform you want to go with, another consideration is which hosting option to select.
Choosing a hosting option
If you are not familiar with setting websites up, you might not know exactly what website hosting is. It is basically a service that you pay for to host your website on server space. There are lots of different options to choose from, such as dedicated servers and also shared server hosting options, which offers the cheapest way to host a website.
However, you need to be careful with choosing cheaper hosting plans because they often lack quality security features and other essential features that you need for a professional business website, such as a good performance level and page loading speed.
You can usually get a good quality web hosting plan for less than £10 per month, which will include all of the essential features you require, such as SSL certificate and customer support when you need it. When you are choosing your host, it is a good idea to try and find reviews from other businesses of a similar size to your own, to see whether others recommend them.
Another consideration to factor into your choice is whether your hosting plan is scalable, or in other words, that it will grow if your company expands and your online sales suddenly rocket. A large uplift in sales and higher volumes of visitors will need to be supported by your hosting server, so make sure you choose a host that will easily upgrade your plan to meet your increasing hosting requirements.
Utilising social media
Once you have set up your website, you also need to be using social media marketing to raise awareness of your business and to help generate more sales. Understanding the demographics of your typical customers should help you to choose the main platforms to focus your social media campaigns on, for example, whether your customers use Instagram, Facebook or other platforms the most.
Having a good quality e-commerce website and a powerful social media strategy should give your business a good foundation to bounce back from COVID-19 interruptions.