Is e-commerce right for your business?
With Coronavirus seeing more and more individuals self isolating, the world of e-commerce is going to become increasingly important. Have you geared your business up to be able to sell your products or services online?
It's fair to say that over the last decade the way that we do business has changed. The wealthiest company and man in the world has their entire business based around the concept of buying goods without ever having to step foot in a physical store. Gone are the days of needing a storefront and physical premise to run an effective business. The not so new, but ever more important frontier of digital business is becoming the driving factor to many companies profitability.
For New Zealanders, that spells opportunity. Whether you are an established business without an online presence, a new shop that hasn't branched into e-commerce, or someone just starting out their journey - starting an e-commerce website could offer you a fantastically cost effective way to increase your bottom line.
So what is e-commerce?
In it's simplest form e-commerce is any online facility that lets consumers buy products or services online. This could be physical products, digital products (like books or videos), or even online services like video and skype consultations. The key component is that the offering is paid for through the website.
Why is e-commerce such a good option?
E-commerce can potentially open up a whole world of consumers to a company. New Zealand in particular has a fantastic reputation globally, so for some of our industries in particular e-commerce opens up overseas markets that absolutely love us. Coronavirus has proven that when something like a pandemic hits, brick and mortar day to day business is put at danger, while an opportunity opens up online as more consumers seek to have their goods and services delivered to their doorstep. It's a trend that existed before this global health event, and it'll be one that continues after it.
Can my business operate an e-commerce site?
The first thing you need to ask yourself is 'do my products and services NEED to be performed in person'.
For most physical products, the answer will be absolutely not. If you can pick it up and hold it, chances are you can package it up and sell it online.
For intellectual services, your knee jerk reaction may also be 'I can't sell what I do online' - but have a real think about that. Could you digitise your knowledge? Create a series of articles or videos that you could sell online? Could you run online seminars, or hold consultations via Skype or online? There is a huge amount of scope for growth in the majority of professional services businesses online.
And lastly that leaves those industries that rely on physically touching and seeing their consumers. Your physio's, doctor's and dentists for example. Obviously alot of your job will be based around in person consultation, however, you also hold alot of valuable knowledge that could be digitised. Doctors clinics are already looking at running video consultations for example.
What does it cost to do e-commerce?
Generally the cost of e-commerce will vary depending on the solution you go for. It would be rare for you to have hosting costs of less than about $50 per month, and inevitably if you take payment online, you'll be paying a percentage of each sale to a payment gateway provider (around the 3-4% mark). There are obviously delivery costs to consider, and the initial cost of setting up or creating an e-commerce website. You can see our website design pricing here. Our pricing is below $2,500 + GST for a website design - putting us at the lower end of what a website designer would charge for an e-commerce site. You can of course make a site yourself, but having a professional opinion can often pay dividends in the long run.
So why haven't you got an e-commerce site yet?
If you've been thinking about it for a while, this Coronavirus scare might be just the prompt you need to get your e-commerce website underway. There is plenty of upside, and in times like these it's important to look at how your business can adapt and improve. It's never all doom and gloom, and where there is hardship, there is often opportunity for growth.
As we've said in a number of blogs now, if sales slow, remember that alot more people are going to be online as more self isolation occurs. Shift your focus to online advertising, and take any slow period as a chance to improve what your doing as a business. Your website design is a great place to start that.
Be sure to get in touch with us if you have any questions at all about an e-commerce website or anything online.
Coronavirus & working from home in New Zealand
As the effects of Coronavirus (COVID-19) begin to be felt on New Zealand shores, more and more talk will be circulated about working from home and whole businesses moving to working remotely.
543 Design are strong advocates of the 'work from home' model and in this blog we take a look at the benefits of letting your employees work from home, as well as a few considerations on how to make it work.
First up, we should definitely acknowledge that working from home isn't for everyone - both individually or as a company. There are a ton of industries out there that survive on face to face contact (I'm not sure how well my hair cut would go over Skype!). There are also alot of individuals out there who thrive off the structure that an office environment or workplace will bring. So with that in mind, the first thing to think about is whether you can complete all your day to day tasks without face to face interaction, and whether you'll be able to do those tasks in a way where you stay productive. Even if you can manage some of those tasks from home at the moment, it could possibly benefit both yourself and your company in the long run. Here are our 'pro's' for working from home:
The benefits of working from home or working remotely:
How to work from home - and how it can be tricky
Above all else, in this chaotic time, business needs to keep rolling. Working from home might help your company just stay afloat, or it could end up being a way to see it flourish and become more profitable. Keep focusing on your online advertising, and remember your website design and web presence in a time where more and more people will be doing business from there computer and online.
If you have any questions at all - don't hesitate to contact us!
The importance of a good review
As we end January and businesses across the country really start churning along we've had alot of client's ask about whether they should be seeking Google or Facebook reviews. Every lay person seems to have a different opinion, and we've heard some businesses go so far as saying they don't want any sort of Google review profile because it opens them up to the risk of bad reviews. There is some logic to that, so in today's blog we weigh up the importance of reviews, and look at what a consumer should be turning their mind to when leaving a review.
Should my business have Google or Facebook reviews?
Here at 543 Design we are a huge fan of both the Google and Facebook review system. As a professional services business, people will tend to only leave a review if they are prompted (which tends to end up being a high review), or if they have a terrible experience (which we aim to never happen!). Our philosophy has always been that if we do a stellar job with every client then they are likely to only leave positive feedback. That feedback can be seen by future potential customers and is one of a myriad of factors that Google takes into account when establishing their search engine rankings. You'll notice that the majority of the top search rankings also tend to have a good review presence - and that is no coincidence.
The flipside of that is if you do end up getting a number of bad or indifferent reviews. For a services based company, even a 3 star rating is going to have a negative effect. That's unfortunately just a fact of life when it comes to review systems - you need to be prepared to cop the bad along with the good. Luckily, if you focus on performing a good job for every customer, you will have a huge range of clients and customers to call on for a good review. By following those positive customers up, you will be able to flood your listing with high reviews and keep your rating strong.
Unfortunately, there is always the possibility of an outlier in the mix. Someone who doesn't know your businesses, or leaves a frivolous or unfair review that brings your rating down. We've recently experienced this, and while Google does offer some remedies for removing a review, for the most part you won't be able to get rid of it. Should this happen to you; read the review, understand what the customer/client's issue is, and respond in a reasoned manner. Never over-react or get too deep into a 'he said, she said' that would aggravate the reviewer further, but try to leave a response that other potential customers can relate to. In the ideal world the reviewer would change their review - so contacting them directly in a positive light could even be worth a try. Should that fail, try to find three people who would leave you a positive review to drown out the negative one.
As a consumer, when should I leave a review?
Since owning a business we've become hugely more aware of how a review can impact your company and possibly even sales. That leads us to a much more circumspect approach to reviewing, and we'd absolutely love it if everyone asked themselves a few simple questions before leaving a rating:
A bit of context
It's important to read the above with a little bit of context about 543's experience of the Google review system. As a website design company it took us about 4 years to build up 26 positive (5 star) reviews from clients that used us for a full build and loved our work. We're now sitting at a 4.9 star rating after a one off sales enquiry phone call where the client left a review saying they might use us in the future, but didn't have an opinion on us yet (so left a 3 star review). A crushing way to lose a hard earned 5 star rating and a real lesson to us in the consequences involved in the reviews we leave for other companies!
It's getting to the time of the year when focus throughout New Zealand shifts from business to festivities. The sun is shining and while retail booms, corporate New Zealand takes a breath and we all get to take stock of the year that's been. Whether it was a tough one, a great year of growth, or your first year in business, the New Year always presents a great line in the sand to springboard forward. That will mean different things for different companies - but there is always room for growth online.
With that in mind, we are really excited to offer your first year of hosting free if you sign up to build a new website between Christmas '19 and the end of January 2020. That also extends to any current clients thinking about a big refresh, so if your site is around that 3-4 year old mark and you are wanting to do an upgrade, definitely get in touch with us to lock this deal in. That hosting starts at $180 + GST per site, so we think it's a great little incentive if you just need that little kick start to starting your site
Above all else though, from everyone at 543 Design, we hope you have a fantastic holiday period if you do manage to escape the grind. We're available throughout the Christmas and New Year's period, and are really excited to launch into 2020 with all our clients.
The Google BERT Update
At the end of October 2019 there was a huge change to your day to day which you likely didn't notice and didn't know about. Google, the favoured search engine of about 75% of us released it's biggest update in 5 years. It was so big that the notoriously secretive search engine goliath announced it to the world and we're already starting to see it impact the search results being shown.
543 Designs is hugely excited to bring our expertise to as many NZ businesses as possible.
Every site is different - but here are some of our favourites.
With 4 years and over 200 sites up online we often get asked for the favourite websites we've built. Picking your favourite site is a little bit like picking your favourite child as every client has different tastes and brings different things to the party when designing a website with us.