We were recently asked to write an article for a magazine for Aussie newsagents about selling online. The advice we included in that article for local retail newsagents applies equally to any local retailer. We share the article we wrote here to offer advice for local small business retailers contemplating selling online:
Sell online, but not as your shop today.
When people shop online they shop for an outcome. They search for the product or purpose. They do not search for a masthead.
This is a valuable insight for any newsagent considering a website for their business for putting your newsagency online with what you sell today could be an expensive mistake.
Tower Systems has built many websites for newsagents and most are not sites that represent the newsagency shop online. Rather, they present as a different business, focussed on a niche category and leveraging the shop infrastructure to help the business expand.
This is the smart move for any retailer selling online – using it as a start-up opportunity that makes use of space and labour in the shop but not relying on products in the shop.
In one case, a newsagency business has grown online to where it is more financially valuable than the shop within which it was incubated.
In another case a newsagent tested a category online, hit gold and expanded the shop to offer this, hitting more gold.
Engaging with Tower Systems to create a POS software connected website provides newsagents with access to comprehensive online sales data through deep Google results research. This can help newsagents discover opportunities not previously on their radar.
By tapping into current keyword search data using respected commercial tools, Tower Systems is able to show newsagents pathway opportunities into new product areas online. These can be opportunities tapped into with a minimal capital investment, an opportunity for expansion with a modest budget.
While I understand the push to take the shop online, in my years of experience owning newsagencies and running successful and failed websites connected to the shops, my advice is to leverage the website opportunity as if it is a start-up, playing in a space you have not played in before, with the goal of it leading you on a path of discovery.
Tower Systems is better placed to support this greenfield approach than a local web developer … we have found local web developers more likely to replicate online what you have in. the shop and that, my friends, is unlikely to attract for you the volume of new shoppers you might hope for.
Being online is critical for every business. Doing it right, in an approach appropriate for 2022 and beyond is key.
Take your time. Do your research. Make sure that what you choose can be maintained by you. And, only sign for a fixed price website build.