The permanent debate about the current situation in the country and the uncertainty about the future have a real impact on consumption and, consequently, on the sales of most companies. With the recessionary spiral they lose customers and reduce their investment capacity to acquire new ones.
Electronic commerce, also known as e-commerce or online sales, where many companies still avoid entering for lack of know-how or ignorance about its potential (estimated to be worth between two and four thousand million euros in Portugal) can help face the current challenges.
Declining consumption among regular customers requires expansion into new markets, which is more critical than ever to the growth, or even survival, of many companies. Through e-commerce the company can reach a wider market both nationally and internationally. What was once a small niche market can become an attractive segment. Even companies with traditional products, such as those that produce queijo da serra cheese, can now reach a much wider range of customers. The same English customer who once visited Serra da Estrela and liked the cheese, instead of looking for it in a supermarket in London, can now order it directly from the producer.
By selling to customers through its website, the company reduces intermediation and distribution costs. The cost of delivery can be charged separately or included in the price of the product based on the savings made in the distribution network, thus fostering sales growth. English customers will be able to have the original cheese at his home in London at the same price and within 24 hours.
Therefore, dear companies, don’t forget to communicate your website address and, at every opportunity, ask your customers for their e-mail address.
Online channels allow you to increase sales to current customers but also revitalize old ones. Made with relevant information and offers, the website, social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, or even e-mails sent to customers can generate repeat sales. Why not contact that English customer every month asking if he doesn’t need another cheese? Or even sell him a subscription at a good discount where you send him a cheese every month for a year?
Naturally, this new business strategy has costs, but they can be very low, and to begin with, several of the available tools are free.
You can start with a very small investment to test the market and, later, move on to more significant investments. It is better to start with a solution that works reasonably well and does not affect the brand, rather than to wait for a perfect solution, which may never be achievable. Some of the low-cost tools for an initial online store:
- Yola, Wix, and Magento.
- Newsletters – MailChimp.
- Payments – PayPal.
- Business intelligence – Google analytics.
- Online advertising – Google AdWords and Facebook.
For those who still don’t know these tools, try to inform yourself and study. All of them have very good online tutorials.
If instead of complaining about bad luck we study the capacity and advantages of these new channels, the way out of the crisis may be easier.