eCommerce Strategies for Small Business

eCommerce Strategies for Small Business

A little while back I had the opportunity to speak to a couple of dozen small business owners from the beautiful city of Emerald in Queensland’s Central Highlands district. It was a wonderful experience from my part as I hadn’t previously visited that region before; and from a business standpoint, it was a real eye opener!

Guess what? Business owners in regional areas suffer from the same problems that business owners in the cities do… they DON’T KNOW exactly what it is that they need to do to get the online side of their businesses firing!

And here’s the thing; when it comes to online business, it makes NO DIFFERENCE whether you’re a Mum and Dad shop in central Queensland or a medium sized business with 20 staff a few K’s outside the CBD….

Having a great website and great plan is the all-time EQUALISER.

Of course if you don’t ENGAGE your plan, it won’t mean squat… the best laid plans of mice and men.

Enjoy this video I recorded while I was away.


Good day there, folks. Paul Barrs signing in for another YouTube update.

And hey, we’re not in Kansas anymore, are we?

I’m a little bit away from home at the moment, out in the Central Highlands of Queensland. I’ve been running some workshops out here on online digital marketing strategies, SEO, web development, and so on.

business websites in emerald

I’m going to be heading back home later today. But before I do that, I guess I just wanted to talk about a few things that come to mind for businesses that are out in the regional areas like this.

Now I’ve chosen an interesting location behind me, because here this is a ventilation shaft for an underground mine, which is directly underneath me right now. I’ve just done a tour down there, fascinating stuff. First time I’ve been underground. First time in this area in Australia’s largest sapphire mine, here in Rubyvale, Central Highlands of Queensland in Australia.

Now I’m going to go and visit a few clients very shortly in this local region, and I’ve also just had to look at the business which we have here, beautiful products, gorgeous gemstones, and jewellery.

I didn’t ask — but I do this with my clients — how their website is working for them. This is an absolute, vital, and critical element of any online business, to have your product online so you’re not reliant on the people who just stop by, by chance, or look you up in the local tourist directory. “Hey, I’m thinking of doing something today.”

I don’t know what these guys have got here in stock at the moment. But there must be tens, perhaps a $100,000 or more worth of value. Imagine being able to offer that all around the world and have it in such a way that you are literally dominating search for your product for your market, maybe for your region online. That’s the potential of getting your online business right from day one.

Now there are a number of key elements to doing that. Yes, you must have a website. Yes, it must be a good one. And I strongly recommend that if you’re making changes to your website or doing an upgrade in the future, that you do build it for current Internet technologies and make it a responsive design so that it adjusts accordingly and responds to the device on which people view it.

That’s essential. As well, of course, if you have a product that you sell in a shopfront, you must have then an online e-shop that you can sell that product too. It has to be simple. Clear pictures, clear titles, clear descriptions showing your customer, from whatever country they are, exactly what it is that you sell, what it’s worth, and why it’s such amazing value.

Here’s the thing. We shouldn’t ever be discounting prices, especially not for quality items. What we should instead be doing is offering additional value. It could be in your shipping. It could be in the quality. It could be in the valuation. It could be in other products that you can add on for low or no cost. But that is an essential part.

Then, of course, there’s social media. We know these days that, in order to get better rankings online through the search engines, our products and our pages must be popular and shared through social media. That is a vital key ingredient to making money on the Internet and getting found in search.

So therefore, a local business like this should be engaging every single person who stops by.

“Hey, are you on Facebook?” Or “Are you on Twitter,” or whatever it may be.

“Can you take some photos?” “Would you share them?”

“Will you tag us while you’re here? Tell your friends about it.” “By the way, here’s a flier. Here’s a card with our website. Don’t forget to check in with your Google+,” or whatever it may be.

There is no better option, no better chance for any business anywhere in the world to get results online than with those customers who have actually walked in the door. We’re sold. We came here. I’m in the middle of nowhere as far as what I’m used to, and most people who come here probably don’t live here.

How many times have you been to the tourist areas in your local area? I know I haven’t been to all of mine. But I’ve come out here, and I’ve stayed an extra day so I can have a look around.

However, the problem lies in the fact that that is pretty much the only traffic that a business like this is going to get. So if you own a business like that, you must take advantage of it for your online side. Ask people like me to check in with their mobile phones. If we are on Facebook, if we have a Google+ account, or maybe through the website, something like that. They should have a laptop set up. Bang. “Have a look. Press the button. Recommend this to your friends.” Something like that.

Then, of course, there’s the newsletter list, which just goes out every four to six weeks. “Specials are upcoming.” We’ve got Christmas coming up, in what, about six or seven weeks, I guess, from as I record this right now. I’d be building a database and saying, “Here are our Christmas specials. Your friends would love these, your family, your loved ones. Gorgeous jewellery.” I had a look. It’s wonderful stuff. They are missed marketing opportunities that small businesses all around the world are just letting run out the door.

So that’s just a couple of quick tips along the way. All right. Have a good website, have it e-commerce enabled, get that social media engagement because it then, of course, helps with your SEO along the way.

And I guess the fifth one is have some kind of database, an e-mail list that you can update people with your specials and say, “If you’re not looking to buy something, no problem. Would you mind just sharing this online?” Because that’s the key to success to Internet business.

All right. I’ve got a few more hours out here. I’m going to go check things out, have some lunch, sit down and relax a little while.

You have a fantastic day, and I talk to you again real soon. Bye-bye.