By Chris Dove – Professional Writing and Editing for Businesses and Individuals
Andalucía Lab held a seminar in April –Miércoles Lab– offering advice on ‘Internet Sales Opportunities for Small Business and Tourism Companies’, co-hosted by CADE Marbella business support organisation.
Managing Director of Andalucía Tourist Innovation Centre – to give the Lab its full name – gave the first presentation titled ‘Internet: ally or threat to the small business?’, emphasising the need for companies to pay as much attention to their digital presence as they do to their physical shop windows.
He urged small business owners to do the same by offering something different to potential customers beyond the limits of physical shop opening hours, creating customer experiences that motivate internet users to visit their local shop and serving as a low-cost means of up-selling.
“Tourists want lively town centres as part of their overall visitor experiences”, giving examples of how British companies are creating innovative solutions to empty shopping streets using the web to publicise special offers enticing shoppers to leave the comfort of their homes and hotels or opening pop-up stores as novel trading centres and social media talking points (‘How High-Tech Can Save the High Street’, International Business Times).
As customer reticence to online shopping decreases thanks to easier web access via smartphones, tablets, improved security measures and safer payment methods, Mr Córdoba concluded that a company’s web presence will increase Return On Investment (ROI) as Business-to-Client (B2C) models become the standard trading option for enlightened entrepreneurs.
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Having travelled from his web design, hosting and social media company headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, the second presenter, José M. Atencia Palacios from Jimdo talked about ‘Online sales and the small trader: the reality of 2.0’ (web 2.0 is the second generation of websites using e-commerce instead of static websites).
Mr Atencia is adamant that traditional ways of selling are obsolete and online trading is especially important for competitive small businesses and artisan projects to seize the opportunity to expand. And although industries across all sectors are rapidly adapting their core strategies, “tourism, transport and hospitality continue to occupy the top spot” for online purchases.
Jimdo allows business owners to create their own online store in an easy, efficient way, offering two distinct “packages” to match specific needs. For €60 per year, JimdoPro is ideal for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers as a fast, flexible means of customising a website with the professional look you want, packed with all the features you need, enabling you to edit on the go and requiring no software or special skills.
For €180 per year, JimdoBusiness lets you create a powerful web trading site with no code writing expertise and all the Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms you need, freeing you up to focus on business sales. You’re charged no sales fee regarding the shop system and what you sell is entirely up to you. Endorsed by heavyweights including The New York Times, social media news provider Mashable and online startup guide TechCrunch, you can set up your online shop by visiting Jimdo Store.
Launched in Madrid and now operating in Andalucía, the founder of local online shopping portal De Compras Por gave the final presentation titled ‘Incorporating my business for online sales: a real, possible and shared experience with other trades’.
Part of enjoyMuch Consulting, Director Enrique Amaré congratulated small business owners who have their own websites and encouraged participants to “take your physical shop online using all the experience built up through your physical shop.”
Reaffirming that the 4 Ps of the Marketing Mix equally apply online as in High Street trading (Product, Price, Placement, Promotion), Mr Amaré advised: “If you can go online, do it. If you don’t know how, seek help to sell from local to global.”
Covering 16 product categories, De Compras Por emphasise a low-cost service uniquely designed for startups and existing businesses wishing to trade online locally or to wider regional, national or international markets.
Based on the flexible Azure Microsoft Cloud platform and with the assurance of a secure payment system, De Compras Por online store prices currently start from €25 per month including uploads of main trade images, use of the platform, cataloguing and online sales. For €30 per month, you’ll receive a personal service and individual attention from a dedicated staff member to help you through your foray into online sales.
Following your transition to web trading, you can decide to increase the scope of the services you provide, such as translating your content into English, again for a low-cost fee. Businesses in the hospitality sector can see some examples to follow.
A lengthy Question and Answer session fielded by all three speakers left seminar participants fully clued-up on the why, when, where and how to adapt to the rapidly changing online shopping environment.