Author Archive for: benphilp

5 Common Myths Around Building an Online Business

04 Sep
4th September 2017

With so many new online shops being set up with each year, there are a few common myths amongst new shop owners which may slow or even prevent their business from taking off. With this in mind, here are our top 5 myths of building an online business.

 – “Build it and they will come”

Whilst this may to some degree be true of physical retail, sadly this isn’t the case online. With many types of products being so saturated nowadays, there’s virtually no way for potential customers to know you exist unless you tell them.

This leads us onto mentioning Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO for short. Although a strategy to help your store climb the ranks of Google + Bing is highly recommended, it’s an ongoing effort and more effective only in the long term. SEO alone is unlikely to create sales for your online shop in the short term.

When starting up then, it’s important to know that some investment of money or time will be required to place your product/site in front of potential buyers eyes. This could be via Pay-Per-Click advertising (Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook Boosts), or linking in with shopping comparison sites (Google Shopping, Pricegrabber, Shopzilla etc).

You can also get more creative with your advertising – YouTube videos, blog posts or sponsorships can all prove an effective promotion of your business. It’s always worth trying fresh and unique ideas to try and win new customers; try new things and find out what works for your niche.

 – “My website looks great, so it’ll do really well”

Having a great looking website is obviously incredibly important these days. We’re visual creatures, and the design of your site could mean the difference between a swithering customer spending or not. It’s also evidence to your shoppers that your website is up to date, has had the proper time and attention paid to it, and can be trusted to deliver.

All said though, looks aren’t everything, and a great online shop needs more to it than just its looks, the style needs substance to back it up. Your offering needs to be competitive, as looks alone aren’t enough to sell your product.

For instance, is your product well priced in a saturated market? Are your delivery terms competitive in your industry? Does your online shop demonstrate the same level of trust and transparency that competitors do? Unsurprisingly these are quite difficult to achieve when starting out, for example your product may be priced higher, and you may not have as many reviews to back up your levels of service, as your competitors.

So then, it’s really crucial to hit on these points early, and call these out early on your site, for the greatest chance at success. Be aware too that the importance of design to your webshop also comes down to the relative standard within your area of business.

 – “I need to spend hundreds of £ on a web designer”

Although most web designers will try and convince you otherwise, the idea of strictly needing to hire a traditional web designer to build an online shop, is an outdated one. Unless your site needs bespoke functionality, a custom or unique design, or if you want to outsource the majority of your online store build. In these cases a more traditional approach makes more sense, and certainly has its place.

Otherwise, for a new ecommerce venture, you might consider self-hosted open source software such as OpenCart. Assistance with the more technical side is available if required and is often well backed up by the community via online forums, support sites etc. This route can be cost effective, but also might be more time consuming upon any problems or issues arising.

Alternatively, a cloud hosted ecommerce platform like EKM is a reliable choice for building an online shop upon. Commercial support is available, and with an impressive feature set, including over 150 templates. You’re also more likely to achieve a better looking website than going it alone. It may prove slightly more expensive month to month, but bearing in mind your saving of time and initial setup cost, this is the most suitable option for most.

 – “I’ll get loads of sales from my Facebook/Twitter followers”

Having an excellent and dedicated fanbase on social media is no bad thing. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc are a fantastic method of keeping clients up to date, increasing customer loyalty online and establishing a strong brand identity.

On the contrary though, more followers does not necessarily mean more sales. Fans on social media platforms are rarely looking to actually buy immediately. This also goes to show that paying for bulk Facebook or Twitter followers is generally a poor idea – it’s usually fairly obvious, and unlikely to generate any sales or return on investment.

Having a great social media following then will be more beneficial in the long term, becoming invaluable to your business later on. A consistent social media presence will keep your brand in their minds when the time to buy does finally come around.

(Note this section doesn’t apply to paid social media advertising, which can work well in many cases).

– “My website’s live now, so job done”

This might not be a surprise at this stage, but actually building your online shop may be the easiest part of the process! Getting set up is just the beginning.

Gone are the days when any old business idea could be profitable selling online – just about every market is saturated. The more saturated the market, the more time and money will need spent to make your shop stand out from the hundreds of others. You must have the right product(s), a clear Unique Selling Point, and a competitive price point.

Setting up an online shop, like any startup business, also requires a great deal of persistence, learning, and continual investment of time. Things rarely happen on their own. With enough effort, commitment and sensible decision making though, you can be sure of the reward. Customers will come back to you time and time again, when you give them good reason to.

We hope this post gives you an idea of some of the common misconceptions out there, and might help make your online business more successful. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!

Doing Your Christmas Shopping Online

01 Dec
1st December 2016

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but the festive season can also prove to be a tad stressful, especially if you’re one of those shoppers who decides to brave the high street in search of your Christmas shopping. Year upon year many high street retailers are losing business to their online counterparts and it isn’t difficult to work out why. Online companies don’t have the same overheads associated with owning a bricks and mortar store – reduced costs result in savings that can then be passed across to the consumer.

Another major benefit of conducting all your Christmas shopping online is the luxury of shopping directly from your favourite chair, avoiding the stress of busy, cold December high streets. Nowadays, almost anything you can think of gift-wise can be purchased online, from perfumes, clothing, games, DVDs, books and music down to more niche items. Everyone has that friend, cousin or relative who has a really specific interest and online shopping makes it easier to pick something for them that you are sure they will really enjoy.

If you have a loved one who is really into sports and fitness, there are plenty of gift ideas available, with everything from athletics equipment and accessories to specialist mountain bike parts. If your mum, sister or girlfriend has a penchant for high fashion, these days you can even purchase things like hair extensions or luxury clothing items such as real fur fashion garments online. If you know someone who is a devout foodie, it’s easy to find gourmet hot sauces and artisan chilli sauces. Maybe you have a friend who is really into outdoor adventure and survival, or who is obsessed with geocaching! No matter how niche an interest your loved ones have, you can be sure that there is an online retailer there who will be able to cater to your gift ideas.

And it’s not just purchasing all your Christmas shopping online that can make the holiday season that little bit easier and hassle-free. Why not order Christmas meats online and take some of the stress out of that all important Christmas dinner. Things such as Christmas decorations including indoor and outdoor lighting and even your Christmas tree can be ordered online and delivered to your door. If you like decorating your home with Christmas flowers, plants and wreaths over the holiday season, or even picking up some new plants for the garden, shopping for these things online is a faster, easier and less stressful solution than venturing out to the busy high streets in the winter weather. And with the money you save from doing all your Christmas shopping on the Internet, you’ll have a little extra left in your pocket to fund your new year’s celebrations.

From all of us at Philp eCommerce, we’d just like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. We’ll see you back here in 2017!

The Chilli Alchemist: Fiery Potions and Elixirs

23 Aug
23rd August 2016

The Chilli Alchemist is an exciting new online purveyor of some of the tastiest chilli sauces and hot sauces known to man. The brand’s commitment to the use of home-grown, organic produce for their ingredients ensures that their product is utterly delectable. Chilli addicts will quickly become hooked on the Chilli Alchemist’s extensive, innovative range of premium hot sauces.

With flavours ranging from the inviting mild to the insanely hot, the Chill Alchemist has something for all tastes from the beginner to the experienced, seasoned hot sauce veteran. These guys are also noted for often introducing unusual ingredients into the mix, with spectacularly good results! Ever tried a hot sauce containing baby beetroot, roasted fennel and red wine? Didn’t think so!

As well as retailing individual bottles of sauce, the Chilli Alchemist also provide attractive gift packs with three different bottles of hot sauce, the ideal gift for the strung out chilliholic in your life in need of a fix. If you really want to spoil someone rotten with the ultimate gift, you can purchase all seven of the different bottles from the Chilli Alchemist’s regular range at a discounted price. This would be a truly unique and memorable gift or you could even treat yourself to this to ensure none of your meals ever go without a kick of spice ever again!

As well as hot sauces, the Chilli Alchemist are also proud retailers of their own Melliculus range of hot chilli popping candy. You may or may not remember enjoying popping candy when you were a kid, but not like this. The Alchemist’s selection of chilli popping candy comes in four different flavours with heat ratings ranging from the mild to the very hot depending on how bold you’re feeling! And again, if you’re feeling generous or even just want to treat yourself, you can purchase the complete Melliculus range of chilli popping candies presented in a stylish book-style box.

The Chilli Alchemist’s website benefits from a simple, clean, easy-to-use design which implements the OpenCart e-commerce platform. The site does have its own distinctive character and aesthetic which is conveyed through a dark colour scheme – maroons, greys and blacks – which manages to evoke a feeling of alchemy and black magic. One of the things I really like about this site is that it goes above and beyond mere retail – there are also free recipes available with instructions on how to create extra spicy prawn skewers, sushi, chicken noodles and even ice cream! Aside from this, there is also an image gallery with artfully captured images of all the products and even some ominously intriguing pictures of what appears to be a druid dressed in black manning a chilli stall. Fantastic stuff! It’s this kind of personal touch which sets small companies and brands aside these days, making it obvious how passionate and individual they are.