By Peter Slot on Thu 11 August 2011 in Web & eCommerce
I recently had to make a trip to Halfords.
Not a trip I make on a regular basis, and for that matter not a trip that anyone I know makes on a regular basis!
Normally, I would only go to Halfords when something breaks, for example when a bulb in my car goes (which is what prompted my most recent visit), or on the rare occasion I might want to sit on a push bike.
So, for my recent trip, I made my way down to my local Halfords. I knew I was looking for a specific set of bulbs, so I headed straight for the car section where the bulbs were on display. I spent maybe two minutes finding the correct bulb, paid and then left.
This is what most people experience when they go to Halfords; they are fulfilling an immediate need and are not interested in browsing the other products on offer.
Taking this into account you would not expect Halfords to have much scope for an online store.
Let’s consider eCommerce…
According to the ONS (Office for National Statistics), in June 2011 online purchases made up almost 10% of the UK retail spend, this is up by 50% compared to the same time in 2010. This is a massive segment of the UK’s retail spend, which is still growing. So, it makes sense that businesses big and small are looking to get involved in this opportunity.
However, many businesses today are too quick to assume their business is not suitable for online selling. Remember what I was saying about Halfords? They did not appear to be a business who could feasibly operate in an online environment…
A recent article in ComputerWeekly.com looked at how Halfords has managed to launch a successful web shop, which has been successful while in-store sales are faltering. Back in 2008 Halfords invested in their eCommerce store to make it easier to use and more accessible for their current and prospective customers.
Since then they have not only managed to create a successful online store but one which is continuing to grow. This is during a time when their retail stores are operating in, as they put it, “a difficult environment for UK consumers” yet they are seeing growth in this new area of their business.
This highlights that, even a company which would not seem a very suitable candidate to sell online, can be hugely successful and attract a wider variety of customers through an eCommerce store.
Halfords of course are a big company and have a big budget to invest, but this is not essential for online business success. What would you say are the key features of an online store?
- Integration into your accounts system to avoid rekeying of orders
- An easy to use order process to encourage customers to use it
- Special pricing for trade or regular customers (from the accounts system)
- Easy to manage and update
You can have all of this and more with ProspectSoft Easy eCommerce. Our Easy eCommerce solution is designed to allow you to get up and running with a fully integrated eCommerce store quickly, and for a reasonable price.
To find out what we can do, please take a look at:
P.S. Want to learn more about eCommerce?
We run regular events up and down the country focusing on several different topics. Our next eCommerce event which will be held in Yorkshire on 29th September, where we’ll focus on eCommerce and how it can work for your business.
We aim to cover a variety of different areas to give you a full understanding of online selling. This will allow you to make an informed decision about what is best for your business.
At our last event, we covered:
- The ‘Long Tail’ of eCommerce – why you don’t need to compete with Amazon
- How to sell ‘real’ products and services; products you may not think can be sold in an online environment
- What information your eCommerce portal is going to need, and how to make this a source of competitive advantage
- How eCommerce done correctly can save you money, as well as increase revenue
- Case studies of real SME’s adding six figures plus to their bottom line
You can find more information and registration details at http://www.prospectsoft.com/free-events.