No matter what is said about e-commerce in the garden industry, the future of shopping lies in a combination of on and offline. But how do you get a proper webshop up & running? 10 tips to get you started:
- Take enough time to get it done. Setting up an online shop can be done on a Saturday afternoon. Technically. If you’re serious you need to spend some serious time on it. Everything that gets enough time prospers: roses, garden centres, and webshops.
- Focus on specific product groups. A Weber grill in your webshop is not original: there is a lot of competition and it is going to be costly to sell online barbecues. Focus on products with less competition that fit well with your own range.
- Provide a safe environment. Not only to secure payment pages but also for the rest of your shop. You can request an SSL certificate. A secure website generates more sales and ensures better rankings in Google.
- Try not to be the cheapest. Your prices should reflect your garden centre prices: you will never ever be the cheapest online. Delivery, service and the fact that you’re “nearby” is also an important factor for customers. Make use of it and keep your margins up.
- Create a link to your garden centre. Online shopping is fun but visiting a garden centre to get inspiration is much nicer, right? In every text and on every page it should be clear visitors can come to your garden centre for advice and inspiration. Don’t be shy!
- Provide adequate payment options. Not everyone can or wants to pay with PayPal. Also, offer credit/debit card payments, wire transfer, and payment on collection. The more options the more orders you’ll get.
- Learn about search engine optimisation. An impressing shop is useless if you’re not attracting visitors so write good descriptions.
- Focus on your own region. It is not always easy to deliver nationwide. Delivery in your own region via a “same day delivery service” would be unique, wouldn’t it? You can be sure customers would appreciate it and are happy to spend a few more pounds.
- Provide easy solutions. Working parents who want to work in the garden have no desire to lug bags of soil on Saturday before they start working in their garden. Let them order online and pick up at 9:00 am so they can start immediately. The fun shopping comes the next time!
- Selling plants. Strange but true: only a few garden centres do this online but it really is the basis of a garden centre! Be creative with the logistics but you can be sure plants will make you stand out of the crowd!
The question is not whether you should finally open a webshop or not. In the near future, your customer expects you to have one. Start today and take advantage of the experience you gain during the process. We wish you luck!
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