Wholesalers, distributors and retailers operating from bricks-and-mortar premises are quickly having to find new ways to get products into the hands of their customers.

For those without an established online presence, the prospect of transacting through an eCommerce website may be daunting.

We’ve gathered together some resources to help brick-and-mortar businesses pivot smoothly to eCommerce.

eCommerce, inventory and marketing platforms to help you get set up

Lots of services that support eCommerce are offering help for those pivoting businesses. Here are some of the best resources and offers to quickly get your online store set up:

  1. Mailchimp is offering free custom domains with their website builder until 31st May
  2. Shopify offers a 90-day free trial when you set up an online store with them
  3. Square is also offering free online store setup
  4. Unleashed have launched a LinkedIn Group, Business Helping Business. In it, businesses share advice and strategies to get through COVID-19
  5. Privy has launched a marketplace to showcase small eCommerce businesses

Google Shopping has made it free for merchants to sell on Google. This makes it easier for brick-and-mortar retailers to pivot and keep making sales, as consumers increasingly shop online. The Google Shopping tab search results will now consist primarily of free listings – regardless of whether merchants advertise on Google. The move presents an opportunity for retailers to become more discoverable to the millions of online shoppers searching Google each day. Existing advertisers can augment paid campaigns with free listings.

In-depth resources for eCommerce:

The offers outlined above can help with the practicalities of setting up an eCommerce platform. But those new to online retailing may be looking for some more in-depth guidance. We’ve gathered resources on the ins-and-outs of eCommerce during COVID-19 from some of our trusted partners:

Start delivering direct-to-consumer

You may find that the cost and risk of using a postal service to deliver your goods outweigh the benefits.

The regular post also may not be practical for those selling big bulky goods, or with a long lead-time.

In the past, the appeal of e-commerce was to enable businesses to ship to buyers across the country (or even further afield). But shops that have always operated in bricks-and-mortar may only have the demand for local delivery now.

Additionally, wholesalers and many brick-and-mortar businesses already have vans or vehicles available. Using their own vehicles can keep the cost of delivery down.

For businesses without their own vehicles, there are a number of services out there that help you find the best courier or third-party delivery options, including the likes of ShipStation and Parcelhub.

Managing local eCommerce deliveries in your own vehicles

Proper logistics management improves efficiency for the businesses and organisations using it. Efficiency is more essential than ever for any business still operating right now.

Stream improves efficiency for businesses making deliveries/collections in their own vehicles. At the same time, we keep customer service at the centre of everything we do.

3 Ways Stream Go can help businesses pivot to eCommerce delivery

  • Take the quickest route. Plan and optimise the most efficient routes for delivery and collection. Stream’s routing takes locations, total route times and vehicle capabilities into account. You’ll spend less time out on the road (and more time social distancing at home).
  • Communicate with your customers. The heart of local business is customer interaction – something which is now near-impossible to do face-to-face. With delivery and tracking information sent via email or SMS, customers have complete visibility over their orders. This proactive communication also reduces the need for redelivery.
  • Make it contactless. eCommerce is, by its nature, a contactless way of shopping – right up until the moment the goods are handed over. Stream makes it easy to collect contactless proof-of-delivery. Drivers can take a photo of doorstep delivery in the app. Customers can see this in real-time, so issues can be resolved on-the-spot.

See the full list of Stream Go features.

We’re offering special licencing options to businesses helping in any way with the COVID-19 pandemic effort. Get in touch if we can help your business pivot to eCommerce.