19/01/2021 - Booking System
Consumer behaviour has changed dramatically in the last 12 months due to the COVID crisis. More than ever, it’s crucial that businesses have a strong online offering. But how easy is it to move a traditional face to face business online? Stuart Reed from Upshot Media offers some reassuring advice.
Every great business website starts with an idea
Your first step towards moving your business online is to imagine how your products or services will reach your customers if you are not able to meet face to face.
Tangible products that can be packaged and delivered lend themselves to a beautifully presented ecommerce website. If you already have a website, it may be relatively easy (and low cost) to bolt a virtual shop on to your existing site.
Here is an example of an ecommerce website with some bespoke features
Selling services online may need a little more imagination. Could you take payment and bookings online and then help your customers via video link? Several Upshot Media customers have done just that in recent months and their businesses are thriving. It works beautifully for counselling services, legal services, teaching, dog training, dancing lessons, fitness classes and even some catering services.
Do you offer training? Could your tutorials be presented as videos for students to watch in their own time? Combining virtual lessons with downloadable documents, and, of course, your support, creates a valuable package that will earn you money. Plus, there are no geographic limitations – you could be living in Ely and still training somebody in Manchester without leaving the comfort of your home office.
Check this online dog training business
Has your business become more COVID safe by offering appointments rather than walk-in services? An online booking system makes clients feel valued and negates the need for them to wait in the carpark until called. It also helps to ensure the safety of reception staff. With your website as a virtual receptionist, you’ll need fewer staff on site at any one time. Appointments can of course be arranged online without taking payment (unless you want to). Vets, pet stores, artisan bakers, butchers, farm shops can all benefit from a booking system in lockdown.
A typical booking system website
Not sure how to adapt your business to trading online? The Upshot Media team may well be able to offer some inspiration. Take a look at our portfolio of past work for ideas or call us for a chat.
What will your new website cost?
Once you know how your online business will operate, get in touch with a reputable website developer to find out what the site will cost to build. Don’t expect an instant quote – a good developer will want to think hard about what needs to be done and will probably have as many questions for you as you have for him or her.
You may be tempted to buy from one of the budget website providers seen advertising on TV. Unless you are confident in your design skills and your ability to tweak the programming to make the site work your way, these sites usually take longer to set up than the adverts imply. By all means consider all of your options but remember the old adage “buy it cheap, buy it twice”
When getting quotes for a new website, you must be clear about who will do what. To make your new website truly unique to your business you will need to tell your developer which pictures to display and what the text should say. If you are not a confident writer, your website developers should be able to recommend a copywriter who can help you. Remember to factor this service into the cost of your new website along with the purchasing of high quality images/video if you don’t already have some.
How soon can my new website be ready?
Depending on the complexity of your new website and how quickly you can provide us with the images and text you’d like to display, a new website can be ready in as little as 3-4 weeks.
Once the specification for your new site has been agreed, we can give you a more accurate publishing date.
Managing your new website
A good ecommerce website needs to be dynamic. You need to be able to respond quickly to new orders, to enquiries and to changes in your stock levels or prices. Many people worry that they will get in a muddle with the website technology and either break something or lose vital information.
The development team at Upshot Media have created a content management system that is simple and logical to use. But we don’t just hand it over and expect you to pick it up as you go along. You will be given a brief demonstration of the system before you commit to buy and a more thorough training session once the site is built. Trust me, if you can order your groceries online or use a social media site, the Upshot Media content management system will be a breeze for you.
How easy is it to move your business online? With the design capabilities, the flexibility and the support of Upshot Media – you’d be amazed at how simple it is to keep your business alive in a changing environment.
Find out more about the features and benefits of our ecommerce websites
Talk to the team at Upshot Media
How one lady’s dream of taking her business online turned into a global success
Get inspired – check out our varied portfolio of bespoke business websites