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Alternative sales platforms are vital for Shropshire retailers to start recovery

Tracy Hazlewood

By Tracy Hazlewood

Online sales will play a vital part in the way Shropshire retailers recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Every single sale will count for merchants as they emerge from the crisis of the last 12 months – and that ensuring they have a successful alternative sales platform will be vital both now and for the long-term future.

The pandemic has irreversibly changed consumer habits, accelerating the rush to online shopping while physical stores were closed.

There is a real danger that smaller, independent retailers could find their customers slipping away to national online retailers or local and regional competitors with a better e-commerce offer throughout 2021.

Consumers remain keen to support their local high street and the retailers on their doorsteps, but they have also become much more savvy about shopping online as a result of the pandemic.

Many have become used to the convenience of home delivery through shopping online or from a shop front using new tech already available, it is something which every retailer, regardless of size and sector, must consider introducing this year if they are to retain and grow their share of the marketplace.

Fears that developing alternative sales platforms to allow customers to buy when they’re not open would be costly and time-consuming are also mis-placed.

I know a lot of smaller retailers who say they cannot afford to go down the online route as a result of what has happened over the last 12 months, but really I would say that they cannot afford not to.

There is no need for the great majority of businesses to spend huge amounts on developing an online sales solution – and for some the answers can even be free. They can often be set up in a matter of hours, and the return they can bring on the investment is excellent.

As the retail sector starts to recover this year, every single sale will be hard-won and be essential for the future of the business. By not having an online sales platform, many smaller businesses are simply denying themselves the chance of sales and allowing their rivals to steal a march on them.

I also urge traders to avoid introducing technology which was over-complicated and overpriced.

As always, there are some companies selling solutions which offer far more than most traders need at a cost they can ill afford in the current climate. As a Shropshire-based business and someone with more than 20 years of experience in the commercial sector, I recommend only the solutions I feel are suitable and affordable for the business involved.

“As always, there are some companies selling solutions which offer far more than most traders need at a cost they can ill afford in the current climate. As a Shropshire-based business and someone with more than 20 years of experience in the commercial sector, I recommend only the solutions I feel are suitable and affordable for the business involved.”

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