In a regular new column for Health Food Business, Georgina Green, the creator of BeeZee, a new app that gives independent retailers the chance to make online and app sales, discusses the impact of Covid on online retailing:
To say 2020 was an interesting year for retailers of all kinds would be an understatement to say the least.
It is no secret that retailers were struggling more than ever, even before the pandemic began thanks to the digital revolution leaving far too many behind. In addition, international competition is fiercer than ever, and fixed costs of storefronts were skyrocketing, making any profit margin on goods a huge struggle for so many. Then along came Covid.
I do believe that Covid has only highlighted the inevitable – that you must get your goods online and seek other, more modern ways to appeal to consumers, and most importantly, make sales. Too many see this as an impossible task, with the internet and online marketing being likened to learning Latin, not possible. But it is actually a lot simpler than people think.
Social media platforms have paved the way for retailers to start the process of building an online presence and simple website building platforms such as Wix allow anyone to have their own online shop with relatively low running costs. Gone are the days when you would have to pay high rent on key locations for your storefront. Now, you can simply make some beautiful creatives on your social media and show it to as many people as possible to make sales.
There is a movement going on in Britain encouraging people to ‘Buy Local’. Most people would rather buy from their local farmers or local retailers, supporting and giving back to those in their community to ensure they continue to survive and thrive as economic pressures continue to mount. It is your job to make it as easy and accessible for consumers to be able to do so and there is nothing easier than a click of a button. At BeeZee, we have tried to make the experience for retailers and consumers as simple as possible. By providing independent and local retailers with an online storefront and delivery service, most, if not all the hard work has been eliminated, meaning retailers can do what they do best – make sales, leaving the rest to us.
The closure of our beloved local high streets during lockdowns has given people a very real taste of what retail in the UK will look like if we do not support our independent shops. More than anything, Covid has highlighted that people miss social interaction and a sense of community which will all but disappear if local high streets and independent retailers are unable to survive. This alone should tempt people into supporting local, small independent retailers however they can, especially in lockdown and as soon as shops can open again safely.