Habits change. They always do. But they usually take their time. We’re used to evolution, not to revolution. Which is why, when my sister told me that I could buy vegetables online I was surprised. I immediately went online and placed an order, and, surely enough, the order turned up a couple of days later.
Any other day I wouldn’t have considered buying vegetables online. I live 400m away from a fruit and veg shop. I actually live 400m away from 4 of them, one in each direction. And a fruit and veg hawker sets up her van 70m away from my door on Tuesdays and Fridays.
But, as I said. Habits change. Especially when times are strange. And so, with all the panic about keeping away from people thanks to COVID-19, I thought that it would be safer to buy my fruit and veg online. I still stuck to my guns and shopped local, because the fruit and veg guy I bought my supplies from is a farmer up the road, a few kilometers away from my house.
This happened to be an exception. Everything else I tried to buy online was not available. Or at least it was not available locally. It is still easier to buy stuff on Amazon than it is for me to buy stuff from the ironmongery round the corner from my house. At least I can shop on Amazon at 11.30PM, which is the only time I manage to dedicate 10 minutes to shopping for a drill bit.
But, as I’ve already hinted at. Habits change. And we have to be the ones to drive habit changes. I can’t shop at the ironmonger round the corner if they don’t have an online presence, let alone an eCommerce site.
And, times are strange. So habits change. Which means that if I want to buy local and if I can’t buy online, now I have no option. Shops are closed, or fulfilment is a major challenge, and sometimes it’s both.
This might sound like a strange sales pitch. It is. But it also isn’t. I’m strongly advocating that you take immediate action and get your eCommerce options up and running. Get them up and running now. Not later today, not tomorrow, not next week. Get your store online immediately. You don’t need to do it with us. That’s why it’s not a sales pitch. It would be nice if you did, we’d do an excellent job of it, but if you can’t do it with us, for any reason, eliminate all excuses and do it anyway.
Oh, and keep in mind that, even in times of desperation, you need to offer a good service with the best products you possibly can. Some of the onions were mouldy, the strawberries had seen better days. I got the kind of produce that people leave over there when they shop in a shop. I won’t be ordering again. So don’t bother investing in a system if you can’t fulfil at the same level you’d fulfil in person.
If you’re wondering what to do next, this is what I’d suggest:
- Make a list of the services or products you can deliver without contact
- Find an (or speak to your) eCommerce provider and share your objectives with them
- Find a way of delivering your goods or service, and a way of getting paid for it (a good eCommerce service provider can help you with that, we know that we can, for example).
- Work hard on getting your solution up and running. While your eCommerce solution is being built, there’s work to be done on your end, too, you’re not just going to sit and wait. Products and services need to be described and placed online, you need to set up your logistics processes. It’s just like putting products on a shelf, but online instead. Nice and easy.
- Start marketing your online process.
- Get used to the new normal. It will be fun.
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