E-commerce in a Remarkable New COVID19 World

For over 12 years I’ve been talking about the necessity of the online business model for all businesses.

Business reaction

The remarkable new COVID19 World is here, and it is going to remain until a vaccine is found for the virus. How to adapt a business is going to the be the key to survival for many businesses around the World, let alone any business growth for small businesses which have been badly affected.

Here in the UK we’ve just surpassed our tenth week in lockdown following the onset of the global pandemic of Coronavirus COVID19, with a death toll exceeding 50,000 people.

From the moment the lockdown was brought in by the UK government, the most notable thing to me for most businesses, was the need to adapt, and quickly. Whether that was to adapt their service offerings for more services to be delivered following a purchase online, or to the extreme addition of a debut online service to cater for COVID-19.

There have been plenty of ‘key’ businesses like supermarkets and hardware shops that have remained open during the pandemic after following government guidance with a set of rules in place. Mostly social distancing at all times of 2 meters, and limiting numbers of people in the store were the key rules.

Delivery drivers have been one set of the key workers that have enabled online sales to continue and even increase in certain niche sectors. Some local takeaway’s and pubs have also offered a twist of local delivery or even collection from their car park premises.

Grasping e-commerce for your business, or even the emerging social commerce niche, is absolutely vital to sustain any sales during the COVID19 pandemic. Even today as the emergence of open air markets are starting to open, the amount of customers getting back to ‘normal’ life is non-existent with the simple example of one market stall selling just one pair of socks all morning.

No E-commerce

The worst example I’ve seen of how not to provide an online shopping cart for your customers despite having an existing web presence has been Primark.

In the space of a month, they went from £650m/month to ZERO. What is bizarre, is that Primark have all their products on their website for sale, but no checkout.

https://twitter.com/cosmikcarrot/status/1252590786543321089?s=20

The business decision for no checkout, which I can only assume is to ensure customer foot fall at all their stores, has been a very costly decision since the pandemic for them.

At Cosmik Carrot HQ it has been business as normal as we operate from home, and something that we’ve done since day one of business, and for over 12 years now.

Facebook Shop

If the fast pace of changes during the COVID-19 were already sweeping in many sectors, then Facebook just accelerated that with its new Facebook Shops announcement. See – Facebook Shops.

This new change will allow e-commerce stores to now sell directly through Facebook and Instagram. You will also be able to advertise through all of its platforms like, Messenger, Marketplace, & WhatsApp, etc. Using social media apps for electronic commerce is now defined by Facebook as “Social Commerce”

For those clients using the likes of WooCommerce, you’ll be able to link up directly into your new Facebook Shop and sell your products or services. This is going to be a great extension of your online store to add to any business growth strategy.

This will be great for ensuring the product and stock level remains consistent and leads back to the main store on your website to control sales orders.

Online retailing of buying and selling any goods and services is going to increase as individuals want to avoid testing positive or adding to the coronavirus deaths.

High street decline

The UK high street has been in decline for many years, and the COVID-19 pandemic might be like petrol on a fire to accelerate that decline. I see this occurring due to the amount of social distancing required, and the lengthy timespan for a possible vaccine to be developed.

Businesses can combat this decline with a move to an online format to accept payment for items, followed by either collection or delivery.

Restaurants and Pubs

It is still unclear as to when any restaurants can fully open. There have been certain fast food services offering delivery services during the lockdown. As well as particular independent pubs offering collection from an online menu.

For all food restaurants and pub chains, the concept of disposable menu’s has been muted. Personally I think this is going to be such an environmental waste in the long-term.

As a society we need to embrace behavioural change when required to do so, combined with new technology. This is why I think contactless solutions is going to be a key innovative area for most businesses.

An example where you can adopt a new contactless solution for your food service business is a QR Code to Food Menu. By having a new permanent QR code on restaurant tables, users can scan the code with their smart phone. Once the QR code is recognised, the customer can then go through the interactive menu in their phone and place an order including payment.

For more information, check out our Conversational Marketing with further details.

Stay safe and well!

What is the future of the popular Facebook Business page?

How many pages exist on Facebook Business?

Well, as of a conference call back in February 2017, Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook actually announced that they’d got about 65 million Facebook Business pages currently at that point in time. Whether that number has increased or decreased significantly since then, a year since that date, we’re not quite sure. But, there’s certainly a significant number of business pages to take into account.

About four million of those actually advertise on Facebook, from what Sheryl Sandberg was quoted as saying, and they know about half a million of those are actually on Instagram. Obviously the huge benefits of a Facebook business page is that it’s actually free to set up, and anyone can get started very quickly with their business. You also instantly linked with a potential audience of several billion people that co-exist on the Facebook platform.

Facebook Announcement – 11 January 2018

So, we roll on to another Facebook announcement, in January 2018, and this is actually from Mark Zuckerberg himself, on the 11th of January, and in his Facebook post, he has actually announced quite a few things, and here are just some of the main highlights in regards to the actual future of the Facebook business page. He says in his blog post;

But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content posts from businesses, brands, and media, is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.

He continues to say further in his post;

Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping find relevant content, to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.

He also states;

The first changes you’ll see will be in the newsfeed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.

And finally, he states;

As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content, like posts from businesses, brands, and media, and the public content you see more will be held to the same standard. It should encourage meaningful interactions between people.

Don’t need a website because you have a Facebook Business page?

So, a lot of people have said other the years that they don’t need a website, because you have a Facebook business page. Well, think again, as the fact is, Facebook owns your business page with your name on it. This is something a lot of people forget about, and it’s certainly something to be reminded of.

There is also no security with your business page, and Facebook could withdraw your page at any point in time. If that is the only sort of web presence you have for your business, that’s quite scary to be thinking about. You’re also limited to how you can present on your business on the Facebook business page, as obviously they limit you to a template format.

And the integration with other platforms is also very limiting and difficult, because they want to keep you contained within the platform. There’s no also no search engine optimisation control on the business page, to influence where your page ranks in Google. You can obviously just complete the relevant details and see where you end up.
 

What is the future of a Facebook business page?

Well, following Mark Zuckerberg’s comments, your Facebook business page will have less impact for your business. This is quite worrying for a lot of business owners I think out there, and if this is you, you’re actually going to start to see negative impacts on leads through the business page, due to your business not appearing in other people’s news feeds anymore, as they’re actually going to be concentrating and changing those Facebook algorithms to focus more on friends, family and groups, instead of business pages.

I think Facebook is also going to actually encourage more Facebook business users to pay for advertising to get more notice. This makes more sense at the end of the day, Facebook have got shareholders that they want to earn a profit, so I think the new business model is to limit the impact of business pages in people’s news feeds, and if people actually want to get their business out into other people’s news feeds, they’re actually going to have to pay.

There’s going to be more weight and incentive to use a Facebook business as an addition to your website, instead of actually having it as your website. Also, use your Facebook reviews in your website to improve your SEO. This is a great thing, once you’ve got those reviews from Facebook getting pulled through into your website, especially with them schema and it all being mocked up correctly.
 

How to promote a local business?

  1. Well, first of all, have a website that is in your control, not a Facebook Business page representing your business. Make sure that the website is hosted on a reliable, secure, quality hosting. At Cosmik Carrot we offer excellent private non-shared web hosting.
    • Once you’ve got a website, if you already haven’t, make sure it’s in your control, you can basically do it as you like, how it looks, and how you want to get it integrated with other platforms.
    • The website must be designed well with your users in mind to achieve your website goals. This includes ensuring that the website is responsive for all mobile and tablet devices.
    • The website for your business must also be developed by a competent web developer, that will have detected all your requirements and ensured that your website has been coded in a way that you can expand and grow in the future.
  2. I recommend you ensure your website has been optimised for the search engines.
    • The process of optimisation is a long and complicated one, but very rewarding when the results are achieved from all of the hard work. The research of all your keywords, backlinks, discovery of competitors, and correcting all the issues with your website is all undertaken with our SEO Services, if you want a professional to do this for your business.
  3. Use schema to ensure your business is recognised locally in Google.
  • Using schema will separate your business from your competitors. Implementing schema correctly is very important, otherwise you will be penalised by Google and other search engines. If you require this service for your business website, please contact us for further info.
  • Use a Facebook business page in addition to your website.
    • This will mean that you still have a presence on the Facebook platform, but your website will always be the number one point of call for all your customers. Your website will always be the full representation of your business, that is open 24/7, 365 days a year, globally.
    • Once Facebook is linked to your website, this will be a factor to add weight to your website to potentially increase its ranking.
  • Have a digital strategy on social media.
    • Having a digital strategy across social media is key to continue the voice of your business. By having your blog posts shared across your Facebook business page will drive traffic back to your website in the long run.

If you want to proceed with your new business website to replace your Facebook Business page, then you can contact us with all your details.