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Now's the right time to think about ecommerce

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Now's the right time to think about ecommerce

The COVID-19 outbreak has led many companies across Scotland to start or accelerate their use of ecommerce platforms to reach new and existing customers. Siobhan McDermit, Trade Digital Team Leader at Scottish Enterprise, explains the steps you should take to start your ecommerce journey and the support we can offer to help your business succeed.

Selling online has become so much easier thanks to the range of ecommerce support now available. And there's rising demand from customers who are increasingly at ease with buying products and services online.

Siobhan McDermit, Trade Digital Team Leader at Scottish Enterprise

The post-COVID growth of online sales

The opportunity has never been greater to embrace and invest in ecommerce.

While the benefits of selling online have been well established for some time, the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rapid growth in the number of companies either increasing their existing ecommerce activity or introducing an online sales channel for the first time to try to lessen the impact of declining physical sales.

The record performance of global emarketplaces such as Amazon and eBay during the pandemic clearly demonstrate that more and more businesses and consumers are turning to ecommerce platforms to meet their needs. Online retail sales reached 4.9 trillion USD in 2020, and this is a trend that looks set to continue in the future with growth estimated at 40% over the next 3 years.

It’s encouraging to see so many companies across a range sectors in Scotland really embracing this trend. From breweries selling online for the first time, to agricultural firms introducing online livestock auctions, more and more businesses are looking for ways to develop their ecommerce capability. 

Getting started in ecommerce 

The first step in your ecommerce journey is finding out if and where your products and services are already available online. If your products or services are sold via agents, distributors, stockists or retailers, you might be surprised to discover that those products or services are already available to buy online.

Follow this checklist

1. Check if you can buy your goods or services currently online. And, if so, who are the suppliers?

Use Google and Amazon search to check who sells what. This will tell you who is doing what with similar products and services. The likelihood is that, if others are online, you can be too.

2. Are you currently selling on eMarketplaces such as Amazon and eBay? If so, what's your scope for growth?

Or, if you want to sell on a marketplace, join one of our online events. You can also read our guide to international online marketplaces.

3. Does your business already have a web presence?

If so, you should check your website's Google Analytics information. This is free for most companies and will give you lots of information about your customers and potential customers. It will also tell you how your website is performing. 

4. Do you have an international digital strategy and has it been integrated into your overall business strategy?

This is one of the key success factors in selling online effectively. If you want to develop one or enhance your existing strategy, you should join one of our online events or masterclasses.

Ecommerce support - how we can help

Scottish Enterprise and our partners offer a range of ecommerce support  including:

Need some expert advice?

Our team is on hand to answer your questions about selling online, and to explain the ecommerce support we can offer to help your business succeed.