16TH JUNE, 2020

10 Great Ways To Drive Your Online Sales During The COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 has touched our lives in ways we could never have imagined. E-commerce is hardly a new thing of course, but with many of us staying home it’s become essential for the survival or all sorts of UK businesses. Not only were physical shops forced to close during the lockdown but many retailers are also now looking to cut costs, potentially by shifting to online sales more permanently. Here we look at the most effective ways of encouraging online sales in these difficult trading times.

1. Launch new products

Finding your products aren’t quite as relevant to people as they used to be? Don’t despair - diversify! This may mean selling something different for a while, or changing your existing ranges. If you sell clothing or apparel for instance, consider selling face masks too. They could have cartoon characters on them to appeal to a younger audience, or be made in bright, bold colours.

2. Offer subscriptions

For from struggling, the lockdown has actually meant that for some online retailers business is booming. Home improvement sales, gardening essentials and sales of fitness equipment are just three areas that have done well recently.

If you do find that your business has actually been picking up since the COVID-19 outbreak, make the best of it by ensuring it’s not just a one-time thing. Subscriptions could be a great way to do this, as they can bring in extra revenue if sales do take a downward turn in future.

3. Set up Click and Collect

With COVID-19 hanging over all of us, many people prefer choosing what they want from a website before popping out to collect it. Not only is this a quicker way of shopping with no postage issues, but it means your customers spend less time in close proximity to each other. If you do have a physical shop as well as a website, why not offer a slot system, so that customers can only collect at a particular date and time. Again this helps to keep physical shopping numbers lower and reduce queueing.

4. Display your reviews

There’s nothing like a swathe of good reviews about a business to entice customers and your website is the ideal place. There are a number of strategies in doing it - some businesses have reviews solely on their homepage whilst others have them dotted about the site.

5. Run promotions

Discounts for NHS workers, or buy-one-get-one-free events are always popular and put your business in a good light too. Flash sales are another great option, where hefty discounts are offered either on certain goods or across the site, but only for a very short period of time. Whether it’s free shipping until the end of the month or announcing a huge upcoming sale, the urgency promotions can create is a tactic which is sure to drive visitors to your site.

6. Make the most out of Facebook

Nowadays Facebook is like the Yellow Pages for businesses, displaying your company’s website link, customer support options and phone number. It’s also a great way of publishing and promoting any content that links back to your website, such as a promotional offer (as mentioned above), a blog post (that links straight back to your website), or a new item that’s just gone on sale. Consider running Facebook Ads too.

And while we’re on the subject…

7. Get your social media up to scratch generally

Social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram aren’t just the “in thing” - they’re an essential e-commerce tool. By giving your business brand a social media presence, you not only generate more business but can also connect with your customers and serve them more effectively. It actually makes your digital marketing simpler, leading to improved sales and revenue.

8. Write regular blog posts

When done correctly, blogging is excellent for boosting SEO and helping Google to find your business amongst all the others. The more blog pieces you publish, the more links you can add to your products. Blogging is also the perfect opportunity to entice your customers into buying things on impulse. It can show off your brand, keep your site relevant to what’s going on in the world at that moment, and keep your customers updated on industry news. Blog articles can be as long or as short as you like, as long as they relate to your business in some way.

9. Make checking out easy

Help a customer pay for items in their basket by making it super easy and fast. Don’t have multiple steps or annoying pop ups at this stage, and allow as many different payment options as possible.

10. Offer a gold standard refund guarantee

Times are hard at the moment, and money for many customers is tight. This means that many people won’t want to risk wasting cash if they need to send a product back to you for any reason and can’t. The more you remove this risk, the more likely people are to buy from you, so decide on a clear and fair money-back guarantee and advertise it!

Don’t forget R&D Tax Credits

If your company has recently completed any innovative projects that involve making technological or scientific discoveries then good news - financial help is at hand.

The R&D Tax Credit scheme was devised by the government to put a portion of R&D expenditure back into company pockets. This is done either by a reduction in Corporation Tax, or as a lump sum. The relief is claimable by any UK company in any industry and of any size. For SMEs the relief can be worth as much as 33p in every pound of R&D expenditure and can help with costs such as staff wages, employer’s NIC and pensions contributions, material, overheads, subcontractor payments and more.

Don’t miss out! Have a look at our R&D Tax Credits page for further details.

How can Tax Cloud help?

Tax Cloud UK was developed by Myriad Associates, a highly specialised boutique consultancy consisting of R&D tax experts. It’s a quick, simple way of inputting your own company’s figures and generating an accurate, optimised claim ready for submission. Plus, we’re here to support you along the way.

Sign up to the free Tax Cloud portal for businesses today or speak to our friendly team on 0207 360 4437. If you’d prefer, please do use our contact page and we’ll call you back
Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA
Author Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA CEO, Tax Cloud
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Myriad Associates helps businesses maximise tax reliefs and secure R&D grant funds. We specialise in R&D Tax Credits, Video Games Tax Relief, Innovate UK grants, Horizons 2020 grants, and Research and Development Capital Allowance Claims.

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Barrie Dowsett Barrie Dowsett ACMA CGMA Chief Executive Officer
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Lauren Olson Lauren Olson MA, MISTC Senior Technical Consultant