Before I set up a company website, it would’ve been wise to have thought more about the consequences – the huge cost of our web salaries, web builders, optimisation and stock holding. Plus all the unpaid man hours that are required to keep all the plates spinning.
One major problem for us was stock control. We found that when stock was sold on the shopfloor it was difficult to update it simultaneously on the website, meaning it showed as available to online shoppers.
Our EPoS system – RMS Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System – offered us a stock control system. However, the template for this was so rigid that the whole look and feel of our website would have to be changed and rebuilt for it to work. I’ve spoken to lots of other indies who encountered the same problem. So I’m sharing with you that after two years of searching, we’ve found a company called Inventas (telephone 01737 222900). It offers a bespoke programme, in partnership with your web-building support, that can make the tills talk to the website when sales have been made in store, resulting in an instant stock update.
Around the corner is another set of challenges. A fraud ring in Manchester and the Republic of Ireland (bold enough to ring to ask why their goods had not arrived), resulted in a loss of several thousand pounds. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and we are now also 3-D Secure.
I wonder, if someone had advised me of everything required, would we have embarked on the web journey or not? The answer is yes, because of the joy of already having sales when we arrive in the morning – people shop as we sleep. And customers come though the door thanks to our website. It’s simply good business sense.
- Jan Shutt is chief executive of premium and young fashion womenswear indie Sunday Best in Rawtenstall, Lancashire