In episode two of the Kochie’s Business Builders docuseries Bricks and Clicks on Channel 7, our excited retail small businesses have arrived at International Towers in Sydney for their first sprint weekend. Over the next two days, they’ll get an initial crash course from a range of experts and millionaire mentors on how to build a successful online business.
As the businesses get to know each other, Jane Cay, the founder of Birdsnest, comes to welcome them to the Bricks and Clicks program, open their eyes to the possibilities, and spark their motivation by sharing her story of how she ‘accidently fell into retail’.
“In 2011, I looked at the traffic and realised the number of people hitting our website was the same number that lived in the entire town. So being online was like having the entire town walking through your store every day,” Jane said.
Jane also shared one of her favourite quotes by Charles Darwin as inspiration to the small businesses. “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, it’s not the most intelligent that survives; it’s the one most adaptable to change.”
The businesses were mesmerised by Jane’s story. Owner of The Mosh Pit Kellie Jackson said, “The main takeaway I took from Jane’s story is that I can do that too. I can jump into the deep end and I can swim.”
Key takeaways from this week’s episode
Several experts joined Jane this week to share advice on getting started online including Nick Wilson, Head of Marketing at Netregistry, and Melissa Fai from law firm Gilbert and Tobin. The themes that emerged were:
- Customer experience can be translated to online. Someone advise Jane early on that people spend way too much time worrying about the competition so she focused on whether her customers were happy or not and how to continue to move the dial. For example, every customer who receives a parcel from Birdsnest receives a handwritten note – they’ve sent over a million personalised notes.
- Being online is crucial for a small business to grow. Stats now show that if a business doesn’t get online in five years, it’s likely to fail. A website is a necessity. Nick from Netregistry shared how customers are increasingly turning to Google in their purchase consideration process, and engaging with the business itself much later.
- Technology is leveling the playing field. Business can now be based anywhere and do business right across the globe. Netregistry provided advice on ensuring you get your domain name right and how to get your website to the top of Google searches.
- Take it one step at a time. It’s important for businesses not to get too bogged down by feeling that every item in their shop must be online straight away. It’s just important to start somewhere. Additionally, small businesses should ask themselves if they know enough to create a website and if they have the time to do it. If not, it’s wise to consider outsourcing.
- Be clear on how to attract online customers. Reaching customers online is different. Small business owners need to understand how to drive traffic to their website using SEO and social channels. Also critical is understanding the data and trends that show how customers interact once they arrive on the website. Businesses need to ask themselves the following questions about their customers on their website: What are they doing? When do we lose them in the purchasing process? If they buy things, what worked? Can I retarget them?
- Going online means complying with new legal requirements. Melissa from Gilbert and Tobin shared advice on the legal requirements of going online. This included information on the electronic transaction act which requires owners to provide customer terms and conditions in a clear manner on the site. Additionally, small businesses need to ensure they disclose what personal information they are collecting about their customers and for what purpose.
Overall, at the end of their first day, the businesses came away in an optimistic frame of mind. They felt encouraged that they weren’t alone, and realised that it’s important to have an open mind and just get started!
Missed episode two? Catch up here.
Are you a small business that wants to transform your business from bricks to clicks, and kick goals in the online retail market? The online e-learning platform designed to help local Australian businesses is free. Get started at the Bricks and Clicks website now.