Online Shop or Not?
We thought long and hard about developing an online shop/presence. Our website had been in situ for quite some time but was totally informational, totally one way. We’d sort of talked ourselves out of going down the online route as we felt there were distributors out there who knew what they were doing as this was their bread and butter. Undoubtedly we’d be at the back of the queue negotiating shipping contracts and as a result our customers would have to pay for the privilege of shopping with us……..
Fast forward to the spring of 2020. The UK is in lock-down because of the coronavirus pandemic and the vast majority of our ‘on trade’; the pubs, restaurants, hotels, are closed. In the background work had been going on developing a basic online shop and the decision was taken to launch this, after a day of family testing, on the 12 May 2020. The response has been amazing and the feedback fabulous.
We developed the web shop in house, after receiving quotes for many thousands of pounds, with most of the work being done in the evenings and at weekends. We negotiated our shipping contract with Parcel Force who we have found to be very ‘personal’ – yes, we have actual people we can talk to!! It is interesting to note that of the shipping companies we approached not many even bothered getting back to us. Says a lot about their communication and customer service!
Unfortunately one parcel was lost in transit early on…..we only found out when we ‘completed’ the order in our system and the customer got in touch saying he hadn’t received it! Things obviously get lost and when this happens the customer has to be looked after first. Another package was dispatched and the feedback we received was amazing :–
“Thank you for organising this. It was indeed delivered today. And a glass was enjoyed this evening. Just the one. Absolutely loved it. So pleased I ordered it. Completely worthy of all the accolades.”
Just goes to show our initial fears about developing and implementing an online shopping experience were unfounded. Delivery works and is not too expensive, customers certainly can be understanding and feedback has been great.
Now we have to get used to this: