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Do what your good at… Retail.

The eCommerce world is dynamic, it changes quickly and what’s fashionable this year is out next. Sound familiar? The business of eCommerce has many parallels with retail, in particular fashion retail. It’s in a state of constant change, it’s re-imagined and refined in an effort to sustain growth and innovation.It’s an exciting high energy space with continued growth predictions.

So why, oh why are there not more independent retailers making inroads online and making their presence felt? There are some barriers to entry, especially if you’re alone and do not have a support structure aimed at getting online and managing the many facets associated with becoming an eCommerce player. Another reason could be found in the latest report as highlighted by the Digital Marketing Institute.

(you’ll find the details here ). Put simply the report found that up to 50% of Europeans have little or no digital skills. It would therefore stand to reason that a high percentage of retailers fall into this category too. This is not something that should be a deterrent  to getting your business online. Quite a few retailers I’ve spoken to recently have expressed their embarrassment at not being digitally literate so to speak. My answer is quite simply that they have no great need to be.  My assertion is that if you can run a facebook page you’re not a million miles away (or kilometers in some parts) from being able to manage a basic eCommerce site.

I have yet to meet great techies and web designers who could run a retail outlet of any size. Lets think about that for a moment. As an independent retailer you are responsible for merchandising, purchasing, marketing, customer service, staffing, book keeping, pricing etc, etc, etc. So I would suggest it’s unreasonable to beat ourselves up for not being web developers, Search Engine Optimisation experts, Digital and Social marketing experts, Fulfillment specialists etc, etc, etc. If you want to install a tap you call a plumber, if you want to get accounts signed off get an accountant and so on. Why then if you want to sell online do we feel we have to do that ourselves.

Independent retail is very well placed to become a force in eCommerce. It’s easier for you to become a multichannel retailer than it is for say the ASOS’s of this world. It’s easier for you to stand out from the crowd and leverage your local loyal customer base than it is for someone like Tesco. You have a level of exclusivity that the multiples don’t enjoy. Not everyone wants to look the same, right. So if you’re in retail you should be in eCommerce. You have 90% of the work done. You know your business, you know your customer, you have your product so do what you do when you need accounts signed off. Find somebody to get the job done for you or as in our case with you. Independent retail has diversity, individuality, exclusivity and many other advantages over the larger chains so don’t let insecurity about your level of technical knowledge stop you. Take it from us at Stylefinch cost or technical knowledge is no longer a barrier to entry.

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CEO of COVA a new and innovative approach to eCommerce. We see independent retail as a community and want to leverage all the strengths and advantages in the sector to increase revenues, brand awareness and footfall. I believe eCommerce can play a major role in protecting our independent retailers and thus protect our high streets and towns. Independent retail is a vital social element of towns and cities across the world and we aim to get that message across. We love independent retail and we intend to ensure it becomes the dominant retail force as we look to marry the eCommerce world and the brick and mortar world. It's not just business it's personal.

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