By Jesse Hill, Fan of Local Staff Writer
Have you been considering processing your own online orders? In these times of social distancing and forced public closures it can be challenging to keep your business afloat. There are also a vast amount of businesses and services that have never had to rely on online ordering before and therefore lack the necessary online presence or have a reliance on 3rd party ordering software that may not always work towards you keeping your bottom line in the black.
In our local communities, there are many types of businesses, each with its own unique challenges. For this reason, there is no one answer that will work for everyone. However, there are general solutions as well as more specific ones.
First, let’s examine some pros and cons of third-party ordering options. Then we’ll move on to some things to consider when seeking to take control of this aspect of your business by processing orders yourself.
Pros & Cons of Third-Party Ordering Systems
By far, the most focused industry affected by delivery options at this point in time is the food service industry. Restaurants are able to utilize a number of tools to assist with taking orders and delivery. That being said, as with any business, not all tools are created equal.
So, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of third-party delivery services.
- Quickly accept and process orders
- Have someone else deliver your orders for you
- Potential to reach a larger customer base
- Prohibitive costs and/or service fees
- Lack of control over delivery time, which may affect food quality
- Inability to enforce professional & hygienic standards
- Service issues that are out of your control
- Delays in receiving your money
How Do I Know if I Can Take My Business Online?
No matter your industry, there are a few basic points of consideration when answering the question, “How do you expand your own options while taking greater control of your revenue?”
- Am I able to offer pick-up options at my location?
- Do I have staff members who may be willing to deliver locally themselves, so I can pay them instead of having someone else to do this for me? Or am I willing to hire someone? (This includes tips.)
- Do I have a product that I can ship or that customers can download or subscribe to?
What Do I Need to Start Processing Online Orders?
In order to get online, you need an order-capable webpage. This can be a part of your existing site if you have one or it can be a simple virtual storefront that your site can link to or that can be accessed directly from the web.
First, you need a domain like www.YourBusiness.com. You also need a WebHost that allows your website to exist on the web.
Then you will need an ordering system, which can be provided by many specialty websites that cater to this system, such as Shopify, Duda, or Etsy, or something like WooCommerce on WordPress. These facilities permit you to list your products, create menus, allow for account creation, and provide shopping carts for your customers.
Lastly, you need a payment gateway. A payment gateway is a system to which you connect your store and allows you to process payments.
Most store builders will offer some sort of incentive to either host with them or use their payment gateway. These vary in costs and options, so be sure you understand what their costs and restrictions are before you lay down any payment for these DIY methods.
If this is all sounds overly complicated to you, an alternative method is to use a developer to guide you through the initial setup of your accounts and then to do the heavy lifting for you in terms of the rest of the process.
Developer services can vary greatly in cost, but there are actually good deals to be found during this time of pandemic and economic difficulty, such as the Fan of Local offering. We are providing the local small business owner with their own free professional website built by the Fan of Local team, which is part of the ClickDuo.com group of companies. Business owners also get free hosting for three months. Anyone interested in finding out how you can get your free website and start processing you own online orders can visit ClickDuo.com to get started!