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Local news bytes


E-commerce Q&A


EPOS: Time to get real



Online Retailing Bournemouth & Poole Edition

October/November 2013

The Road to Success

Chris Love, CEO of Clove Technology, reveals how he stays ahead in the competitive world of online sales

How to set up an e-commerce business


Why email is still king


OR Dorset’s E-commerce Specialists We are an e-commerce agency based in Bournemouth providing consultancy and the Touch e-commerce platform. T: 01202 798 321 E:

Our Lead Consultants Oliver Williams, BSc (Hons) Oliver Williams brings more than 15 years of experience to Online Retailing having developed e-commerce software and managed national projects for some of the leading companies in the country. Oliver heads up all internal software development work and works closely with clients providing expertise and continued support.

News Bytes

WifiGear continues to expand

Dorset County Council has been awarded a £31.75 million deal that will see BT delivering high speed broadband to 97% of home and business premises within three and a half years. Work will begin this autumn and the first areas to be connected will be announced later in the year.

Poole’s Digital Air Wireless, has expanded its e-commerce team, bringing on board James Wheatman and Mike George as account managers. WifiGear is one of the leading online stores for wireless equipment, having moved into larger commercial premises within the New Fields Business Park.

Patriotic Peeks drives up sales Christchurch retailer, Peeks, has seen sales increase by 25% thanks to public street parties and private businesses celebrating recent Royal events. Nick Peek, managing director, says, “We hope that Kate and Wills will have another baby - and we’re all waiting for the day when Prince Harry ties the knot!”.

Facebook statistics The latest figures from Facebook show that there are more than 33 million followers in the UK which means that 50% of the population now have an account. There are more than one million web sites that now integrate with Facebook offering interaction with users such as liking products or updating their status after a product purchase.

Leader & Co - Lettings Agency Winner 2013

Personal training studio goes online

Leader & Co, based in Ashley Cross, has won the prestigious The Times award for “Best Newcomer Lettings Agency 2013”. Leader & Co uses advanced online technology such as 24-hour online account access for both tenants and landlords, and a system that allows tenants to book a property viewing online.

Southbourne’s new personal training studio, All Shapes and Sizes, recently launched an online members only section. Enabling clients to review their training progress and get ongoing advice from personal trainer Mark Ballard has helped to retain client loyalty and has been well received.

Wishes granted at Number 83 gift shop

Rob Havill has worked alongside many retailers and established companies during the past 10 years. Rob brings a wealth of design and marketing knowledge to Online Retailing. As the lead designer on all e-commerce projects, his experience ranges from tourism and leisure to healthcare, publishing, media, recruitment and property.


Mobile technology retailer Clove, based in Bournemouth, has recently implemented an automatic purchase ordering system within its Touch e-commerce system that will notify suppliers of products once stock levels are running low. Chris Love, CEO, says, “Being able to automate the process of supplier notifications will reduce considerably the paperwork our staff currently undertake”.

High speed broadband in Dorset

Rob Havill, BSc (Hons)

Copyright © 2013 Online Retailing. All Rights Reserved.

Clove becomes more automated

The Westbourne gift shop, Number 83, has introduced a wish list on its web site enabling people to email their friends and family with the gifts they would like. The wish list has proved very popular with people using it for birthdays and wedding lists during the summer.

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Snowtrax celebrates 4 years using Touch Hurn-based Snowtrax is the largest independent ski and snowboard retailer in the UK and has been using the Touch e-commerce system for four years now. Nick Warne, retail director, says, “The Touch system and support we get has been invaluable in reaching record online sales year after year�.

Track parcels to within 15 minutes The UK courier Interlink Express whose delivery time is already narrowed down to just an hourly window now has gone a step further by allowing customers to track the van to within 15 mins of delivery.

Integration of Touch EPOS system


ndependent retailer, Castle Cameras, has installed the new Touch EPOS system within its Winton and Salisbury branch which provides direct communication to its online store. The Touch EPOS system is able to maintain stock levels both in store and on the web site with enhanced reporting, personalised receipt printing and the ability to use the same discount vouchers whether the customer has walked into the shop or is checking out online.

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As well as the text message that provides the hourly slot, it can also contain a link to an online map providing real time tracking information providing customers more freedom instead of having to wait in all day.

The ability to automatically decrement a stock level from the web site when an item is bought in store will ensure that orders for sold-out products no longer happen. This new system works in conjunction with a web based smartphone app that allows a store owner to know when an online order has also been made ensuring the product is removed from the shelf. The Touch EPOS system is currently on a 30 day free trial and more details can be obtained by calling 01202 798 321.

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Already selling online? But sales could be better? Request our FREE web site survey and we will let you know how you can improve things.


Why email is still king

A quick guide to developing and maintaining customer relationships through email newsletters


n the age of social networking web sites, email still remains the one online communication tool that everyone understands. It is a low cost, high-return form of marketing for turning prospects into customers, selling to active customers and retaining them for the long term. If you’re not already using email marketing to connect with your customers, how do you get started?

Building a list The first thing you’ll need to do is build an email list, or a subscriber list. As an email marketer, you must find the people who want your company news and special offers, and then encourage them to follow through with a click to your web site. The more targeted your newsletter and its audience, the more likely it will be successful. Start with existing customers (those who have purchased a product from you within the last two years) and people who gave you their email inperson or over the phone knowing you’d contact them. A good way to gather email addresses is to create an email capture form on your web site. This allows customers to sign up automatically. Never buy your email list from a third party or ‘copy and paste’ the addresses from the Internet. There are strict rules covering permission and privacy when sending bulk email. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t email anyone that hasn’t given you permission to do so. The benefit of doing this, in addition to complying with important anti-spam legislation, is that your emails will be directed at a specific audience i.e. those that have expressed an interest in your products and services.

Sending your email Many people attempt to send bulk email themselves using Microsoft Outlook and other email applications. These applications used in conjunction with a standard email server are not designed for email marketing and have significant limitations that can actually undermine rather than aid your email marketing efforts. Because of concerns about spam, Internet service providers don’t let you send bulk emails to more than 50-100 names.


Measuring success To overcome this limitation, you’ll need to employ a professional email marketing service to send these emails on your behalf. These companies have systems in place to support the sending of large numbers of emails reliably and in accordance with anti-spam legislation. Features such as automatic unsubscribe and bounce-back handling ensure you are compliant and technologies such as Sender ID and DomainKeys/DKIM are used to improve the chances of your email being delivered.

What about design? Design is a very important consideration when it comes to getting prospects or customers to notice your email. Just as with your web site, you only have a few seconds to catch your reader’s attention.

Email marketing doesn’t conclude with the successful delivery of an email. Professional email marketing services give you access to reports such as who is opening and clicking your emails, which links were popular, who didn’t receive your emails and why, unsubscribes and more. This allows you to improve your campaigns and find out what works. Statistics from one campaign are hard to interpret. When you send your next newsletter out to the same audience, you’ll have something to compare it to, and you’ll know whether you’re getting better. With time and consistency, email marketing remains a great way to build relationships with your customers and prompt sales.

Do you need help with your email marketing?

HTML newsletters contain graphics, icons and different fonts, so are more visually appealing than plain text. It is advisable to employ a professional email designer to create your email templates, incorporating your logo and branding so that there is consistency in everything you send. There are many different email clients to consider and thorough testing is essential to make sure your emails looks consistent across all of these.

We offer everything you need to create and send successful email marketing campaigns.

Templates must include a clear unsubscribe link to allow recipients to opt out of receiving further emails. To be compliant, you must also contain valid company and contact information in the footer.

*Newsletter Design & Coding *Email List Management *Bulk Email Sending *Send Reports

Once complete, your templates can be imported into specialist email marketing software, allowing you to change the content with each issue.

Visit or call us on 01202 798 321

Deliver beautifully designed emails, manage your subscribers and track your campaign results.

EPOS: Time to get real A

n EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) system provides a fast and efficient way of dealing with customers and if you’re considering selling online then the right kind of EPOS system is important to ensuring that your online store is kept up to date with your in-store inventory. When you are running multiple ways of selling the same items where the items are kept on premises for walk in customers to buy, then it is vitally important that a sale in the shop is reflected as quickly as possible on the web site in case the same item is purchased multiple times and you do not keep enough stock to fulfil these orders.

This synchronisation of stock levels in-store and online can be accomplished by two different methods: manually and automatically. You may make the decision that at certain times of the working day you take a list of items bought at the till and sit down at your computer to manually change the stock levels of the same items online. This though has the obvious drawback that for a certain period of time you could sell the item online and not have the goods to dispatch. The automatic route is for the EPOS system to communicate with your web site in real-time (instantly) without the need for any manual intervention

through a permanent and reliable internet connection and this key feature is found in the Touch EPOS system. The Touch EPOS system can be run either from a laptop or dedicated touch screen terminal and communicates directly with a Touch driven web site. It allows for the barcoding of products at the till to speed up the purchase process, custom receipt printouts and can also provide the staff member at the till with a list of products that the customer may also be interested in. For more information on the Touch EPOS system, visit or contact us on 01202 798 321.







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The road to success

Chris Love, CEO of Clove Technology, reveals how he stays ahead in the competitive world of online sales

Some of the Clove team


wenty one years ago a Bournemouth business man had a vision. It was a vision that we very much take for granted now. A vision of people communicating and organising their business life outside of an office environment. Being able to read work documents, send emails to colleagues and play a quick game of snakes when the office manager wasn’t looking. That vision became known as the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) and led to the start of the Clove Technology web site in 1992 which has been supplying companies and individuals throughout the world with the latest smart phone technology ever since. We caught up with Chris Love of Clove Technology to find out how that vision came to be and what the future may hold for his successful company selling online.


take the risk and begin a new venture. We recognised there was an opportunity in the small market sector at that time for palmtops and PDAs and that is what we targeted. What was the biggest challenge you faced starting a company from the ground up? Our circumstances gave us a reasonable base to achieve this, but the biggest challenge in investing in the business at the start, was generating no income in the short term in order to try and achieve our goals. Attracting customers was completely different then with just print and paper advertising and mail shots. How has your own role evolved over the past 20 years? In the early days I had to complete all roles, which is a good grounding and experience, but as the business and the team grew this changed. I am fortunate to have a good motivated team that now handle many aspects of the business, so my role has changed to a more guidance and direction role for the business than the day to day operation.

Chris, what made you decide to take the step of working for yourself and setting up Clove Technology?

Has Clove’s customer base changed over the years?

We set up Clove in 1992 and it was a combination of the right circumstances and business idea at the right time to

It has certainly grown! Most of our customer base are consumers, or as we like to call them pro-sumers because many tend to be early adopter

Key Facts Year Launched: 1992 Sector: Handheld Technology Number of Staff: 11 Turnover: ÂŁ6M Products online: Approx 1500 enthusiasts. The web site has allowed us to grow our audience and we now have customers from all across the world. We are very well known and respected in the specialist market of smartphones. How does Clove maintain customer retention in such a competitive industry? There is no simple answer to this, but a combination of things, good customer service, competitive pricing, efficiency and usability of the web site, breadth of products and for us , an enthusiasm for our products and new technology which we share with our customers. What impact has social networking had to Clove? The challenge to engage with our customers, both existing and new, is a challenge, but an exciting one that we

embrace. All forms of new technology and communications are explored and tested and social media has had a major impact on our continued success, especially our blog which has grown over a period of four years to attract over 300,000 visitors per month. Social networking has to be a major strategy in any business that wishes to embark on E-Commerce. How do you remain a dominant force in a market where technology is constantly evolving? Well we try to be pro-active as the market changes and certainly offer our customers reliable in depth information about the new products. We are constantly challenging what we do and look at ways to improve this, both in terms of efficiency and customer experience. You have been using the Touch e-commerce platform for more than six years now. How important is having the right e-commerce platform to a business? The e-commerce solution is vital and the Touch platform has been evolved, with input from ourselves, to give a very powerful and flexible solution, which is radically different and improved from when we started six years ago. I don’t think anyone envisaged it would handle so many aspects of our business at the outset and we look forward to continuing to work together to enhance it even further. Is it a constant struggle to retain good search engine ranking? Absolutely and this is often misunderstood by new businesses as they start. It is now a very complex task that we developed covering many aspects of our communication and product listings, but the great news is that some of these, through our experience, are now built into the latest version of Touch.

How has the look of your online store evolved since the beginning? Very much so, I only wish I kept more original screen shots over the years to properly see all the changes that we made! We had a very early presence on the web, with our first web site going up in 1995. During these years both the web technology, knowledge and how people use the web has changed and we are always keen to try and ensure we offer the best experience for our customers and use the best technology for the web site design and operation. Thankfully this vision is shared and supported in the Touch solution. Is fraud an issue and how do you tackle it? Online fraud is a serious problem and should form an important part of your web site strategy. There are various techniques and control you can use to help with this, but the fraudsters also get more sophisticated in what they can achieve. We certainly still manually check higher value orders as they are processed and my team has become very experienced in what to look for to try and spot and prevent the fraud. What one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to set-up an e-commerce store? Initial research is of course vital, you might love the products and perhaps they sell well in a retail store, but be impartial as you decide if they will sell online. Check out the competition online and if there are already very strong and experienced competition online then whilst this should perhaps not deter you completely, it should make you consider the best approach to try and differentiate your offer. Attracting customers however has got harder and I think it is very important not to expect too much unless you put a lot of work into it. If you have a retail site and it is on a high street then

you already have a footfall of customers that you can attract into your shop. Think of your web site being on top of a hill or in a remote part of town, you need to make it easier for people to find you and encourage them to come back and bring others, then you will begin to see success through your efforts. The Touch e-commerce solution has been developed to help you create a professional site with simple means to get products listed, so this is a great starting point, but e-commerce has to become an integral part of your marketing if you wish to attract visitors to your site. Also ensure to keep the ones you get as you start, with emails, offers and social contact. It is a long, but hopefully rewarding journey. For more info on Touch, visit

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How to set up an e-commerce business I’ll get straight to the answer... Planning. Guidance. Solution.


hose first few tentative steps along the path of trading online can seem like a daunting prospect and with so many companies offering own web site solutions then knowing which way to go can just make you go round in circles. And cost a fortune in the process by selecting the wrong company with little hope of a return on investment. If you have been trading in a shop and now want to open your doors to the online shopper then the key components you need to understand can be broken down into three main areas. Identify with those three areas, understand them inside and out and then the right solution will become evident. Going online will certainly open your products or services to a larger customer base but do you know how to correctly reach your target audience. Take some time to identify which groups of internet shoppers you are trying to reach and if you say “all” then your marketing budget

is never going to be big enough so think strategically. Think about gender, think about age groups and think about how those consumers may already be trying to purchase products from your competitors already. Next, think about how you may differentiate your company from others online and are you wanting to sell a product cheaper than anyone else or are you wanting to retain customer loyalty by having better customer service experience which people reward more than price sometimes. Research your competitors both in terms of how brands are portrayed online, how they carry out marketing (such as online marketing) and what product information they give the user. You may be able to come in cheaper on price than a competitor but if that competitor provides a potential customer with more product information in the form of additional images, longer descriptions, videos and reviews then the decision to go with a company that portrays that content in

e-commerce web sites from £99 per month The

Touch solution offers:

*An easy way to manage products yourself *Invoice management *SEO built into web site *Continued support *Expert advice

Visit or call us on 01202 798 321

a more comprehensive and professional way could take a sale away from you. Consumers can be fickle. So once you have identified your audience and your competitors then the next step is guidance. There are many areas of e-commerce that as a new online trader you may be unaware of. From the regulations that covers the distance selling act to the best methods of delivery networks. This type of knowledge can only be acquired through years of working closely in the industry but it is this knowledge that will stop you from making the wrong decision. Having a company that understands the procedures and who can guide you through to setting up your online presence will save you copious amounts of time. You may read of “Get Rich Online Quick” schemes online and “How to get to the top of Google listing within 7 days” but in all honesty, there is a structured way to setting up an online company and no quick fixes exist to make you a million on day one. As with a shop premise then an online shop needs time and committed resources. As an e-commerce consultancy and provider of e-commerce solutions we at Online Retailing believe in working closely with all our clients day in and day out whether that be on the telephone or meeting up early morning in a coffee shop before trade begins to discuss ways to continue improving aspects of the web site. This guidance is the key to success. Not a book. And so we come onto the heart of setting up an e-commerce store. The Solution. By “solution” we mean the driving force behind your e-commerce store. This is the software that you will be using on a day to day basis for managing your online store, dealing with orders, updating stock levels and organising returns perhaps. This side of running an e-commerce business is more important than any other facet of an e-commerce store including the web site. It is the way you maintain product information and process orders in a structured and efficient manner as well as the ways it can deal with online marketing that is the key to success. Looking for the right e-commerce solution, you are often faced with web design agencies who provide e-commerce


as one of their many services. In fact many of these web agencies claim they are “full service digital agencies” but be wary as this often means they try to be “jack of all trades” without any focus on one particular aspect of being online. Looking for a solution often means one of two directions. You either go down the route of selecting an “off the shelf” solution such as WordPress or Magento that you will set up yourself. These solutions certainly provide a good level of functionality but without two key aspects of running an e-commerce business. They come without the guidance and constant support of running a store and they come without the skills to further develop your store. They are in essence “DIY” solutions that may be suitable for a person with

a keen interest in web development but we find are not viable solutions for the retailer who may grow quickly and need the solution tailored to their needs. Secondly you have a software solution that is maintained and supported by a dedicated e-commerce agency. This means you have people you can call when you have a question or run into difficulty. You have a solution that you know is working for you because it is tailored to meet your needs. When it comes to choosing an e-commerce solution then choosing the solution goes hand in hand with choosing a company to work with as you will be building up a close working relationship. Here at Online Retailing we specialise

in getting companies trading online efficiently and effectively. We are committed and focused solely on e-commerce through our consultancy and through the e-commerce software system “Touch”. The Touch e-commerce software system can be tailored to meet the needs of each retailer with new features constantly being developed. For more information on all aspects of setting up an e-commerce business, visit: or call us on 01202 798 321.

E-commerce in numbers 46%

of people buy clothes and sporting goods online.


UK’s Internet economy to grow at 11% for next 4 years.


of Christmas 2012 sales made through smartphone


of John Lewis orders are for collection in store.


Google still accounts for over 90% of searches.


of shoppers research online before buying in stores.

Quick guide to delivery


f there is one aspect of setting up an e-commerce store that is vitally important to its success then it is delivery. The cost of delivery and the methods of delivery can make or break an online sale. If a customer is confronted with two online companies offering the same item at the same price then the overriding factor of which company to chose is often the cost and speed of delivery. When it comes to delivery then there are two ways to get a product to the customer: Royal Mail 24/48 or courier. Depending on the cost and weight of

the items to be sold will determine the type of service you should provide.

There is also a maximum size of 610mm x 460mm x 460mm.

Courier: The other method of delivery is to use a courier such as Interlink Express. The price of a couriered parcel is determined by the size and weight of the item but unlike Royal Mail you are provided with a guarantee of delivery timescales, less restrictions on sizes of parcels and in the case of Interlink Express a text message is sent to the customer with a delivery slot narrowed down to just one hour.

Royal Mail is certainly an option if you want to offer low cost or free postage options. Delivery timescales are not guaranteed though unless you pay for Special Delivery and tracking does not come as standard.

For a small retailer setting up shop for the first time online then Royal Mail is certainly the first step to take and once orders build up then the move to a more robust delivery service such as Interlink Express should be considered.

Royal Mail: Royal Mail 24/48 offer a letter, large letter and packet service where packets can weigh up to 20kg for the 24 hour service (1st Class) but only 2kg for 48 hours service (2nd class).


A guide to Touch Part 1 - Adding a product


he e-commerce solution Touch, available from Online Retailing, guides you through the process of adding a product on to your web site quickly and effortlessly. By following the step by step guide you are prompted to fill in the relevant product information which will then automatically create the product page on your web site in a matter of seconds.

To request a demonstration of the Touch system then please visit or call 01202 798 321.


Step 1 of 6 - Select the type of product to be added

Step 2 of 6 - Enter product details

Step 3 of 6 - Type in product description

Step 4 of 6 - Enter pricing information

Step 5 of 6 - Easily upload images

Step 6 of 6 - Easily attach product documents

30 second case study


astle Cameras is an independent retailer, with branches in Winton (Bournemouth) and Salisbury. It has been trading on the high street for 39 years, online for 14 years and has maintained customer loyalty throughout the transition of analogue to digital cameras because of the customer service they can provide in store. 12% of orders now come from online sales with online competitors not having any negative impact on the shop footfall. Brain Callow, owner, says, “The key is to maintain a close working relationship with your e-commerce agency” and can see a bright future of being able to maintain both a high street and online presence.

Q&A If you have a question for our e-commerce experts, send it to: questions@ with ‘Q&A’ in the subject line. If your enquiry is urgent, call us on 01202 798321. Relevant questions will be picked to be published in the next edition of OR. Someone else has already registered the domain name of our company. Can we get it back? Not easily I’m afraid. Even if your company name is trademarked then this does not automatically entitle you to the domain name. If you think you have a legal case then you can open a dispute with Nominet UK who look after the domain names. Other than that then you only have two options. Firstly approach the other company and see if they would sell the name to you or look to have a domain name that says what you do instead. This will help with being

found in search engines as well as people are more likely to type in words to find you than typing in your company name directly. We want to sell online but not provide customers with our home address for returns or postal enquiries. What can we do? The simplest way is to register for a PO Box address through Royal Mail. This will cost about £200 per year to rent and you collect any post yourself from your nearest sorting office. Just bear in mind that all parcels to the PO Box address must be sent via Royal Mail as couriered items from third party companies cannot be left. Where can we buy customer email addresses from for an email campaign? If the list is to contain private individuals then to buy such email lists if the recipients have not “opted in” is against the law. The EU directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations came into UK law in December 2003 which states that you cannot contact private individuals without their prior consent. Therefore you must obtain a list of email addresses through other means such as e-newsletter subscription facilities on your web site, through previously selling to that person or perhaps setting up a competition where an email address is used to enter. Mass mailing individuals though is often not the best use of email marketing and much more targeted marketing may be better.

We have been selling online nearly six months now but sales are slow. What can we do? There are many reasons why this may be the case but the important first step is to look at what resources do you allocate to online selling compared to in store selling. Running a successful online store takes as much focus as it does to sell in store in terms of product management, pricing updates and the key factor marketing. So as a quick help guide look at whether you are allocating enough time to optimising your web site so it ranks well in search engines such as Google. Are your prices competitive and reflect the price your competitors sell at? Do your postage charges have a negative effect on sales? And are you promoting your products in a search engine friendly way such as having unique content with no duplication of wording from other product pages. Should we take our own product images or use manufacturers? We would always recommend spending time taking your own photos of products if you have the right equipment. Differentiating yourselves online is important and the product photo is one of the first things a user will see when searching online. You will also find that it is beneficial in terms of search engines as your photo will be indexed independently of the generic photos meaning more web traffic.


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We help independent retailers succeed online.

E-commerce consultancy, web sites, expert advice and continued support.

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Online Retailing Edition 1  
Online Retailing Edition 1  

Online Retailing are an e-commerce agency based in Bournemouth providing consultancy and the Touch e-commerce platform.