Farm shops are becoming increasingly popular with the British public. While supermarkets still dominate the retail sector, more and more people are opting to buy produce from small independent stores. Indeed, with controversies like the horsemeat scandal of early 2013 rocking consumer’s confidence in the major retailers, the thought of buying fresh, traceable food that is locally sourced is all the more appealing.
One way in which a farm shop can take itself to the next level is by establishing a good online presence. While you might not think small local stores like this need to branch out onto the web, the truth is the UK is become more digitally-focused with each passing year and any business that doesn’t jump aboard the online bandwagon risks being left behind.
One of the biggest advantages of having a web presence is that it exposes your business to a huge potential target market. According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics in May, 86 per cent of the population – which is roughly 54 million people – have now been online and this number will only increase over the next few years.
Being on the net allows customers to find out about your shop at any time and in any location and when it comes to mass market exposure, there is nothing better than the internet. Having a website is a great way to sell your business and convince people from the local area and beyond to pay you a visit.
Being online isn’t only useful for advertising, it’s possible to operate via the web as well. Internet shopping is the future and an increasing number of Brits are choosing to purchase items on the net, be it food, clothing, electronics or any other type of goods.
In April, a survey by broadband comparison site broadbandchoices.co.uk revealed over a third (36 per cent) of people now do most of their shopping online and again this is a trend that is only likely to grow in the future. While visiting a farm shop will always be part of its appeal, investing in e-commerce is a great way to expand the business.
Having a web presence is an excellent way of generating more custom, but it’s also very handy for networking and making useful contacts. The internet is a quick and efficient way to deal with suppliers and makes it a lot easier for potential contacts to find out about you and get in touch.
Social media can be useful as well. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are the latest trend in the business world and being active on these websites is a great way to engage with both customers and other businesses.
Of course, to make the most of the opportunities provided by the web a fast and reliable connection is required. You might not think this is possible, as most farm shops are based in the countryside and the quality of connections in rural area is often poor.
However, that no longer needs to be the case, as satellite broadband can bring high-speed internet to even the most remote locations. The beauty of this technology is that it only requires the installation of one small satellite dish and a modem to connect to the web. There is no need for the time-consuming infrastructural developments that have stifled internet access in the countryside for years.
Contact Avonline Broadband to find out more about how satellite technology can improve rural broadband.