It's not!

One of the common misconceptions I come across from garment decorators is that they class a 'website' order as an order if the customer pays for it online. This is perceived as somehow different to somebody who finds you online and picks up the phone or emails, or visits your store to give you an enquiry or place an order.

It's all about choice for customers. 

If you've got an 'all singing, all dancing' website where customers are comfortable placing an order for their embroidered or printed clothing online, then great. Lots of them will and you should definitely make that option available to them. 

But if they give you an enquiry and you win the order by any other means then put that in your 'website orders' folder as well. 

A commercial website (brochure or e-commerce) is a sales tool first and foremost.

Make sure it looks professional, promotes trust and reflects the brand and values of your business, and of course sells something. Your homepage especially needs to do this, but equally important, it must be flexible enough for you to easily update with your latest offers, promotions, best-selling products, content, social media campaigns and so on.

Try looking objectively at your homepage, if you're not happy with it then it's unlikely your potential customers will be. If you want an idea of just how critical this stuff is online, I found this article 'a real eye opener': http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223150

Focus on marketing, your businesses biggest potential income generator. 

When all that hard work and effort you have put in to promoting your new or existing website starts to pay off and the orders, customers emails and phone-calls are coming in, whatever you do, don't send them back to the place they just came from (your website) to try again, 'cause they'll go somewhere else!

Making sure your website gives the best customer experience possible, and when you get to that dream position of how to handle all the orders then look at the rest of the stuff.

When is a Website Not a Website?

If you want a website that books the job in, does the proofing for you, creates the delivery note, sends the invoice, collects the payments and even makes the tea. That's not a 'website'! 

There's plenty of software out there that'll handle all that (maybe not the tea) and will serve you well. You can get it built specifically or integrate it with your website. We meet lots of people in our industry who tell us about how much time they spend on this kind of stuff, trying to do it themselves, trying to figure out how these systems work, attempting to upload a zillion products, worrying about whether they need to add more widgets or features to make it better for them. 

What about the customer? 

Excercise caution if you find something that promises to do it all in one, that's a tall order to be all things to all 'platforms'. 

What if you want to change your website? 

You shouldn't have to change your order processing system. What if you want to update your brand and improve your marketing or get a swanky new responsive website, you shouldn't have to change your proofing system or accounts package.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that this stuff isn't important, it is! But they are not the same and none of it will win you any business...

One last thought... 

Try setting up a new site from a website design company online, fully branded for your business to sell your embroidered or printed clothing. It will cost £10k+ and take months of planning and consideration.

For a sensible solution that helps businesses actually generates income get in touch on info@etraderwebsites.co.uk or call 029 2074 1663

We will happily chat to you and see if we can possibly help grow your business and its online presence.

Collaboration tools are used by Marketing departments to manage both the businesses workload and its time. 

These tools allow you to share projects, ideas, news and communicate with other members of your team all within one common space.


In this blog we will look at some of the best collaboration tools available and how they can help your print & embroidery business. Here are some of the best examples:

Trello

This allows users to organise work as well as generate ideas. Simple to use, visually pleasing and ideal for growing ideas Trello is an easy to manage and maintain project management tool for SMEs.

Slack

One of the most recognised communication programmes Slack makes communicating to your team simple. Slack integrates with Dropbox, Salesforce and many more pieces of software and allows users to share files, ideas and conversations all in one place.

Join.me

Like GoToMeeting this allows users to set up meetings remotely wherever they are working and on any device. But Join.me also allows users to collaborate and share ideas with a whiteboard feature which can be used communally.

Asana

An all in one project management tool Asana is ideal tool to streamline your business. The software allows users to track, organise and manage work in one place. Focusing on productivity, Asana also can set up to do lists, targets, summaries and set reminders for any ongoing projects plus offering handy integrations with the previously mentioned Slack, Dropbox and many other integrations.

Ryver

This web-based app is identical to Slack in that it provides an easy way for your team to communicate and share files. Different teams with different viewing permissions can also be set up so users only see what is relevant to their project or role but what makes it stand out is it is in fact FREE of charge to sign up and use. Of course, it’s a Lite version and has it limitations but offers customers a cos- effective way to increase productivity.

ProWorkflow

Available both on the web and through a smartphone/tablet ProWorkflow offers flexibility and versatility in its software which makes it popular across many industries. Task management, time sheets, alerts are available alongside sharing and communicating tools for colleagues. What separates this from others is the interface is that it offers resource management as well as managing the workflows users plus it offers a GANT chart type display looking at project progress to ensure users hit any deadlines.

In Summary...

While there are lots of pieces of software out there, the majority offer free trials and live demonstrations which outline how they can be used alongside your business. 

Before you make any decisions, do your research, take your time and arrange for some of these to see which collaboration programme works best for your budget, its requirement and its specification.

Taking your garment decoration business online is now more important than ever before for your business. A large proportion of garment decorators are traditionalists in nature focusing purely on their love of print & embroidery, relying on word of mouth and repeat orders for success with little regard for their online success.

But now with the growth of online businesses, consumers have more options than ever before online and are not afraid to shop around. Customers are looking for alternatives, convenience and importantly the best prices! The million dollar question is where on earth do I begin?

There are a number of options out there to help take your business online, it is all about picking the right option for your business, your target customer base and lastly your budget - you don’t need to throw your hard earned cash at going online!  

You want your online business to be a reflection of you, your personality and become an extension of your in-store business. Starting out it sounds daunting but it is manageable if you simplify it.

Keeping it simple

Start off small, unless your tech savvy focus on the basics. Your garment decoration businesses site needs to look professional, smart, modern and not like something put together in a slap-dash manner. Give your customers a high quality user experience, a site that is easy to use, one that communicates your businesses key selling points and promotes your core products/services.

Importantly, your site should be something that you are comfortable using… you need to be able to understand, your site & what it offers. For example, you can offer online buying, but do you know how it works behind the scenes? E-Commerce is a whole different world in itself, so do your research, seek advice and familiarise yourself before dipping your toes into the online pool.


What options are available?

There are a host of options out there and different routes – but it all boils down to your budget & what you want from going online. If you merely want an online presence then a simple site should do the trick something visually pleasing, basic, and cost effective but limited functionality.

But if you are serious about the online game, there are businesses out there that offer online web solutions specific to the industry (ourselves included!) These solutions are geared towards garment decorators who know what they are after and willing to invest a little in online success.

To sell or not to sell?

There are a number of brochure sites (sites that don’t sell online) & e-commerce options available, just do your research, visit trade shows, have live demos and get to know the options before making the best informed choice for your business. 

Brochure sites are a low cost way of getting an entry level site for your business online, you can create these yourself using various software Shopify, WordPress etc. Creating these can be time-consuming but often a money saver, the downfall of these is they often look homemade and you get what you pay for. For a more professional alternative, there are businesses out there like ourselves offering both brochure & e-commerce sites for garment decorators. 

E-Commerce gives businesses the chance to sell online but if often a mine-field, there are a number of options out there for your business to consider, Sagepay, Paypal, Stripe and many more, picking the right package is important for your business, check out their offerings, transaction rates and make sure it all adds up.

It is all about picking a site that works for you & your business and that you are comfortable with. Simply do your research and understand what your options are.

One last thought

You are running a business, do you have time to manage a site? Or create one from scratch? There are options out there for your business, your site can be managed for you by the ‘experts’ so you just sit back, relax and take care of the orders!

Want help or don't know where to begin?

Find out how we help garment decorators with their websites. Our team can offer expert advise and arrange a consultation for your business.

We also run an online demo highlight how we can help, to book yours email info@etraderwebsites.co.uk or call 029 2074 1663