The global pandemic COVID has shut down the high street and businesses across the UK & Ireland. With a return to work being slowly phased and uncertainty ahead, the online garment decoration industry is not going to be the same again.

Footfall in retail premises will decrease rapidly to the point of being non-existent, customers are looking to be safe and secure in their shopping. Taking your business online gives customers the comfort blank of being able to order their workwear, printed & embroidered from the comfort of their home and so on.

The problem is intensified for those who provide school uniforms, customers will not be able to just pop in-store, try on items and takeaway their uniforms the same day. An ecommerce website is especially pivotal for those who rely on the school uniform rush to build up cashflow.

The demand for creating a website that can take online orders recently has taken off with solutions (such as the one we offer!) providing a popular choice among garment decorators. 

There are pros and cons when it comes to using a solution. Bear in mind they are built for the industry and will cover most bases but maybe not tick 100% of the boxes you want, there is a bit of compromise to be had. But the time, money and resources that can be saved using an ecommerce solution is invaluable.


To get your business thriving online in the post-COVID era we have put together some advice to help you achieve success with an ecommerce website.

Ensure the website layout is mobile & tablet friendly: An almost essential for a website which is still overlooked by many. Your website needs to look great on both a desktop PC/laptop and a mobile & tablet. Customers shopping from home are looking for a crisp, easy user experience to buy their goods online.

Mirror how you work in-store online: Make sure users know all about your knowledge & expertise. Customers previously would have potentially visited your store to find out about your products, service, and branding methods. With this being limited ensure this can be found online to put their minds at ease and help with any queries.

Communicate with your customers through the website: A simple point inexplicably overlooked, provide clear call to actions (CTAs) for customers. Make it easy for them to reach out to you, this can also be through the use of chat bots and live chat facilities.

Set up designated areas for your customers: There will be exiting customers – schools, clubs, businesses who will want to re-order. Provide them their very own shop facility to make their repeat orders simple.

Keep products & prices up to date: This is a mammoth task, but one that needs to be considered. Products are continuously dis-continued and added from suppliers with prices often changing. There are website solutions from wholesalers that manage this aspect but are extremely limited and tie you in to using their products offering no choices or flexibility. Create a website selling the products you want at the prices you want.

Keep your website safe & secure: Customer information needs to be safe & secure and since the introduction of GDPR this is under more scrutiny than ever before. Your website needs an SSL certificate to appear safe in your customers browsers. If it does not have one it will display an error and give your customers a poor user experience or cast doubt in their mind.

Taking payments online: Something not many consider when looking for an ecommerce website, you need a secure payment processor and checkout plus in most cases a merchant account. There is often a monthly cost to these services from banks & payment providers.

Lastly, consider the costs of building an ecommerce website. The garment decoration industry is unique and to build a solution from scratch with products and branding options is complex and expensive. An ecommerce solution may not tick every box a bespoke website does, but it will save you £1000s in development and increase your businesses sales post COVID.

For more information or to book an online demo to see how we could help your print & embroidery business with its website email info@etraderwebsites.co.uk or call 029 2074 1663

Covid-19 has had a profound effect on the UK nation as a whole with many industries coming to a grinding halt. The garment decoration industry has not seen anything quite like it and yes it is difficult to see business picking back up, but inevitably it will.

While it is a great challenge for businesses trying to survive the pandemic it also presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to reset, re-charge and prepare for what awaits once this is all over.

From a Marketing perspective it firstly provides a chance to evaluate, analyse and review your existing strategy. Identify what is working and conversely what is not working, areas you would like to target, areas that are not being targeting effectively and work out how to get the maximum return on your Marketing budget. Your purse strings going to be tighter than ever before squeeze every bit of value out of your Marketing and plan accordingly.

With in-store promotions and local advertising grinding to a complete halt this frees up some budget to potentially look at your business’s online strategy

With website traffic being minimal it is the ideal chance to assess your businesses website, review it, work on any maintenance, updates and ensure it is full optimised and ready to go for a ‘re-launch’ when the time comes. 

Similar with other Online Marketing tools, look at things like Sponsored Ads on Social Media, Google Adwords and identify if there is opportunity for your business. Plan a strategy, budget and build all the key words ready to go live to your audience once business is fully operational.

You might think all this sounds a bit costly. Where will the budget come from with cashflow being tight, it is a great opportunity for a bit of Marketing DIY. Grow your knowledge, skills and carry out the review and analysis. Plus there is also a chance to broaden your skillset and carry out these ideas yourself learning on the go, familiarising yourself with Social Media channels, or testing our different pieces of software for CRM, Email Campaigns, Social Media scheduling and so on.

It is an unprecedented time that presents many challenges but the optimistic business owner the freed up time is a great opportunity to look at your business, think of where it was, where it is now and think of where you want it to be in a year’s time. Use the time to develop your skills and your business, time wasted is time lost.

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.

You might think a chatbot is a new revolutionary Marketing tool, but this is not the case… they have actually existed for decades but only in recent times businesses have to exploit them and the opportunities that come with having an on-site bot.

A well optimized chatbot is a great way to boost conversion rates and generate more online leads and sales. Bots were initially built dominantly to deal with customer service, aimed at improving efficiency in resolving problems and queries from customers. But they have since developed further to become more Sales & Marketing based.

There are two main types of bots – the intelligent bot and the scripted one. The scripted uses pre-defined points and responds in an automated manner. Whereas the intelligent bot is continuously developing, analysing customer text and learning from conversation and experience using AI.


The development and growth of the chatbot is dominantly owed to Facebook who using their Messenger app allowed bots to be integrated into their platform. With over 4 billion users (as of September 2019) using their messenger app, the potential for businesses using bots is huge.

There are many benefits as to why you should use Chatbots for your online business including:

  • Chatbots have massive potential: In Marketing terms bots are still in their infancy. They will continue to develop and grow and will soon be at the forefront of most websites service efforts.
  • Chatbots are simple to build: There are many providers out there who make building bots easy and a simple drag and drop exercise. Of course, there is bespoke but with bots in their infancy now is the time to explore the cost-effective options available.
  • Chatbots help grow your brand image: A chatbot represents your business, its values and brand. It is a great way of brand building and helping convey a message as to what your business is all about.
  • Chatbots simplify customer service: They take out the human aspect of dealing with an enquiry, stripping it back to its simplest form and provide users short, concise, clear information leading to greater customer satisfaction.
  • Chatbots are actually cost effective: The cost of developing a chatbot is minimal compared to the cost of having someone dealing with online enquiries and issues. With the potential lead generation, they can also provide using AI, the bot become one of your most affordable sales tools. 

A social calendar is a great way for your business to improve your Online Marketing’s efficiency and work weeks and in some cases months in advance.

With businesses using so many Social Media platforms, it can be a bit of a daunting task to stay on top of it and plan accordingly. But don't be too put off, using a Social Media calendar allows you to plan and schedule campaigns for maximum impact, it will also help identify any gaps which may need plugging.

Managing your Social Media schedule also allows you to tailor your campaigns to certain times of year, focus on certain events and seasonality and maximise your inbound efforts.

To help plan your calendar, there are 100s of templates readily available online, but this can be done simply on Excel, Google Drive or anywhere you like. It is not just planning your content that is simple but scheduling it is also easy with Social Media management tools like Buffer, Hootsuite & Crowdfire.


Here are a few simple reasons why you might want to consider using a Social Media calendar:

Improve your online efficiency

Social Media calendars help you to avoid scrambling. Sit back & relax knowing you have heaps of content planned on your accounts. This will also free up time to focus on other aspects of your businesses Marketing strategy.

Plan for multiple platforms in one place

A calendar allows you to plan for individual platforms instead of the same post on every Social Media account. Craft different messages for different platforms to improve engagement. The most obvious one is LinkedIn; ensure you post more curated thought leadership content instead of a generic post.

Track, plan, monitor & manage your strategy

Calendars allow you to track, plan and monitor what is working, what is not working, and you can tweak it accordingly as you are going along.

Reach more people

Using a calendar helps you reach a wider audience, plan content around events & holidays. Using these in the posts will help you reach a wider audience than a standard post.

One last thought...

It is great for businesses to be efficient and ensure they are on top of their Social Media strategy but there is still room for spontaneity. 

For those things that you never know may pop up that may be relevant to your business, customers and trends you can engage with keep a balance between planned and real. Customers want a business with a personality not just post after post.