Keeping the bell on the door
I should perhaps explain. Rickshaw came about from a lifelong desire to have my own shop with a bell on the door. Whether this stemmed from memories of spending happy hours in my Grandma's shop (which had such a bell); the boredom of years of typing numbers into a computer for the family business; the whimsy of my midlife crisis - or a combination of all of the above - I can honestly say that my little shop on The Shambles in Malton and the endlessly fascinating people that pass through it, truly make my heart happy. But I approached this as I approach most things in life - all ideas and enthusiasm, and very little knowledge!
So here we are in January, after the heady mayhem of Christmas trade, in the almost inevitable post-Christmas-credit-card-bill slump of the small gift shop. It is now more than ever that we small business owners wait in eager anticipation for the 'pling' of an online order on our phones...but these too seem few and far between. Browsing Facebook in a quiet moment, up pops a video from marketing guru @ChrisCardellUK whose first comment is "Does your website pass the 8 second test?" Answer: no. It does not. I set up my website over 2 years ago when I opened the shop, and to my shame have never really revisited the design (or tried to use it on a mobile phone!). What I hope to provide is the customer service of a small shop with the convenience of an online store. Feedback from existing customers has been great, but it comes down to the eternal question of how, in the biggest marketplace on the planet, can entice people to come and browse what I have on offer?
Listening to one who knows about these things, I realise I have managed to include all the cardinal errors in my website: too many words, not enough pictures, too many steps to actually find anything! So here goes. I'm testing out a new design for 2020 and would really value your feedback. I never set out to be an online seller, but these days we have to do what we can to keep the bell on the door.
- Mo MacLeod