A SMALL Shetland marketing company is embarking on a major project aimed at promoting the benefits of e-commerce to the wider business community.
A year ago, the Shetland business directory Hameaboot at www.hameaboot.co.uk was created by brother and sister team, Andrew and Christena Irvine of CU Marketing Ltd.
Now, one year later, they have just added a ‘Shetland Shopping Search’ portal designed to help local producers and retailers “dipping their toe into the water” of e-commerce.
Managing director Christena Irvine said she hopes the new feature will convince more local companies to embrace the “power of the internet” and help them to realise the opportunities that could be created through the various forms of online advertising.
The portal offers businesses the opportunity to list however many items they would like to sell via the Hameaboot website or to link directly to their own e-commerce website.
Hameaboot as such is not an e-commerce site and does not handle any financial transactions.
Ms Irvine has also introduced the Hameaboot Weekly Deals feature where businesses can communicate via e-mail sales or special deals to a growing number of customers.
She said that as a marketing company her emphasis has always been on aiding small and local businesses and promoting the benefits of buying local.
She said she hoped Hameaboot would also become the portal of choice for the surprising amount of e-commerce sites already operated by local businesses.
As the chairperson of the local Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Ms Irvine said she was all too aware of the power of small enterprises but also of their vulnerability.
She said: “As both a small business and customers ourselves, we thought a facility which brings all of the businesses, services and products based in Shetland together, in a searchable format would be useful.
“We believe that shopping patterns have changed and that the majority of people browse online before they buy and would prefer to buy local if the price is right.”
All changes and additions to the Hameaboot website will also be communicated with the help of Facebook and Twitter to reach as many potential customers as possible.
So how does it work?
- Use the ‘add your organisation’ link and sign in once you have created an account;
- select ‘products’; read the information on the products function and follow the instructions to add your products;
- once a product is entered it will be shown under the Hameaboot Shopping tab in the appropriate category;
- if a product or business is clicked on more than most, it will be displayed on the first page of the ‘Shetland Shopping Search’ under popular products and/or popular businesses.
Ms Irvine added: “Your business will have its own URL on Hameaboot, which displays all of the products you have entered – thus making the page a virtual shop window for your business.”
There are further functions within the site where businesses can monitor how many people have looked at their products and where they can set a monthly budget.
CU Marketing will be charging 10 pence per click for the service, a fee that will increase to 15p per click on items over £500 in value, and 20p per click for anything above £1,000 but right now, all listings are free until 31st December 2011 so there is no reason not to try it out.
Listing your business on the Hameaboot directory pages is, of course, free of charge, and a great way to get some free publicity!
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