www.images-magazine.com SEPTEMBER 2020 images 27 BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT mobile user experience is critical for your ecommerce website to be a success. ■ Only get the necessary customer information Customers want a quick, simple checkout journey. Do not get bogged down with trying to capture as much data as possible for marketing purposes. Focus on the essentials: capture the billing address, delivery address and payment details. Keep it short and sweet for customers, do not create hurdles! ■ Use a readable table-based layout Display your basket in a table form to make it clear and easy for your customers to read and review. ■ Ensure your customers’ information is secure Keep your customers’ vital information and data secure. To ensure your customers feel safe using your ‘secure’ website, all you need is an SSL certificate from your domain provider. T he demand for garment decorators to offer ecommerce as part of their online offering has been continuing to grow year on year and now, thanks to the pandemic, is seen as being fairly essential to the survival of many businesses. With more customers than ever before flocking online to buy their goods, the need for a slick, easy-to-use shopping basket and cart is hugely important. If you are using a platform such as WordPress, Shopify or Magento, it should include a pre-built shopping cart that is simple, intuitive, and works effectively. There are a number of different things to consider when creating your checkout: ■ Include an order summary An obvious one, but let your user know exactly what they are going to order. Give customers a concise breakdown and add all the attributes (colours, sizes and and quantities, for example) and provide a summary prior to placing their order to make sure they are not in for any surprises. ■ Add chat facilities Add a live chat to your basket page to ensure any queries are resolved before the customer places the order. ■ Make the checkout mobile-friendly Ensure the basket and checkout are compatible on mobile devices and tablets. With over 50% of online traffic now coming from portable devices, Ecommerce checkout best practice Andrew Langridge is from ETrader, one of the industry’s leading suppliers of websites to garment decorators across the UK. www.etraderwebsites.co.uk Y our garment decoration business relies on a number of operating assets, such as buildings, equipment and computers. If some of them malfunction – for example, your screen print press breaks down – your business is likely to grind to a halt. This is why the maintenance person, whether a third party or an employee or even you, has an important role to play, which is to keep the workplace operating efficiently and safely by inspecting, testing, servicing, repairing and replacing. The role is carried out in three main ways: by conducting preventative maintenance (ie scheduled or routine maintenance), emergency maintenance, and cosmetic maintenance. Preventative maintenance forestalls breakdowns and keeps the income- producing assets in good operating condition – which is a sensible management practice. Emergency maintenance is required when a malfunctioning asset threatens to cause costly damage or impede operations. A good example of this happened at my business late one winter’s night in Calgary, when the outside temperature was -35°C. When momentarily opening the loading dock’s big overhead door, a spring snapped and the door jammed. Cold air began swirling into the warehouse packed with expensive, freeze-sensitive emulsions. Fortunately for us, the 24-hour emergency door-maintenance service responded quickly. Equipment failures like these happen in spite of routine maintenance programmes. The lesson: keep the emergency number of a reliable maintenance person for each operating asset handy where everyone can find it. Stocking certain critical parts or ensuring that the maintenance person can quickly access them will also help to minimise the impact of an incident. Cosmetic maintenance is probably the least important of the maintenance types a small business needs, but don’t Maintenance technician: an understated role be tempted to overlook it. Cracked windows, peeling paint and faded signs give a bad impression and undermine your business. Most small businesses are unlikely to have a full-time maintenance person. More likely, they rely on a list of third- party maintenance people, each a specialist in a particular field. An absence of full-time maintenance people, however, doesn’t mean an absence of maintenance awareness. All employees must understand that any unusual behaviour or noise in the assets they use to perform their jobs is a maintenance red flag. Manage maintenance properly and it will contribute to the making of your business; mismanage it and it could well do the opposite. Michael Best is a print industry veteran, accountant and author of Characters Who Can Make Or Break Your Small Business . Through 39 characters, Michael covers all aspects most small business owners can expect to encounter in the life of a business from inception to disposition. It is available from Amazon and www.smallbusinesscharacters.com .