To be or not to be.. Online?
June 30th 2020
Todays entry is going to be a slight deviation from the traditional news and information found on our other posts. I wanted to incorporate some technology and bring the conversation (unusually) to the 21st century and try to answer the question, how important is an online presence?
Upon first thoughts the answer is simple, at Jacksons Antique we simply couldn’t function without it. Our whole business plan revolves around the ability make our objects available to the whole world and in doing so we open the door for buyers and sellers alike. However the answer isn’t really that simple because depending on who you ask you will more than likely get two different opinions, opinions which are very strong indeed.
Firstly you will find that in the antiques trade the internet can been seen to be an extreme source of antagonism and frustration. As the saying goes ‘knowledge is power’ and with that in mind if you apply that to our trade it couldn’t be more true. However, if you have amassed years of experience learning by feel, touch, mistakes and losses buying from dealers and auctions while travelling the country. Before the age of the internet this knowledge couldn’t be found anywhere collectively other than studying books and, we are not talking the local news paper. Books that can cost upwards of £1000 that are specialised to a specific category or piece. When you then throw into the mix the world wide web and platforms such as google which allow you to research something you knew nothing about, to then find answers within 5 minutes that include previous sales, sold prices and history you soon realise that a lot of the ‘old fashioned’ antique dealers are anti technology and anti internet. I think with this in mind it is fair to say that everyone could find some snags with technology that we would be better off without. Its also very important to say that just because you can google and find a certain object, it doesn’t mean that yours is the same quality, price or even old and that is where experience over rules the internet. This is where the OG’s (originals/old school) of the antiques trade win out, because their knowledge and experience with items wins over what can be researched and found through online platforms. They have built a strong web of contacts and clients which gives them the upper hand when purchasing and selling objects.
The second opinion, which is arguably the vast majority, is that technology and the internet has revolutionised the world we live in for the better. To be able to market your object online with photos, videos and descriptions and put a price on that can be viewed from the other side of the world is a game changer. Such a game changer that it has given dealers endless possibilities and a customer base that is unlimited. Here at Jacksons Antique we are local to Grantham Town in Lincolnshire, UK and it’s fair to say that we are centrally located in the country and have good access routes however, without the internet most people wouldn’t know we exist. We don’t operate with a high street shop or warehouse open to the public and we don’t stand many trade fairs. With that in mind without the internet our business would certainly be different or even non-existent! There are many positives to running this way and some of these include having extremely low expenses/costs.
This brings me onto the original order of business, how important is an internet presence?
Well hopefully from above you can see both sides of the story and combining the positives it perhaps gives you an understanding of where we are going to go with the answer. Experience with a combined understanding of technology is a must, in our opinion an online presence is unmistakably our most important tool. With the world at our fingertips we can advertise, research, expand knowledge, reach customers from far and wide and set up an online space dedicated to our own individual business. All of this and more at the fraction of the cost of owning or renting space to house your business.
To be reach out to customers without having to leave the office is an excellent way to promote your brand and with the correct marketing tools the job is made a lot easier. Take our site for example, jacksonsantique.co.uk (.com) when googled it shows our extensive footprint including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and etsy. Available to everyone online all it takes is for one person to enter a search and suddenly an item which is in your own stock is right in font of them available to purchase. They maybe haven’t even got out of bed yet and they are spending money! Warren Buffet once said “if you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” Personally I like to shuffle that around, “if you have a business that is able to make money while you sleep, you are two times more likely to sustain a business.” If you have a business that is able to take money while you sleep you can confidently say that you are squeezing as much productivity as possible out of your business. That is why an online presence is so important and what is even more impressive is that 90% of platforms are free to use and free to post on, that is free advertisement and another tick box for your overall expenses!
One small bit of advice (and I’m probably starting to loose you at this point!) Anyone starting a business online or anyone wanting to expand their online presence, it takes time, an unknown quantity of time and I cannot state that enough. Genuine followers and clients cannot be bought, persuaded or borrowed no matter what DM’s, emails and comments you receive, they will find their own way to you! While this can be frustrating initially, followers will turn up and with the right information people will take notice. The three P’s; persistence, patients and practice are the key and it will open a world of business that would not be possible without being online.
As this entry comes to a close please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or queries, we would be delighted to share our experiences! Lastly (I know sorry we cant help it) one quick plug for our friend and associate Nick over at FCS websites, without his expertise this online venture would not have been possible. Head over to his site fcswebsites.co.uk for all your web building needs and don’t forget to mention us when you head across!