More and more businesses are turning to the online market place to find their customers and here’s how.
2015 saw US e-commerce grow by 14.6% and generate a whopping $341.7 billion worth of sales in the process. The outlook is for continued growth in this sector as businesses tighten their belts and move out of the brick and mortar game wherever possible. Projections show that by 2018, the US e-commerce market will be worth upwards of $500 billion. These are compelling reasons to evaluate whether a similar strategy may be beneficial for your business. Before moving into e-commerce or to learn more about what’s involved, review the following tips to get started the right way.
Get your ducks in a row
Don’t make the mistake of launching your e-commerce business before you are fully ready. Don’t force it as you only get one shot at your launch, so make sure every aspect is prepared and ready. Have your website finished and optimized with your SEO, content marketing, social media and paid advertising campaigns under way. Make sure you know your target audience and have tailored everything you can towards them. Hitting the ground running is the best way to make your e-commerce business successful.
Focus on your target audience
Take a good long look at your market and make sure your product and brand are suited to them. Offer the best prices you can, include free shipping, keep the checkout process simple and make navigating your website easy. One of the major complaints coming from online shoppers is the inability to physically handle any product before making a purchase, so including a no hassle return and refund policy will greatly influence your conversions.
Know that everything works properly
Analytics data and testing are your best friends when it comes to running a smooth, efficient e-commerce business. Put yourself in the customers’ shoes and go through every conceivable aspect of your business and look for ways to make things more efficient or better for buyers. Are you lacking certain information? Is the shopping cart behaving properly? Does the sign up script work? Test your site and then test again to ensure flawless performance.
Leverage social media platforms
It’s no secret that your customers are using social media on a daily basis. Social media is the single most important marketing factor that your business has. You are able to closely interact with your target audience, get tons of analytical information in the process and have the ability to advertise your brand where your message will be heard. A social media campaign is a very specialized process so I won’t go into detail about it here, but just know you NEED one to be successful.
Encourage customer feedback
Make sure that your buyers are able to leave feedback and reviews about their experiences shopping with you. One of the best sales drivers is a positive review as it builds trust with your shoppers. Review or feedback forms allow you to build valuable trust as well as recognize if something isn’t right. No guessing if your customers are happy, you get the info straight from the horses’ mouth.
Be mobile friendly
Consumers are browsing online via their mobile devices all the time. If your business isn’t available to them on mobile then you’ll miss out on lots of sales. Consumer spending through mobile devices is projected to top $600 billion in the US alone by 2018. Your business risks missing out on some serious sales volume and could even be irrelevant in a few years without mobile friendly ecommerce.
Collect as much data and knowledge as you can
An e-commerce business is a gold mine for consumer information that can be used to improve your business or be applied to other business ventures, now or in the future. Leverage your social media accounts in the same way by keeping track of what your audience does in relation to your business. You will find all sorts of clever niches or ways of improving sales just by paying attention.
Don’t forget about SEO
SEO will help your business get seen in online search engines when people look to buy products like the ones you sell. Even once you have a first page rank, your SEO project isn’t complete. There are more and more competitors joining the market or wising up and beginning their own SEO campaigns that you need to stay a step ahead. SEO is a continual and often maintenance based practice that extends into the long term.
Don’t stand still: EVER
As technology changes and trends come and go, your business must continually adapt to incorporate the next big thing. Success is a continual process; so don’t be afraid to reinvent your brand or at least the way you do business if there is a reason to do so.
Taking your e-commerce business and making it successful requires a lot of work and knowledge, so hopefully these tips have shed some light on a few things that need your focus. The sales volume is out there for your business to tap into so make your plan and go get it.