The ecommerce niche has seen some substantial growth and expansion in recent years, and this is a pattern that isn’t expected to fizzle out! If you’re an entrepreneur, then you’ve probably taken a keen interest in this young and promising niche. Various ecommerce platforms have popped up over the past few years, and these days it’s easier than ever for young, ambitious business people to kick start their operations. This has shown us countless innovative and stylish products which may have never seen the light otherwise. This train is rapidly picking up speed, and you’ll need to come into the ecommerce niche with the right mindset if you want to see a good return. Here’s some of the best proven advice for ecommerce success.
The first little bullet point I can give you is more of a warning. Whatever you do, don’t rush through the launch. With so many brands like Shopify allowing you to click a few buttons and then start selling your products, it’s pretty common for headstrong entrepreneurs to jump right into their ecommerce store, without really thinking anything through. As tempting as it may be and as great as your products are, do not start your business as a sudden, impulsive act. If you’re yearning for a little businessy excitement, then go ahead and purchase a domain name, and create a little “coming Soon” page. Aside from that though, leave it be. The launch needs to be backed up by some substantial marketing support, including SEO, social media, PPC and whatever else suits your needs. If you try to start trading without these kinds of auxiliaries, your business is liable to crash and burn right out of the gate.
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My next piece of advice is to make sure the user’s experience is put before anything else. While there are many great benefits to the ecommerce model, there’s one glaring hindrance that turns a lot of retail business owners off the idea. this shortcoming is that the customers aren’t able to see, smell and feel the products in person before they make a purchase. You also can’t provide them with a nice, cheery shop assistant to answer their questions and make pleasant small talk. For now, there’s no way to get around the missing physical side of your online store. However, you can still compensate for it by making the user’s online experience a lot more enjoyable. Make sure that your prices are competitive, your website has a clear, simple structure, and the checkout process is equally straightforward. You should also make sure that you’re giving the customer a great experience when it comes to shipping, which brings me onto my next point…
The way you handle shipping can make or break your ecommerce business. No one likes waiting for anything which they’ve paid money for, and it’s even worse to be kept waiting past the date an order was supposed to arrive! Getting your shipping on point in the early days of your business may sound easy. However, as more and more orders start to pile on, it’s pretty easy for things to slip through the net, which can only lead to one thing: a disgruntled, possibly vengeful customer base. As soon as you see you’re getting in over your head, consider hiring someone to take care of logistics or outsourcing to an online fulfillment service. Try to keep your packaging as light and as small as possible, to make sure you’re not sinking too much of your budget into it. Speaking of budget, it’s a very smart move to offer free shipping if you can. In recent years, it’s become more and more common in ecommerce businesses, and as a result your customer base may have come to expect it! Free shipping has certainly been found to reduce the chances of shopping cart abandonment, especially if you’re selling products which can be bought elsewhere. For the business owner, I’m afraid, shipping is never free. The only choice you have in the matter is how you’re going to cover the cost! First of all, you can simply up the prices of your products, effectively getting the customer to pay for their shipping. Alternatively, you could pay it out of your margins, and make your prices a little more attractive to buyers. Then there’s a combination of the two; upping prices just a little and paying the rest.
In that initial start-up period, you can never underestimate the power of testing your ecommerce store. This applies, before, during and after your big launch. Because your entire business hinges on the quality of your website, testing and analytics are necessities, not luxuries. You need to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer, see your ecommerce site from an objective standpoint, and find out what works and what doesn’t. Some A/B testing tools may be a good idea here. Also known as split testing, A/B testing allows you to pit two versions of your web page against each other to determine which one is performing better based on a certain goal. This goal could be increasing conversions, reducing your bounce rate, getting more social media engagement or anything else you could think of. With A/B testing, you can easily observe and measure the effects of the smallest of tweaks to your site. Find a good A/B testing tool, and you’ll see just how useful it can be.
When it comes to your first big marketing drive, I’d recommend using targeted landing pages to ensure you’re driving the most traffic possible. Sure, attracting as lot of organic traffic through search engines can be a massive help for your business. However, the more targeted your inbound traffic is, the more conversions you’ll get overall. In order to do this, you’ll probably need to spend a lot of time engineering a good social media campaign. Social media’s the best place to be seen by a specifically targeted demographic, and once you’ve got them on an engaging social media page, it only takes a little nudge to get them to click on your targeted landing pages. Both your social content and your landing page should be targeted at a narrowly defined ideal customer, and have engaging features which draw them further into your conversion funnel. If you’ve ever had a brush with SEO before, then you’ll know how tough it can be to compose effective landing pages. However, if you plan on keeping up with your competitors, this isn’t something you can really afford to neglect!
Ensure your site is mobile from the day of its launch. If it’s too late for that, then stop reading this and get some mobile optimisation done today! Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know how prevalent mobile technology is in our day-to-day lives. Everywhere you look, there’s someone with their head bowed using a smartphone or a tablet. Now, with the steady rise of smartwatches and more wearable tech on the horizon, modern business owners can’t afford to ignore this particular niche. Tablets especially are beginning to take over PCs and laptops as the main device used in the home. These devices and more are going to become increasingly central to consumer spending as time goes along, and more and more people are using mobile devices as their main method for accessing the internet. We won’t see a societal shift quite so relevant to ecommerce for a long time! If you fail to play ball with this now, your business may be irrelevant in five years.