What Are The Key Elements To Running A Successful eCommerce Business?
eCommerce is one of the fastest-growing business areas. Moving shopping online has truly changed the customer environment. Companies like Amazon and Walmart are investing more and more into optimizing their online business. But can you compete with a giant like Amazon? You’ll need to make sure you keep these key elements to a successful eCommerce business in mind.
Is Starting An eCommerce Business Now A Good Idea?
With the competition being so fierce and advanced, you may wonder whether starting an eCommerce store is a profitable business. But the thing is, we are moving further and further away from traditional brick and mortar stores. Customers expect to be able to shop and research products online. What’s key in starting an eCommerce business is finding a niche and deciding which products you want to sell. You might not get Amazon’s share of the market, but a loyal customer base, recognizable brand name and a great selection of products will bring you great profits. After all, if you don’t get started, you will feel more and more overwhelmed with the competition and end up never going for it. If you’d like to learn more about marketplaces and how to launch an online business – check out our eBook “Everything You Need To Start An Online Marketplace Business”.
Treat Your Online Store As A Serious Business
Many people make the mistake of treating their online store as just a hobby or a side-business. You’ll need to treat it as if it was a fast-growing, profitable business in order to fully commit to it and really get it to take off. Even if you’re doing most of the work yourself (like creating product pages, writing blog posts and customer service), you still need to really put your mind into it. Treating your eCommerce store as just a side-hustle will hold you back from investing in marketing, extending your products line or being more visible in social media. If you want to make it a success, you will need to treat it seriously, commit and view it as a regular business.
Choose The Right eCommerce Software
If you’re looking for the best eCommerce software available – check out our top 10 eCommerce platforms list. You’ve got to really think about this decision because the software you choose will likely stay with you for quite some time and impact the way your business operates. Some eCommerce software performs better with the search engine, others have great product pages templates. Others provide excellent automation and email marketing tools. You will need to consider your business plan and business model when choosing your online store software and get a comprehensive overview of what’s available on the market. Once you start using a specific platform, you are not going to want to switch for a long time – it’s costly, time-consuming, might cause marketing and search engine related issues as well as confuse your customers.
Know Who Your Customers Are
The most crucial thing for any business is to know who your customers are, what do they want and need as well as what do they like and where can you reach them. Especially when it comes to an eCommerce business, it’s really important to understand your target audience so that your marketing efforts are not wasted on people who are not interested in your eCommerce store and products. Start with your product idea and go from there. You can use UX techniques to get a better understanding of your target customers. We have also explained several testing and researching methods in our previous articles so you can check them out if you’d like.
Before you get started with your eCommerce marketing, you’ll need to know how you can reach your target customers. Do they use Facebook or Instagram more? What will make them want to buy the product? Tailoring your branding (including the brand name), marketing strategy, your online store design as well as the content (blog posts, email marketing) is crucial when it comes to your eCommerce business succeeding. You have a huge advantage over brick and mortar stores here – once their location is set, there’s noting changing that. But you can constantly experiment with your eCommerce marketing, product pages, different social media platforms, email marketing etc. to reach new customers and find out which marketing strategies work best for your specific eCommerce store.
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Focus On The Users’ Experience
With such fierce competition, if a customer has a bad experience with your eCommerce website, they are unlikely to come back. You’ll need to really focus your efforts on how the user experience looks, what reviews do your customers publish on social media and make sure that you’re doing everything you can to optimize this experience. Customers are one of the strongest tools of each eCommerce business. Whether it’s a small business or a huge chain of eCommerce stores – what people say online about your online store can really make or break your business’s success.
You need to really focus your efforts on customer service and how the users interact with your online store. Think about simple things like not requiring an account to make a purchase. Instead, you can ask the user to create an account after they’ve provided you their name, email etc. This way, you’re not putting them off by creating obstacles. Amazon has mastered their user experience and customer service and that’s why they are the number one eCommerce business in the world.
Offer Unique Value To Your Customers
Especially when you operate on a highly-saturated market, your eCommerce business needs to bring unique value to the table. There’s a lot of similar products online but you need to find a one-of-a-kind value proposition that will set you apart from other eCommerce stores. Your selling point (or points) is something you should think about right from the beginning, when you’re just starting an eCommerce business. Whether you want to sell toys or food – you need to make sure you’re different from other eCommerce shops in some way.
If your product idea is very unique itself – you can make that your value offering. But there’s other options there as well. You can offer a different business model than your eCommerce competitors. Or offer additional perks and resources. You might offer an online store app. Even things like free shipping can be considered a value offering in some cases. Although, Amazon has certainly raised customers’ expectations when it comes to shipping.
Automate Back-Office Tasks
Your time is money. When working from home at an eCommerce business, it’s easy to get lost in all the tasks. But you should try and avoid doing that. One of the best ways to make your work more efficient is automation. While not everything can be automated, most back-office tasks can be. And many eCommerce store platforms like WordPress or Shopify offer tools and plugins to help you with account management, invoices etc. The more of these tasks you automate, the more you can focus on tasks that require your direct attention. When you free up this time, you can interact more with your customers on social media, work on your search engine optimization (SEO), test out new marketing tools or optimize your online store.
Create A Sense Of Brand Loyalty
Another thing that’s crucial for every eCommerce business is customer loyalty. In the age of social media and countless eCommerce businesses, you need to make sure your online business not only attracts but also retains customers. To create brand loyalty you need to put strong emphasis on customer support, your online store experience and branding. You also need to engage the users with your eCommerce business. Email marketing might be a good way to do that. Even things like your business name are important here.
You might not be selling your own brand of products on your eCommerce website. But, the business name is still your brand. And that’s what should get the most attention in your marketing. When selling third-party products, you have additional competitors who offer the same goods. That’s why you need to provide unique value to the customer. This will ensure they choose your online store over a different eCommerce business.
If you are looking for a team of experienced specialists who can help you take your eCommerce to the next level – contact us and let’s get to work!