The eCommerce market is growing rapidly. It is projected to hit $4.5 trillion by 2021, according to The Enterprise Guide to Global E-commerce. As the market keeps expanding, so has it become highly competitive. To be top of the game, merchants need to constantly revise and update their eCommerce strategies to outsmart competitors.
Just like any enterprise of life, new entrants and others nursing the idea of entering the eCommerce market also need the right strategies and expertise to enable them succeed.
This article seeks to provide a one-stop eCommerce startup guide for merchants and those hoping to go into online business. The article will focus on eCommerce strategies such as website design, social marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), branding, customer management, credit card processing and analytics.
1- Have a superb web design
How do you feel when you click on a page or an image and it takes long to open? I believe frustrated; and the obvious reaction is to move on to a different page or site. Well, just like you, many people get turned off whenever they are hit with such experiences. Not surprising that a whooping 94 percent people consider the look-and-feel of a website first before deciding if to continue to navigate through it or move on to another site.
This is compounded by the fact that there are now millions of websites up and running – competing for attention and recognition.
Therefore, your first most urgent eCommerce strategy is to ensure that your website stands out among the lot. Start this by making sure your site has the right speed. In doing this, ensure your code files and images are compressed and the images have ALT tags. Fast loading pages on your site will give your customers a good browsing experience. Need I say, making your site easy-to-navigate and beautiful would make it easier for your potential customers to find what they’re looking for once on your site. This will bolster confidence and convince your customers that they are dealing with a reputable and credible brand. When this happens, it will lead to high conversion rate.
Additionally, make sure your site has the right security features. This will ensure your site is less prone to cyber attacks including hacking, spam messages etc. The reality is that when customers feel insecure while browsing through your website, they are less likely to do business with you.
2- Incorporate social media marketing
Today’s eCommerce business involves building customer relationships and putting customers ahead of the brand — customer-centric marketing. Social media marketing therefore provides the competitive urge of taking your business to the doorsteps of your potential customers through its power.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest etc — with their estimated 3.397 billion active users — offer unlimited free advertising opportunities through organic posts for your products. They also provide paid ad options for those who wish to give their brand extra mileage.
Social media marketing has become an indispensable element to the success of businesses. Apart from helping to drive traffic to your site and increasing sales, social media marketing also provides avenue for a two-way interaction, thus, giving you enormous feedback about your products. This will help you get deeper insight about your product, industry and competitors.
Good news is, consumers’ appetite for consuming social media products keeps increasing. According to inc.com, 44 percent of consumers use social media more than five times a day. It is no wonder that 93 percent of marketers now use social media to promote their businesses.
To incorporate social media to your site, first identify the right platform where you have a huge following and tailor your campaign. Choosing the right channel may well be determined by what you’re selling, who you’re selling to, and your overall business objectives.
Social media usage varies in different countries and demographics. For example, it will be a waste of resources to start a social media marketing campaign on twitter when your target audience are not on twitter.
After selecting the platforms, add the right social share buttons to your site to make it easier for your prospects to share any useful content with their followers
3-Develop an SEO Strategy
The next strategy is to get your SEO right. A good SEO strategy would ensure that your site is ranked to drive organic traffic to your site. This will make your brand easily discoverable to your potential customers and project your brand as a voice of authority within your industry. The importance of SEO is just limitless. Also, there are tools out there that can help resolve and fix any SEO issue. A mention can be made of Kudobuzz SEO.
4- Get your branding right
I’m pretty sure the last time you wanted to buy a shoe or a shirt, a brand readily came to mind. Well, according to a study, 71 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product or service from a name they recognise.
Therefore, you need to carve a niche or develop a brand voice that resonates with your customers and keep them coming back again and again—even when there’s no deal or promotion to entice them. This niche could range from your trust worthiness, compelling content, your site’s mobile friendliness etc.
To create a brand voice, you need to develop a consistent messaging that will eventually stamp your brand on the minds of your potential customers.
One of the most critical points of developing a brand is conducting a research of your audience. This will assist you to determine your buyer’s persona including their age, gender, marital status, income level and even their belief system. There are tools out there that can help you identify your target audience, including products from Google .
For the best result, develop a customer reward scheme to create a lasting impression of your brand on the minds of your customers. Rewarding your customers will also paint a picture that your brand cares about its customers which will improve customer retention.
For organic search purposes, make sure your title and meta descriptions are consistent with the kind of voice you want to create for your brand. Even if it’s paid search, develop a consistent, more engaging and highly personalized voice that your prospects can always identify with.
5-Develop customer management strategy
After getting your web design right and supporting it with social media marketing while aligning your goals with your brand voice, the next eCommerce strategy is to develop a good customer management strategy.
Such a strategy would leave a lasting impression on the minds of your customers, thus, promoting customer retention. It can also help generate feedback on your product which helps to fine-tune products to suit customer needs.
Fact is, it’s more expensive to convince a new customer than to maintain an already existing customer. This is because the average bounce rate of a returning customer is just 23.75 percent compared to 34.4 percent for new customers.
The magic to getting your customer management strategy right is to regularly develop refresher programmes to help your customer support team speak with your brand voice, respond quickly to inquiries and resolve all issues in a friendly manner.
6- Make the payment process simple
The ultimate goal of your eCommerce business is to increase sales and maximise return. So, after you have set your eCommerce business on the right footing, your customer base will grow. It is therefore imperative to make your payment process much easier and flexible for your customers.
Getting an online credit card option as well as a payment processor can be very tasking for people who are new in the eCommerce business; this is because we are living in an era where cyber crimes are so high. Beyond fraud, there are also other issues of shipping cost, packaging charges and conversion differences etc.
You need to therefore invest in the right and latest innovative online processing payment options for your customers. It should be effortless and convenient while protecting your customers against cyber attacks and fraudsters. These 12 best payment gateways for Shopify merchants may be of great help.
7- Be mindful of your analytics
When you eventually get your site up and running, there is the need to track the performance of your site as well as your social media marketing efforts. Analytics will help you identify what type of content gets more engagement or brings in more customers; this is to enable you optimize your site for better engagement.
The most popular website analytics tool available is Google Analytics. It helps to track which content gets the most visits, average duration and bounce rate for the individual pages.
Social media marketing platforms also have tools that can help track and analyse the performance of your campaign. For example, Facebook Insights can help you track the performance of your Facebook page while Twitter also has Twitter analytics. Ultimately, the type of social media marketing you engage in will determine the kind of analytic tool you need.
You need the right eCommerce startup guide to put your business on the right footing. This will make you excel and stay ahead of your competitors. To achieve this, it is important to ensure your site has the right design, the right social marketing tools and a strong brand voice.
That being said, you need to incorporate SEO into your strategy while developing a good management strategy. Support that effort with flexible payment options for your customers and also get the right analytic tools to track the performance of your site.
When you get these eCommerce strategies in place, it is a foregone conclusion that your online shopping experience will be enhanced and your business will be set to a new level.