When you think about shopping these days, the first place you probably look is on the Internet. Many companies are selling their merchandise directly to consumers via their online stores. Today, it is much easier to create an online store and build an ecommerce business.
But, what does this mean for your business? Ecommerce is an essential way to grow your business and reach new customers.
The ecommerce market is booming right now, having been given an extra boost by the recent pandemic lockdowns. That means it will only be easier for small businesses to get a piece of this action. However, it also means there are a lot of upselling and marketing shops out there trying to beat each other to the punch. To make sure you’re not one of them, read on for tips on creating a successful ecommerce business.
What is ECommerce?
It’s a way of selling products online without partnering with physical retailers. It’s also known as electronic commerce, online retail, or e-retail. There are many ways to take your business from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to an ecommerce business. One way is to use an existing ecommerce website that features the physical products your company offers and sell them directly to consumers. You could start selling on Amazon Marketplace (this is where other sellers sell their products through Amazon). The sky is the limit regarding what you can do with this format, but you must know what type of business you want before you jump into a full-on ecommerce model.
How to build an Ecommerce Website
The first thing of course is to find a good platform on which to build an online store. The easiest way is to use a dedicated ecommerce website builder which will give you all the tools you need to build a website, plus allow you to easily take secure payments. Here is a list of places you could do this. Click the name to visit their website and learn more.
Shopify: This is the most popular and well established all-in-one ecommerce website platform. It was started over a decade ago by people who wanted their own simple solution but couldn’t find one at the time. Currently, they are offering the chance to try out Shopify for £1 per month for three months.
Shoplazza: This is a Canada-based ecommerce platform that was started in 2017.
Squarespace: This is not just an ecommerce platform, but a full website builder that also incorporates a lot of excellent ecommerce tools for people who want to sell. Although ideal for a full online store, it’s also a good choice if the ecommerce section will only be one small part of your website.
Strikingly: Another good choice is Strikingly, which also has some great templates for ecommerce websites.
Smugmug: If you are a photographer looking to setup an ecommerce website specifically to sell your photos, then Smugmug offers a superb solution. You can easily build your photography website using their simple tools and then, if you have the portfolio or pro plan you get access to their sales and fulfillment service, which connects to a local printing house. Everything is taken care of and all you have to do is create new galleries and upload new photos as and when you create them.
WordPress and Elementor: This option is a little more difficult to build and requires a bit more knowledge, but it’s nothing you cannot learn. Elementor is an excellent and very flexible page builder that works within WordPress. As well as being a plugin, Elementor also offers an all-in-one cloud website that uses Google Cloud Platform. You can then install a free plugin called Woocommerce to setup the ecommerce side of things. If you find it too difficult to do yourself, you could get the initial website setup by an experienced web designer and then manage it yourself with a little training. Check out my WordPress web design service here:
Envato Elements: Here you can get unlimited access to stock photos, graphics, videos and templates via a monthly subscription. This is ideal for building a great looking online store.
Understanding your target customer
The first step to building a successful ecommerce website is understanding your target customer. What are their needs? What are their wants? What are they looking for when they shop online? Once you know your audience, you can create the perfect shopping experience for them. A great example of this is Amazon.
Amazon has created an entirely unique shopping experience tailored to its audience’s needs. They have one-click ordering, so there’s no need to input any information and then wait for your items to be delivered. They also offer free shipping for orders over a certain amount and Prime members get special perks in addition to free shipping, like unlimited photo storage with Amazon Prime Photos and access to ad-free streaming on Amazon Music Unlimited.
Think about what your customers need when shopping online before creating an ecommerce site. Then create a website that meets those needs while building trust within the community by offering good customer service and providing a quality product at a reasonable price. Now you’re ready to take on the competition!
Branding is Key
A successful brand is essential to a successful ecommerce business. To build a lasting impression of your company, you need to create an identity that stands out from the competition. You also want to make sure that your branding is consistent across all channels with the same message and aesthetic.
This will help give your customers confidence in what they’re buying. One thing you have complete control over is the design of your website. Make sure it is clean and easy to navigate through and attractive to consumers. Your website should also provide detailed information about what they are purchasing and how to pay for their order. Another important part of branding is having a unique offer or product line that separates you from other companies in the space.
This could be finding a niche market, offering a unique product type, or appealing specifically to certain demographics with your product lines. It can also involve staying true to who you are as a company by offering products like clothing for women, men, or children of different ages or sizes.
Know your Customers
The key to creating a successful ecommerce business is knowing your customer. Every customer comes with different needs and this can vary depending on their demographic. Knowing your customers will give you insight into what they need when they shop online. For example, if someone is looking for a special occasion outfit, might they be more likely to purchase something that’s in stock and available to ship quickly? If this is the case, you’ll want to have quick shipping options as a priority feature of your store.
Another way to stay ahead of the game is by collecting data about your customers’ purchasing habits. Tracking shopping behaviors will help you understand what products people are searching for, how often they come back, which ads work best for them, and more. By understanding these features about your audience, you’ll be able to create better marketing strategies that are specific to their needs.
Lastly, keep track of trends in your industry and competitors’ products and services through research like analytics tools or social media. Understanding what’s popular today will help you ensure that your offering stays powerful by capitalizing on current trends.
Use Payment Services Wisely
One foolproof way to get people to buy from your online store is to offer different payment options. For example, you may offer a cash-on-delivery option for those who want immediate access to their purchase. This could be beneficial in the short-term because it ensures that people don’t miss out on buying an item. However, when you focus too much on one method of payment, you might end up losing customers who prefer other digital options like PayPal, Apple Pay, or Venmo.
Research shows what works for your customers
The first step is to do your research. To get a better idea on what e-commerce strategies work for you and your customers, use your analytics software. What are people searching for the most? What are they interested in purchasing? What are their browsing habits? The more you know about what your customers want, the easier it will be to create a successful ecommerce business. Make sure you’re always one step ahead of the competition This is where having an ecommerce marketing strategy comes into play.
You might already have a website or social media page, but if not, think about what else you need to take care of. You’ll need a digital presence that is easy to navigate and understand. The simpler your store, the better it will be received by consumers. One word: Customer service You can’t build a successful ecommerce business without good customer service!
You need to ensure that when people order from your company, they are satisfied with the experience and happy with the product that arrives. This includes being responsive to them online and offering other solutions when something does go wrong with their order (it happens). Make sure that every interaction between your company and customer has great communication so there’s no frustration on either side.
Stay Strong on Reputation Management
When you think of ecommerce companies, two key attributes come to mind: convenience and accessibility. People want to be able to shop from the comfort of their own home, and they also would like to feel confident about the products they purchase.
For these reasons, it’s important for you and your business to have a strong reputation management program in place. If you’re going through an ecommerce startup phase, one of the most important things you can do is establish links with credible sources in order to build trust.
Marketing your ecommerce business
Once you have all this done and the website setup, the next step is to market your business. One way is to write a regular blog on your website. Most of the website builders mentioned above have a blogging feature. A blog will keep your existing and potential customers engaged with your site, products and services. It will also help with your ranking on Google and other search engines, as a website with constantly new content is favoured over a static site that never changes.
Start a YouTube Channel
Another option is to start your own YouTube channel. Today it is really easy to make your own videos using just a good quality smartphone mounted on a gimbal for smoother footage. Use a wireless microphone for better audio quality too. Here are some useful links to equipment you can use:
DJI Osmo Mobile 6 Smartphone Gimbal:
Another thing you can do is build relationships with reputable influencers, including bloggers and people within your industry. As a result, consumers will know your brand is reliable, making them more likely to return to your store again and again.
Lead Academy offer a range of online digital marketing courses if you need some new ideas.
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Ecommerce is a great way to market your business, expand your reach, and attract new customers. However, it can be tricky and overwhelming if you are not prepared.
Article purchased from Copiency
The main content of this article was purchased from Copiency, edited, adapted and contributed to by Ian Middleton.
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