How to Keep Your Ecommerce Business Running?
There are hundreds of entrepreneurs today running an e-commerce business. However, not all of them succeed in running it for the long term. This is because an e-commerce business is not just about setting up a website and putting your products on it – it requires time and constant effort in order to do well in the market.
Entrepreneurs face several hurdles while making their e-commerce business a success. Although some are able to achieve their objective of attracting visitors to their site and generating a decent amount of sales, there are many who become frustrated when they don’t achieve the outcomes they thought they would. They become tired of investing their time, energy and resources and getting no results.
With almost no barriers to entry, the world of e-commerce is open for everyone, meaning newcomers are sure to have a tough time making a name for themselves in the market. It is difficult to attract traffic, get them to convert and turn them into loyal customers. There is also the constant need to spruce up your digital marketing campaign in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Finding finance is another issue e-commerce businesses face. Small e-commerce businesses that do not have substantial profits or attractive business credit scores are unable to secure financing from traditional lenders and must look for alternative sources instead.
If you are running an e-commerce business and facing some of these challenges, we recommend you to keep reading this article.
Here are a few tips on how to keep your e-commerce business running and turn it into a profitable venture:
Do you know who the richest person in the world is right now? It is Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon – a leading e-commerce platform. So, if you started your e-commerce business thinking you will earn well from it, you were absolutely right. Once an e-commerce business is able to take off, it is sure to generate significant revenues and profit – you, as the business owner, just need to stay motivated and think positive. Running an e-commerce business requires effort, which will eventually pay off.
E-commerce businesses need a significant amount of focus and hard work. In order for you to launch a successful business, you must first do your research on some of the leading e-commerce websites to understand the market trends. Look at how they are selling their products and how they make their systems user-friendly to attract customers. Having proper product descriptions, prices, and images, as well as customer reviews, can make a great difference.
All businesses require more effort in the beginning when your customers do not know who you are and what you do. But as you start gaining recognition in the market and generating a steady flow of income, it gets easier. Consistent effort is all you need in order for your venture to reach greater heights.
Once you know what the current market trends are and what attracts customers, you need to analyze where you stand in the market and how you can change your marketing mix to boost sales. For this purpose, a competitor analysis is a great tool.
Competitor analysis tells you your position in the market, in comparison to other players. It also helps identify gaps and opportunities in the market – any customer demand that is not yet fulfilled by any business. From this information, you can identify ways to take your business to the next level. Let’s take a look at how competitor analysis is carried out:
Identify your competitors
The first step is to make a list of your competitors. A Google search will give you a list of businesses that have similar products as you and the same target market. You can choose 5-10 of your most relevant competitors to do research on – some which are direct competitors, a few that sell lower/higher-end products and one or two market leaders such as Amazon, Alibaba or eBay.
Perform Competitive Analysis
The next step is to visit the website of each competitor and study each of them in detail to know the kind of customer experience they offer.
For instance, go through their website and analyze the GUI (Graphics User Interface) and surf these websites as a customer. Check the kind of products being offered, their prices and how they are displayed (information, photos, and descriptions), the overall shopping experience being offered (from selecting to check-out) and the customer service they are providing (e.g live chat, option to talk to sales representative over the phone, exchange policy).
The goal should analyze each competitor in detail and identify their strengths and weaknesses. You should identify each company’s USP (Unique Selling Point) and evaluate they differentiate themselves in the market.
Re-evaluate your own marketing strategy
Once you have all this information about your competitors, it is time to alter your own marketing strategy in the light of your findings. It is time to decide what your USP should be and how to position your brand in the market. Ideally, you should differentiate your brand from your competitors and offer something no one else is offering in order to stand out – whether it is in terms of product range, quality, price or customer service.
For an e-commerce business to be successful, it has to figure out who its target market is and where they are most likely to find so that it knows where to focus its marketing efforts, instead of wasting time and money on strategies that fail to produce a return on investment.
Social media is always a good place to start. It is unavoidable, highly popular amongst people of all ages and interests and powerful enough to help you make an impact. According to a survey, the average person spends almost 2.5 hours a day on social media and 54% of social media users use it to research products. These statistics include your potential customers too. If they are using social media to browse products and read customer reviews before they make their buying decision, it is essential for you to have an active social media presence. So, make yourself a page and keep it updated with your latest product offerings, blog posts, and customer reviews.
When it comes to marketing strategies for an e-commerce business, the importance of SEO optimization and content marketing cannot be ignored. SEO optimization improves the ranking of your website on search engines, increasing your brand’s visibility. Creating relevant, interesting content also helps draw your target customers to your website. For instance, if you sell jewelry, you write about the latest jewelry trends or how to pull off different looks with the pieces that you sell. Regular, useful content will get you noticed and is a sure-fire way to improve sales.
5.Improve the user’s experience
If you wish to have a successful e-commerce website, it is essential to optimize the user’s buying experience. Since customers cannot walk into the store and see, touch and try the products before buying them, you have to make up for it in other ways. There are several things you need to focus on to make your website user-friendly:
- Easy navigation: Your customers should be able to browse your website easily, going through different product categories and getting all the information they need in order to make their purchasing decision easier.
- Quick loading time: Website speed is important. If your website slows down often, it can be a major turn-off for customers.
- Appealing to the eyes: Your website should have a simple, professional and appealing outlook.
- Customer service: This can make or break your business. Since customers can’t physically be at your store, you have to make up for it by being available 24/7 to respond to their concerns and queries online. Make sure to be available on phone, email or live chat and respond as quickly as possible.
6.Optimize the purchasing process
If you want customers to buy your products, you have to make sure that the purchasing process is as smooth as it can be. This is one of the biggest challenges for e-commerce businesses today and also one of the main reasons for their failure. The quicker and easier it is for a customer to place an order online, the more likely they are to return for a second purchase.
There are several ways to achieve this:
- Do not force your customers to create an account in order to make a purchase. Let them checkout as a visitor, if it’s what they want (as it saves time)
- Limit the information they need to provide by only asking for details that are absolutely necessary in order to deliver their goods
- Offer free shipping for large orders. If they do need to pay for a delivery, try to minimize the cost to them by looking for the cheapest, most effective delivery method
- Provide several payment options so customers can choose whichever one which suits them best.
These are just some of the ways to drive customers to your website, generate sales and make sure they return to give you more business. Discussing your business needs with digital marketing professionals will further give you more insight into solutions.
At the end of the day, the secret to running a successful e-commerce business is to never stop improving your current practices. Being in this technology-driven industry means that trends, customer tastes, preferences, and demands will keep changing and it is important that your business continues to change with them. Follow our tips and you are sure to see your e-commerce business reach greater heights.