Anyone with a solid business plan, a bit of investment, and passion to turn an idea into reality can build an ecommerce business from scratch. But those who can turn it into a success are a different story altogether. These successful ecommerce businesspeople don’t come from the same country or have the same gender, age, culture, values or upbringing. They simply follow several guidelines that allowed their online business to flourish.
While there are still other factors that could dictate the success of your ecommerce biz, following these 7 tips may help you get closer to your goal:
7 Secrets of Successful Ecommerce Businesses
1. Test Multiple Times before Launch
Setting up an ecommerce store has never been easier, thanks to many one-click solutions offered by companies like Shopify. However, this doesn’t mean you should be rushing the launch of your site. There are plenty of things you should be focusing on before launch. These include:
- Content – Are all parts of your ecommerce store complete? Do you have a page about the company, contact section, terms, FAQs, and so on?
- Marketing – A brand new website has no followers, unless of course your ecommerce site is a member of a bigger and more well-known company. Performing a first phase of marketing tasks and a bit of paid advertising would help with the initial boost in traffic.
- SEO – At the end of the day, your ecommerce site is still a website, which means it would rely on search engine bots to crawl through its pages. Performing on-page SEO would do wonders in giving your site natural traffic.
- Social Media – Make sure your business has every available social media account before launch. It’s free to create and makes it easy to attract followers, or in your case, potential buyers.
Once you’ve laid down the initial work, make sure your ecommerce site is powered with analytics, so you can conduct continuous testing as you operate the business.
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2. Focus on User Experience
When it comes to buying anything online, no one wants a crappy experience. Make sure your business prioritizes the users when it comes to content, design, promotions offered (free shipping, discounted prices, etc.), navigating the site, and ordering/checkout process. Not dealing with these issues could result to low conversion rates (many people visiting but no one actually buys).
On top of user experience, your ecommerce site must also provide as much images of the products as possible. This is important, since online buyers can’t actually touch, smell, or examine the product before buying. Make sure your photos are clear and offer as many angles as you can.
Lastly, make sure the products you’re trying to sell are exactly what the people want. This is tricky, but it can be determined through proper market research.
3. Delegate Tasks Smartly
You may be running a small business, but this shouldn’t mean you’ll perform every task from adding products to social media updates. You’ll have to hire someone, or assign a family member with some of the tasks.
For example, if your store has 100 products and all of them require product descriptions. You’re not good with words, but are aware that the texts would add detail (and searchability) to your product listing. To solve this, you can hire a copywriter who could complete the task quicker, better and at an affordable price, instead of spending several weeks writing them yourself.
4. Take Advantage of Social Media
Social media is the best way to reach out to customers and potential buyers directly. It’s where you can learn what they want, which items they don’t care about, and even discover buying patterns. It also becomes easier to discover brand ambassadors organically through social media, since people share stuff they love online all the time.
Make sure to share testimonials of happy customers on a regular basis. You can even give rewards to your most vocal customers. Remember, word-of-mouth still works, even in the worlds of ecommerce and social media.
5. Collect Customer Information Non-Stop
Asking your customers to sign-up to your store is just the tip of the iceberg. From there, you can still use their e-mail addresses to start e-mail campaigns for future sales or obtain referrals. In some cases, you can directly ask your customers about your product, service or other relevant issues through surveys and quick polls.
Make sure you’re doing everything you can to get to know your target audience because the success of your ecommerce site relies on keeping these people happy.
6. Make Orders, Payments and Shipping a Breeze
Many ecommerce sites face issues with order, payment or shipping processes, but the successful businesses make sure that they don’t happen again.
To prevent bad customer experience or negative reviews, you have to find the best logistic services within your budget and ensure that the steps involved in the checkout process are as hassle-free as possible.
7. Work Hard for Healthy Margins
Setting a healthy ecommerce margin (about 20 to 40%) provides you with the room to expand, invest, and find more customers, while increasing revenues gradually. You have to juggle your revenue and cost properly to achieve your business goals without going into debt.
Most business owners get too big, too quickly and take risks early in the game. While this trick can work, it’s important that you have a plan being followed to avoid getting derailed from a misstep.
The Bottom Line
2018 is still a great time to be involved in an ecommerce business. Industry experts and financial analysts are expecting retail ecommerce sales to reach about $490 billion in 2018. But starting a business and operating a successful one are two different things.
By following these 7 copy-worthy secrets of successful ecommerce businesses, you get to skip many of the mistakes made by over-eager business owners that have tried and failed to put up an online business properly.