Starting in the early nineties, shopping styles and preferences changed remarkably with customers turning to computers and handheld devices to access new products and discover new services online. The explosive growth of e-commerce, or electronic commercial transactions, has impacted the traditional way of conducting business. Whether you’re a new business making its first foray into e-commerce or you’re an established business seeking to diversify, you need e-commerce solutions that are personalized to the needs of your customers, and which fulfill the desire to grow your business exponentially.
Creating an attractive website is not the end of the story; are you attracting traffic is the question that begs an answer. Is the traffic arriving merely to depart without generating sales? Are you leveraging the most innovative and dynamic e-commerce SEO solutions that boost your visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs)?
You may be dissatisfied with your current business model. You could be strategizing to create a bigger better business model for the future. Business growth and scalability are critically linked to the e-commerce platform that you choose. Are you empowered to decide on the best e-commerce platform that is not just feature-rich but customizable to your needs?
A brick-and-mortar business operating on traditional business models has severe limitations. In e-commerce, the sky’s the limit. In fact, the sky, or should we say the cloud, is the way to go. This is a field where the troika of the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Blockchain are powering successful e-commerce solutions. The moot question is, are you using the best IT backbone and backup services operating through cloud technology?
We analyzed scores of businesses that made the biggest ripples in e-commerce in 2018 and probed the reasons that made these businesses successful and growth-oriented. Successfully growing e-commerce businesses have many features in common.
We share valuable insights that we believe will help you successfully grow your business:
The glamor and glitz of advertising don’t come cheap, and you’ll be facing stiff competition from the big companies that open million dollar purses. That makes email the cheapest, easiest, and most effective way of getting a brilliant message across to customers that matter. Email marketing gives you the best ROI because customers read emails and respond if the message is finely crafted, properly incentivized, and well-targeted.
There’s no better way to keep a hotline ticking with customers who have already done business with you and want to come back for more. You’re gently reminding them that you remember them and you value their loyalty, and there are loads of discounts and offers down the road.
Build a mailing list with competitions, quizzes, takeaways, free trips, and free shipping. Once hooked, entice the customers with targeted emails that fulfill their intent in every possible way. If you handle your mailing properly, you’ll be harvesting at least 30 percent of your revenue from email marketing. No kidding. Email marketing boosts your sales curve nicely even when other marketing initiatives are not picking up.
More than just the product or the service that you sell, people search for a personal connection. That’s why the most successful e-commerce companies are those that have made a conscious attempt to give their products immense brand recall. Nike, for example, is not just selling a shoe; it’s selling a sense of sport and adventure, and a strong lifestyle statement. People feel empowered as they aspire for that lifestyle. Nike is also very successful in leveraging social media to create a strong community of followers.
One of the best ways to make headway in branding is to associate with a digital marketing agency so you’ll be making the best use of new trends that are making waves in product branding. These professionals will help you understand your customer base and devise the ideal strategy that helps you resonate well with those customers.
It’s in our genes; we respond very well to visual cues – visual and audio feeds more than printed text. You may hire the most brilliant content generators to pitch your sale, but you ignore videos at your peril. The video is where the action is – audio-visually and aesthetically. A video slices through every barrier – racial, ethnic, or nationality, and even bridges the language gap. You don’t need a language to communicate when the video becomes self-explanatory.
When you do video properly, and associate the video with effective content marketing, your costs plummet drastically. Hire the best digital marketing professionals or scour Upwork for the best talent that can make videos for you at a very low investment. Then position these videos in social media. Gather a fan following; get people to talk about the video and share feedback. Within days, you might land a video that goes viral across multiple platforms, returning the best possible ROI.
It’s a tough market where thousands of similar products will be vying to establish themselves and grab a share of billion-dollar revenues. Study your most successful competitors and probe what makes them better at selling the same product.
Know your customer’s pain points and deliver something unique and extraordinary that applies a soothing pain balm. Present the product differently and build an offer that customers simply can’t ignore. Use social media to create a community around your product and make sure you visibly respond to their suggestions and feedback. That’s a great way to build and sustain brand loyalty.
Make sure you have a presence in community meetings, conferences, and trade shows. These are great platforms to connect with dealers, suppliers, and distributors. They should be the first people to know you’re rolling out a new product or upgrading an existing model. These people may be the first to tell you what’s new and what’s trending in a competitive market.
Staffing and talent searching has always been the bugbear of e-commerce payers looking to scale their businesses. Retain a core team that pulls important strings. Then outsource skilled jobs to protect the bottom-line. Upwork, for example, is a brilliant freelancer platform that helps you tap into the world’s top outsourcing market – South Asia.
Hire an expert in email marketing, people skilled in product research, talented video creators, expert web designers, and Facebook advertisers. This is a cost-effective way of combining individual skills to build a team that gives you a huge competitive advantage.
These online platforms are great for surveying customer preferences, for testing reactions to a new product, and rolling out services through social media.
From human intelligence to artificial intelligence (AI), from human learning pathways to machine learning (ML), we’ve entered a new domain that e-commerce marketers are targeting in a big way. Chatbots are opening new ways to connect with customers, and chatbot messengers are creating unique experiences for customers.
Customers open your portal and add items to their cart, then disappear. Have no fear, there’s a neat way to reach them. A chatbot sends a message to their Facebook page saying, “Hey! We saw you got busy. The item is still with us, and we’re offering a 17 percent discount if you buy now before the stock runs out.” There’s a 99 percent chance the customer will read and respond to a chatbot message than an email.
Sephora, one of the world’s biggest beauty retailers introduced an innovative AI-powered messenger bot that recommends cosmetic shades and beauty routines to customers. It uses facial recognition to apply shades and actually shows customers what they’d look like before and after applying cosmetics. Business is expectedly booming.
E-commerce is the new growth engine driving global business, and you want to be a part of that revolution or risk being wiped out like the dinosaurs. In today’s market, the customer wields tremendous power, and you’re better off asking your customers directly, “What does it take to get you to buy my product?” The answers will be revealing. Engaging the customer is the new mantra of e-commerce. Being active in social media is a great way of building brand awareness and for interacting one-on-one with your customers.
Hire a virtual assistant if you must to come close and personal with customers to satisfy their intent. Show people that you care and go the extra mile to give them a great experience. It’s the easiest path to increase your site’s customer retention rate. Once you begin adding value to customers, the same customers automatically reward you with exponential e-commerce growth.