The rules of business are fast transforming in the era of Twitter and Crowdfunder, and the lines between passion and profession are blurring rapidly. A modern-day business involves much more than warehouses, transport costs and end profits. It is about connecting with your customers, providing them with what they want, filling blank spaces, and providing an unparalleled customer experience.
Starting an e-commerce business seems like the perfect road-map to achieving all these objectives. While it does not require huge amounts of capital, it does need a solid framework to deal with the unique challenges of an e-commerce business. Here are the must-know tips to give a solid beginning to your e-commerce venture and expand its growth manifold.
- Research and Identify Your Target Audience
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your e-commerce site won’t be either. First, define the product or service you want to sell. Research about the existence and scope of the product or service. Identify your target audience and understand the ongoing patterns and trends in the market. Understand your market and the product opportunities. While you will be tempted to develop a broad spectrum business, resist and begin small and specific. Evaluate existing products and services and identify sore points, problem areas, and consumer service gaps. It’s always advisable and profitable to begin with an e-commerce venture that is specialized in a particular domain. This will let your business have greater product viability, increased market demand over a period of time, and less competition to play against.
The greatest challenge, however, will be sourcing the right manufacturer, finding the right provider or supplier of services, and acquiring your products. Prepare intensively with a watertight business plan and extensive research about the source of production.
- Have a Strong Software System
Technology has revolutionized the market. For your e-commerce business to be successful, you need to have a robust software system in place. Simply put, your software should enable you to achieve all your business goals. The first and most important step of an e-commerce business is to create a website. The software should allow your website to be multi-platform and browser-friendly, and give users seamless viewing and shopping experience.
Think real-time sale notifications, hassle-free payments and check-out options, and easy navigation so that users can find what they are looking for with minimal clicks. Add credibility to your site by ensuring that the hosting is reliable. Do not underestimate the importance of visual appeal. Keep your website attractive and exciting. Make sure to get it tested thoroughly before the launch.
Tick off security concerns, usability, scalability, and marketing tools concerns as far as your software is concerned. When you invest in the best software, the foundations of your e-commerce business will be strong and you can pilot to a lucrative position faster.
- Make Strategic Partnerships
Regardless of how much capital or skills you have, to make your e-commerce business thrive, you will need to make strategic partnerships. Gaining visibility can be a tough game for any e-commerce venture. You may think that spending on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will solve this problem and boost your website footfall and conversion rates. It does work, but only to a certain extent. If you want your e-commerce venture to do well, you will need to align your brand with established firms and brands. This will give the much-needed surge to your brand equity and alliance. Strategic partnerships are the key to go ahead in the race, and it will involve giving a push and propelling to other sites and ventures as well.
- Invest in a Strong and Differentiated Content Strategy
Success must be preceded by hard work. That’s a given. When it comes to an e-commerce venture, combine the traits of hard work and innovation. Remove the homogeneity of experience that comes with product and service websites. Add value to every user who comes on your website.
How are you going to do that?
By implementing a strong content strategy! Invest in content, that stands out, that enhances value to every user. Break the cycle of monotonous stock images, video content and product descriptions.
Not only will this substantially raise your Google rankings, but it will expand your consumer base as well. Go that extra mile to get higher conversions. From using customized images, interesting and problem-solving content, to including videos that strike a chord, invest in a content-intensive strategy that differentiates you from the rest.
5. Target Your Traffic through Landing Pages
The landing page is the battleground of your e-commerce business. Focus on developing strategies to increase and drive traffic to your landing page. Publishing personalized content through blog posts is the recommended way to divert traffic to the landing page. Place call-to-action on popular pages in your niche that already get a lot of hits. It leads to traffic diversion and lead generation.
Email marketing and personalized messages to existing leads can nurture relationships and help in closing deals sooner, while simultaneously increasing your credibility with the consumer. Use Facebook landing pages optimally to point visitors to specific landing pages that are similar or closely associated with what the user was browsing or clicking on Facebook. This will work better than sending visitors to a generic home page, and ultimately lead to higher conversions.
6. Have an Impactful Presence on Social Media
Social media is all about interaction and sharing, and it is the heart of your e-commerce business. It becomes a driver of engagement and leads in your existing and potential consumer base. Make sure to analyze and assess the audience on each platform and the content they view and subscribe to. This will enable you to tailor the content accordingly and use social media optimally to attract eyeballs and expand business. Peer recommendations have emerged as the real business catalyst. Social media allows you to derive benefit from the same. When there are shares and engagement, it acts as an indirect but powerful call-to-action. A unique and interesting presence on social media will lead to higher click-through, and complete and qualified leads, which is what an e-commerce business thrives on.
Any business equals risks, learning, failures and success. With e-commerce business, the procedures and logistics may have become simpler and less time-consuming. But, by no means has your job become any easier. So, groom and develop an appetite for calculated risks and constant learning. Enjoy the process of setting up and growing an e-commerce business. All of the above tips are fairly straightforward and will give you wings to accomplish all that you have set out to achieve. Go ahead, and chart out a success story for your e-commerce venture, one leap at a time.
Korie Cantor moonlights as a freelance web designer. A tech-enthusiast and a fitness freak, she is always eager to share her expertise through her blogs. She is a travel enthusiast. Follow her @koriecantor