Ecommerce is on the rise, with the number of digital buyers worldwide set to top 2 billion by next year. Whether you’re a one person operation just setting up shop, or a well established business, there’s always room for growth in this sector.
With current global trends, ecommerce is set to thrive in the coming years as consumer confidence in ecommerce platforms increases alongside easier access. Given that ecommerce sales are set to account for more than 15% of total global retail sales in 2020, and will continue to rise, now’s a perfect time to focus on growing your ecommerce business.
Regardless of where your business is in its growth, there are certain best practices you should consider for ensuring its success. If you’re just setting out, the tips below are a good blueprint for the initial phase, and if you’ve been in business for a while, they’re a good reflection point.
1. Know Your Target Audience
Perhaps you’re selling active lifestyle products to young active people, or you’re looking to target an older audience. Knowing who your customers are, how they think and where to find them online is crucial to the success of your ecommerce business.
Start by considering these questions together with your team. Even if you’ve thought through them before, it’s a crucial exercise to periodically revisit them as customer trends change.
Who would buy our product?
When you developed your product, or decided to market a specific product, you likely had a certain client in mind. Try to visualize that client- what they look like, what their habits and hobbies are, what their daily routines are, etc.
In this way you will be better able to ‘walk in their shoes,’ giving you insights that you can use when marketing your product.
What’s stopping them from buying my product?
Perhaps your customers come from an older generation with a healthy scepticism to new products. Alternatively, they may be in a younger age group who values novelty and ‘being the first’ to buy a new product.
Both of these groups have different barriers to buying your product which you’ll need to address- the first needs to be convinced of the reliability of the product, while the other the novelty.
Where do my clients spend their time online?
There’s certainly generational differences when it comes to online activity. It’s difficult to imagine, for example, a recently retired school teacher actively using some of the social media sites currently popular with teenagers.
That’s why it’s important, once you have an understanding of who your clients are, to try to research where and how they spend their time online. That way you’ll be able to best gain access to them.
2. Streamline Processes
Ecommerce is all about convenience. Quick access to a wide range of products is one of the main reasons your customers choose to shop online rather than head to a store. It’s your task to try to make the online shopping process as streamlined as possible.
Approach the streamlining process from the point of view of the customer:
- When I head to the website is it easy for me to navigate to the products I want, or am I greeted with a labyrinth of pop-ups and unclear links?
- How simple is it for me to check out?
- Is there anything slowing me down in my total shopping experience?
These are a few of the questions you should consider. Ideally, your ecommerce website will present as few steps as possible between finding the right product and paying for it. The longer this process, the more likely customers will give up on their purchase.
This means you need to find the right balance between upselling and secondary marketing opportunities, and convenience.
3. Get the Right Tools
There are an ever-growing range of choices when it comes to tools for your ecommerce business management. These tools mainly fall into several broad categories: website management tools, analytics tools, marketing tools and research tools.
Of course, not all tools are created equally, or would make sense for your specific needs. You may not, for example, need a tool in all of the above mentioned categories. Do your research before making any commitments in order to make the right choice.
Ask your team what their views are of your business’ needs. Gaining firsthand input from your team can help you make the most informed choice as to the type of tool you need. Once you’ve collected this input, it’s a matter of researching which tools are the most well regarded in each category.
An ecommerce business is a team effort and thrives on collaboration. The ability of your team to communicate, share ideas and access information goes a long way to determining your long term success. That’s why it’s important to equip your team with the right tools for their collaboration.
The best collaboration tools will provide your team with a range of features for working together remotely. The right choice here could increase your team’s efficiency and productivity, two crucial elements to the success of your business.
4. Develop Your Team
Your ecommerce business is unique in many ways, but just like any other business in one crucial way- it’s success is largely dependent on the quality of your team. Spending time developing your team is essential for your long term growth.
If you’re just starting out, now’s the time to put in place a clear management philosophy and professional development structure.
- What are the skills that your team members will need?
- How will you develop them?
- How will you give feedback on performance?
These are just some of the questions you should be grappling with from the get go.
If you’re an already established business, it’s never too late to review your team development strategies. Seek out feedback from your team members to see how they feel on the team, whether they’re engaged, and what their development needs are. This will be time well spent once you see the benefits of an efficient and engaged team.
Ecommerce continues to be a growth industry, so there’s never been a better time to focus on your ecommerce business’ long term success. Try out the tips above, and please share any other tips you have below!