Building an e-commerce business is no easy task but if you do the basics right success is never too far away. But then what are the basics? What constitutes a successful e-commerce venture? Let’s explore the 10 most important steps which, when executed well, are sure to push your e-commerce business in the right direction.
Do your research
Before you decide to embark on an e-commerce venture make sure you know your competition well. Do a little research on what kind of website design, navigation, marketing strategy, payment options, et cetera your competitors have in place. You don’t have to replicate someone else’s model but getting a feel of what works and what doesn’t in your prospective field of work is always a good idea.
Get your webdesign right
Once you know what you are getting into and who you are going against shortlist a few of these competitor websites and send the links across to your webdesign team. This is an important phase for your e-commerce venture because you are basically defining the look and feel of your website. This is what your customers will eventually see and getting it right is a necessity, not an option.
Make sure your website is search friendly
When your website is under development it is essential that you focus on making it search friendly right from the word go. When a customer reaches an e-commerce website usually the first step is trying to find the right product. This is where a good search functionality plays a key role in guiding the customer to the right product. Also, this is where you ensure that the navigation through the various product categories on the website is spot on and is not confusing in any way.
Hire the best content people
A quality content writer will ensure that your product descriptions are both accurate and informative. Clarity of information is the key phrase here. Also, this is where you ensure that your website has quality visual content i.e. photographs of products. As most marketers will tell you – customers buy from the eye – what looks good, and sounds better when read, is sure to invoke interest and may eventually lead to a sale.
A mobile site is a must
A lot of e-commerce brands these days have a mobile app to go with their full-fledged desktop version of the e-commerce marketplace. Not having a website optimized for the mobile platform may cost you a lot of potential business. The almost simultaneous rise of the Internet and the smartphone industry has meant that a large chunk of those using the Internet use it on their mobile phones. Therefore, having a well optimized mobile site clearly adds to the user experience and will always pay rich dividends.
Chalk out a well-rounded social media strategy
It is no secret that most of us who are online today are affected in some form or another by social media. You must recognize which social media platforms are best suited for your target audience and then build a strategy around them. Social media helps acquire new customers and keeps existing customers engaged. When used efficiently it can serve as a medium to reach customers as well as to effectively listen to them, understand their issues, and resolve them in time.
Use remarketing and use it prudently
Remarketing allows e-commerce brands to market products to customers that may be of interest to them. This is usually done by tracking previous buys and search results relative to a particular customer. Companies often send reminder e-mails and discount offers to customers that might have visited their website but didn’t buy the product for some reason. While this is a great way to invoke customer interest in your products it is advisable that you don’t get carried away with remarketing tactics. You don’t want to bombard customers with dozens of emails reminding them of products that they could buy. Also, too much tracking may result in loss of customer trust and customers may begin to opt out of using your service for fear of a privacy breach.
Offer as many payment solutions as you can
Payment solutions is a criteria a number of e-commerce brands have overlooked. While you may have all the amazing product choices for a customer to choose from if you don’t have a payment solution that is feasible for all kinds of customers you will very likely miss out on a lot of potential business. Therefore, offering as many payment solutions, to ensure a sale is made, is the way to go.
Choose your delivery options wisely
After placing an order on an e-commerce marketplace the only real world interaction that a customer has with your e-commerce business is when the product is eventually delivered to them. Choosing effective delivery solutions allows you to build a relationship with your customer. Timely and hassle-free delivery of their ordered goods is something customers look forward to.
Use multiple-sales channels
The purpose of a business after all is to make sales and hopefully profit. To maximize sales you must use multiple-sales channels and not rely on one or two. To achieve this, along with marketing yourself to the customers, you should use strategies like offering coupons, discounts, cross selling, remarketing, e-mail campaigns, et al. As a shrewd salesman would tell you – all sale is good sale – and as long as you are selling using ethical methods e-commerce success isn’t too far away.
The infographic below captures and represents these 10 steps in a nutshell.