So, you have decided to launch an e-commerce business to make more money or simply to fulfill an entrepreneurial passion? Like any other enterprise, making the e-commerce business profitable is what ensures its sustainability but this doesn’t happen automatically or by luck. Here are ten tips to help you succeed in e-commerce:

Determine your unique selling proposition (USP)

The bedrock on how to make your e-commerce business successful is determining the unique selling proposition (USP) of the whole venture. If there’s nothing new your e-commerce business is offering that an existing business isn’t already offering to your target market, there’s no sure magnet to pull and retain customers for your business. Your USP could be functional or emotional. While there are several multibillion-dollar e-commerce sites, eBay stands out because it allows users to purchase used yet functional items at reduced price. Bringing to the table what no one else is, is the how, to succeed in e-commerce. Answer this question: ‘why should anyone patronize me and not my competitor?’

Great tech is needed

The aesthetics, user-friendliness, speed and functionalities of your online e-commerce website or store are crucial to the success of your e-commerce business. It determines if a site visitor eventually completes a purchase, returns to the site again for another purchase or refers potential customers to the site. Basically, your online store has a direct impact on your bottom line.
Keep a keen eye on your site’s design. An e-commerce website not well designed makes it difficult for users to navigate and leads to frustration and uncompleted sales transactions. Poor design also makes websites load slowly. You really do not want this. One way to boost your site speed is to use a content delivery network (CDN). CDN distributes your site visitors across many proxy servers around the world rather than pack them on one single server. This ultimately improves site loading speed.
Not forgetting mobile friendliness. Your site must be mobile responsive. Nearly 70 percent of searches on Google now occur via mobile devices, meaning there’s a very high probablity your customers are visiting your site on a tablet or smartphone.
As a note of caution, remember to experiment test orders yourself when your site is ready to launch to be certain the customer journey to closed sale is smooth.

Reliable developer

From the above, it is obvious the e-commerce developer outsourced for your site is much more important to the survival of your business than previously thought. There are questions to ask your e-commerce website developer to determine if the developer is the right pick for the job.
Does the developer possess adequate experience in e-commerce customer journey to be able to design an effective site? Will you be available to me during and after the implementation process? How will your solution adapt to future changes you may need to make to my site? This question is crucial as e-commerce sites often evolve as customer base grows, strategies shift and needs differ. There are several questions to ask your e-commerce website developer which cannot be exhausted within a few paragraphs but they center around primarily: the developer’s capabilities, solution’s fit to your needs, simplicity and user-friendliness for client, customer and vendors, and even character and integrity of the developer.

Understand the e-commerce industry

To understand how to succeed in e-commerce, you need a good grasp of how the industry works, how giants such as Macy’s, Best Buy and Amazon have succeeded (by the way Amazon only just hit profitability in 2018). What are their business models? What contributed to the failure of e-commerce companies that have shut down? Researching what others have done that contributed to their success or otherwise, is a wise thing to do. I’d recommend the biographies of Alibaba and Amazon founders Jack Ma and Jeff Bezos respectively, as a good start.

Reliable supply chain

Several retail businesses have shut down or suffered massive losses for relying on one or few suppliers. This isn’t really a wise business approach because when the supplier sneezes, your e-commerce business gets the flu. Build a reliable supply chain network to succeed in e-commerce.

Seeing is believing

It should come to you as no surprise that pictures play a crucial role in the attractiveness and user-friendliness of e-commerce sites. Seeing is believing! You need to invest in great quality cameras, a make shift studio or professional photographer to give your products that freshness and appeal to convert sales. However, because of the volume of items on e-commerce sites, these high-resolution pictures can slow down the site’s loading time. It is important that your e-commerce platform is speed optimized.

Help your customers

Because online transactions are not human facing interactions, a large percentage of site visitors would ignore completing a purchase if their questions are not responded to or unsavory experience resolved quickly. Sites which offer quick and satisfactory help to customers enjoy good reviews, customer retention and increased sales. Consequently, it is crucial to have a site with well integrated customer relationship management systems. Investing in a detailed FAQ page and enabling responsive live chat support are effective ways to make your e-commerce business successful in the long run.

Know your customers

Like any business, a superior knowledge of your customers will help you stay ahead of competition. What do they want? How do they want it? When do they want it? What price will they pay for it? Where do they stay? What are their fears and aspirations? These demographic and psychological details would help you know how to help and sell to your customers.

Digital Marketing

After all the previous boxes have been ticked, and your online store has been launched,focus on marketing the site. This is where the real work is. The magic to e-commerce marketing is finding what channel works best and cost-effectively for pulling potential customers to your product(s). Whether getting found on page 1 of internet search results by utilizing the power of search engine optimization (S.E.O) , growing brand awareness with social media marketing across selected platforms or monitoring your online reputation to ensure negative reviews don’t cost you clients, it is important to fine-tune and double down on your digital marketing strategy till the unit cost of bringing in a paying customer is less than the profit on each goods sold. Traction (a startup guide to getting customers) by Gabriel Weinberg is the Silicon Valley bible on this knowledge.
For more tips or strategies pertaining to your e-commerce platform, please visit our e-commerce dedicated page or contact us by sending an email to info@midlanddigitalsolutions.com

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