With ecommerce’s recent gain on popularity, people all over the world rushed to try their luck in this new industry. Needless to say, ecommerce niches quickly become oversaturated, which further lowered one’s chances at succeeding here. Still, like any other line of work, ecommerce still may be lucrative for those with the right business plan. Even though there is no such thing as a recipe for success, there are some things that are absolutely necessary for one to even start considering launching an ecommerce business.
1. Strong Social Media Presence
One of the most efficient ways of promoting your business in 2016 is certainly social media. Its significance comes on many levels. First of all, it allows you to reach more people than you would usually be able to. However, when targeting your audience this way, it is wrong to observe social media as a singular phenomenon. For example, if teenagers and young adults are your primary target group, you should address them through Snapchat. On the other hand, if women from 15 to 40 years of age are your preferred audience, you have better chances of reaching them through Pinterest.
2. Means of Feedback
The best thing about social media is that it goes the other way, as well. It wasn’t created just so you could connect with your potential customers. This way, they can also reach out to you. Your wall or a comment section can serve as a valuable feedback gathering tool. Additionally, it can also help you get an insight into the life of your average customer. This can reveal all sorts of invaluable information, like what are some of the other things that interest them, what other pages they like and frequent, etc.
3. Customer Service
Another, more traditional way of gathering this data is through the customer service. If your website is the face of your company, the customer service will be its voice. What this means is that it needs to be as respectful and helpful as possible, as well as that it should be available 24/7. Also, seeing how since 2015, mobile users are the majority on the internet, your website customer service should most definitely be optimized for mobile. One last piece of advice: even though English is at the peak of its popularity, most people still react best to customer service in their own mother tongue. Of course, you can’t provide customer service for every language possible, but if you are offering an international service, make sure to include at least some of the most widely spoken foreign languages.
4. Storage Solution
In ecommerce, most of your business will be conducted in the digital environment. Unfortunately for you, the items you are selling exist in the physical plane. You cannot sell the item you don’t have and you have no luxury of buying an item you don’t have the means of storing. Because of this, it might be a good idea to buy, make or outsource your storage. Small businesses turn to the last option because outsourcing to 3PL logistics is the only profitable solution for startups and SMBs. Sure, this might change sometimes in the future, but for the time being you need to work with what you’ve got.
5. Start a Blog
As a final point, in order to always stay on your clients’ radar, you need to host a quality blog. The reason behind this is quite simple – people online don’t have a very long memory span. While you have a discount, limited time offer or a loyalty program active, you will be in the center of attention. Unfortunately, as soon as this ends, some people might forget all about you. If you want to stay on their minds at all times, you need to keep reminding them of your presence. What better way is there to do so than with the quality content every week (or few weeks)?
As we already mentioned, not even following all these rules to the letter guarantees success. After all, nothing does. However, abiding to them might slightly tip the scale in your favor, but sometimes this is all that it takes. You don’t have to be head and shoulders above your competition in order to beat them, since winning by a hair’s breadth still counts as victory.