Last year, business analysts predicted that e-commerce would explode, and they were right.
Today, e-commerce generates over $1.2 million every 30 seconds and by 2016, it has been predicted that e-commerce sales will increase by 62%.
This means that if you are not selling your products online or seeing results from online sales, then you are definitely missing out on a huge and rapidly expanding market.
Here are 10 ways to capitalise on this trend:
1.) Targeting: Having a successful business online starts with building a presence and the only way to do that is to go after the people that want to notice you- ie. your target audience. To be recognised by your customers, you need to make yourself available to those who are most likely to notice. Those who are most likely to notice are people looking for your types of products or services or people who would benefit from your company. Identify the demographics of your target audience and then strategise your marketing accordingly.
2.) High Quality Content: Whether you choose to offer a blog, vlog or simply engage your customers with tweets and status updates, having quality content on your site keeps your visitors coming back again and again. The content of your site should reflect your brand, the tone and the style of your company. Your content should also attempt to engage your audience to respond and interact with your site. This could be done by social media, contests, surveys, competitions and more.
3.) SEO: Internet businesses thrive on two factors- visibility and credibility. Not only are consumers weighing in on your company but search engines are too. If you don’t follow basic SEO protocols such as having a fast loading site, relevant content and keywords and secure web hosting, you may find that your site never gets the showcase it deserves. Amazon, one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world reported back in 2014 that they gained one percent of revenue for every 100 milliseconds improvement in page load time. Google has also announced numerous times that it uses speed as a way to rank your site in their search results.
4.) Personalise: There is a lot of competition out there and if you don’t want to be eaten alive, you have got to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Personalisation is the most effective way to do this as all customers want to feel valued and remembered. Take advantage of the many online tools and systems that allow you to add personalised shopping experiences and content to your site. No matter how small your business is, it is extremely important to have customer relationship management (CRM) software to track and decipher your customers behaviours and habits.
5.) Go Mobile: If you ever want to get your business out into the online world, you have to be mobile friendly too. Not only have Google updated their search algorithm to preference mobile sites but a huge chunk of online shopping is done using smartphones. The popularity of mobile devices is rapidly increasing so if you don’t have a checkout or sales platform that is easy to use on tablets and smartphones, you are cutting off a huge portion of potential sales. Today, it is relatively easy to make your site mobile friendly. Many website themes are now responsive and there are plenty of solutions to create a highly converting mobile platform.
5.) Subscription: Subscription commerce is a great way to retain customers and to keep a constant stream of sales and profits. Subscription models vary and include monthly deliveries of the same product, or deliveries that contain a different assortment of goods and products. If subscription seems like a good way to go for your company, having a good CRM platform would be crucial to ensure you can track shipments, deliveries and more.
6.) Exclusive Merchandise: Many big retailers will only offer certain items online or will offer a cheaper price online. This increases the chances of your customers returning to your site and also provides a sense of exclusiveness. Deciding which products you will only sell online will depend on your unique business needs and my take some trial and error. Studies have also found that when you offer certain products exclusively online, sales margins increase.
7.) Advertising: One of the easiest ways to increase the flow of traffic to your site is to advertise and companies like Google make it extremely easy to do so. Adwords, which is run by the search engine giant makes it super easy to run an advertising campaign and get your product or service out to a wider market. The program allows you to select targeted keywords, your own budget and also allows you to write your own ad copy. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter also offer very easy to use ad programs, they are also extremely affordable. For example, on Facebook you can advertise a post for just $1 per day.
8.) Podcast: Hosting a weekly or even monthly podcast is a great way to engage your audience and attract new users. If you don’t want to set up your own podcast, reach out to others in a similar field as you to see if you can do an interview or become a guest host. This is also an excellent strategy to use when you are ready to launch a new product or service.
9.) Retention: Looking at your retention metrics says a lot about your business and the level of customer satisfaction. The industry recommended percentages are- about an 80% retention rate for social media and about a 20-30% retention rate for e-commerce. If you are running a website platform of some kind, you may be able to measure retention in how many times a customer clicks on a certain link or button. Social media platforms for example, retain their customers by keeping them clued in and up-to date with people that they know and care about.
10.) Going Viral: Going viral could happen overnight, is your company ready for it? There are three important factors when it comes to going viral- Payload, Frequency and Conversion. Payload refers to how many people you can reach, frequency is how many times you can reach them per post or blast and conversion is the percentage of users that will undertake the desirable action. For example, let’s take an email service like Outlook. At the bottom of every email sent on Outlook it states “Get Your Free Outlook Account Here.”
The Payload for this type of service is low, we usually only email one person at a time. The frequency however may be high as we often send multiple emails per day and we tend to send them back and forth. The conversion rate would then be measured on how many people would opt in for an Outlook account. In Outlook’s case, they experience a strong conversion rate due to their reputation and branding.
Sites like Facebook for example, went viral through world of mouth. This would be a rare exception because it was such a strong product.
Start implementing these 10 factors into your business today and see if you can grow your customer base, sales and profits.