Starting an ecommerce business is easy. You can find products to sell, set up an online store for the customers to visit, and begin taking orders in a matter of minutes. Digital marketing certainly makes succeeding in the ecommerce landscape easier, because you now have more tools and instruments to use when it comes to reaching potential customers.
However, starting an ecommerce business is, well, only the start of a long journey. A lot of successful businesses like Amazon started life as an ecommerce business before turning into giants that sell virtually everything. To be able to hit that level of success, you have to make sure you set the foundation right, and there are five things you need to do just that.
A Strong Brand
Never underestimate the power of branding. A strong brand recognized by a lot of people is a valuable asset to your online business, especially in a market as competitive as it is today. You’ll be surprised by how a strong brand can influence a buyer’s decision-making process.
Building a strong brand is not something you can do overnight. It is not all about marketing either. Your brand is everything you stand for as a business operating on the internet. The way you treat customers, the kind of after-sales service you offer them, and other details are just as important.
Sure, you can begin with a strong marketing campaign; in fact, you should. Getting your brand the exposure it needs to grow is a must when you are just getting started. You can do campaigns with influencers and run ads to gain traction early in the game. In the same time, you could offer promotional products with every delivery. Just make sure it's something that your customers will use and relevant to your brand. For example, a sports clothing online store could offer water bottles with their larger orders. But don't cheap out either. Go with something useful and reasonably valuable. In this case, something like a custom printed 17 oz. Force stainless steel h2go would surely make a lasting impression.
Fine-tuning other parts of the business, however, is also important. There is no point in directing millions of potential buyers if your checkout process is annoying. You want to deliver a smooth user experience across the customer’s journey to succeed.
A Unique Product
At some point, you also have to start thinking about developing your product lineup. This doesn’t necessarily mean manufacturing your own products. It simply means curating the products you add to your catalog to better suit your potential customers.
Manufacturing is an option worth considering, but it is an option that you can explore later once the business is more mature. Strengthening the supply chain of your ecommerce entity, on the other hand, cannot wait.
A lot of ecommerce business owners ended up returning to top universities like Kettering University Online to study supply chain management because of how important it is. Maintaining a reliable and robust supply chain is perhaps the biggest challenge to overcome.
With the products nailed, you can focus your energy on other tasks in hand, including marketing your ecommerce site and keeping customers happy. With a strong supply chain supporting your business, you don’t have to worry about not being able to fulfill customers’ orders quickly.
A Group of Partners
While you can achieve success operating as a single entity, the best (and easier) way to reach the next level is by partnering with the right entities. Business partners are invaluable for your ecommerce business, because there are more things you can achieve when you have the support.
Partnering with manufacturers, for instance, allows you to be more creative with the products you sell. You can start using your own branded products and add value to customers. Companies that sell complementary products, on the other hand, are great partners for cross-promotional campaigns.
Partnering with the customers when developing a new product is also a great idea worth exploring. Rather than relying on your own insights and knowledge, ask customers for their input and listen to what they have to say about your products. There is a lot to learn from insights coming from customers.
Even finding the right partners internally is important. The business needs great team members to grow, and the only way you can find great team members is by opening up your business to talents. Take all the time you need and make sure you hire team members who are passionate.
A Refined Sales Funnel
Yes, brand marketing is important. The more people know your brand, the more likely they will buy products from you. Still, investing all of your money in branding isn’t really the way to go. You also have to balance those efforts with performance marketing campaigns.
Performance marketing focuses on generating leads and converting audience into customers. This is the side of marketing that digs deep into the market and use analytics – and insights – to channel traffic through the sales funnel.
As an added measure, you can combine performance marketing with a better, more refined sales funnel. Using tools such as ActiveCampaign, for instance, it is possible to keep track of potential customers and where they are in the sales funnel.
Continue refining your communications (and the sales funnel itself) to further improve conversion. Sending the right messages, at the right time, and to the right people, is an easy task to accomplish now that you have big data and automation on your side.
A Face to Connect With
Last but certainly not least, you need to start adding personal touches to your ecommerce site and the business as a whole. While customers recognize and remember your brand, they connect more with the people behind that brand.
As the owner of the ecommerce business, now is your time to shine. Start telling behind-the-scenes stories and share your experience running an ecommerce business. Let other team members share their personal view of the business and the market too.
You will start building a loyal and eager audience base the more you add personal touches to the business. It will not take long before viewers start asking for more content, both on your social media pages and on the ecommerce site itself.
With these ingredients in place, the rest is easy from this point. Growing your ecommerce business and taking it to the level of success it deserves is just a matter of navigating the market; you already have the tools and expertise to do just that without a problem.