[This article was written by Keith Coppersmith.]
The advent of the Internet and other digital technologies created a unique platform for companies to access consumers. An online one. Online shopping has changed from being a mere innovation to a norm for many brick-and-mortar stores. Two years before, in 2017, e-commerce generated $2.3 trillion in sales, and it is predicted that it will hit $4.5 trillion by 2021. Those who don’t follow won’t just stagnate and lag, they will be left behind completely.
But the modern shopper is educated, savvy, cost-conscious and global. If a business wants to remain successful and capture that ever-fleeting attention of the modern shopper, it must prove in some way that it is better than the competition. Definitely a challenging task – a number of online startups fail just in the first year – But it is not an impossible one. In this article, we will share with you some of the best tips to survive in this ruthless e-commerce business.
Even if you aren’t competitive in terms of product quality, shipping or price, you can always create a unique brand persona and voice that can resonate in your audience and separate you from the competition. Anyone can copy your product, service or business model. But no one can do that with your brand.
Discover the unique traits of your company and try to highlight them in your online presence. Are your products custom-made or hand-made, or maybe even custom packaged? What are the qualities of your products? Is your business green? Can you create humor in an ever-serious market? What kind of brand persona do you present to your consumers?
Although some parts of this can be imitated, most aren’t. Find out your company’s difference, and stay flexible if there comes a time when your unique selling proposition is no longer original.
In a nutshell, e-commerce is a business model. And like all other business models in the world, there is no cookie-cutter approach that’s inherently right or wrong. What works for some may not work for others. Every situation is one of a kind and should not be approached in the same manner as before.
Even traditional industries, like oil and gas manufacturing and exploration industries, are starting to utilize e-commerce. Oilfield equipment can be purchased online, and the gas and oil sector keeps implementing other e-commerce solutions to keep up with the latest trends.
However, every e-commerce business model has two key elements. Understanding what you are selling or how products work. And understanding to whom you are selling it to – the ideal customer. So, whether you are B2B to B2C company, educate yourself about these terms first. Only then can you really stand out from the competition and drive more traffic to your e-commerce site.
A great e-commerce site concentrates on good UX
UX – user experience – is at the core of a great e-commerce shop. It’s basically about how the user navigates, uses and shops on your website. If they have an easier time using it, they may buy more and not leave the site as soon as possible. It’s also what makes a website user-friendly and leaves a consumer feeling satisfied.
For starters, focus on the consumer. Their desires, interaction with your site, what they enjoy there, the product pages and headlines they like to read. Make him have all the information he needs and speak in his language as much as possible.
Next comes interactive design. A website needs to be responsive and user-friendly whether for mobile or desktop. Design should encourage engagement between the customer and a website. A payment-page also needs to be user-friendly.
Social media integration
The rise of the social media gave businesses new paths to reach consumers, and nowadays there is even an option of selling products through social platforms. Social media platforms can be used to assert your company’s presence, grow your follower base and for advertising. Social media promotes visibility and exposure for your business. For beginnings, share links to your landing page on your social media to bring your followers to your website. Vice versa, share user-generated content from a social platform on your site.
The end goal here is to add credibility to your business while also showcasing the community of your followers and giving users ideas on how to use your products.
Post motivational quotes with your logo, images, short videos, makeup looks or gift ideas to create engaging content on your social media account that will attract the target audience. Every social media post should include a clear call to action that gets people to your e-commerce site and makes them buy your products.
Although tricky without beforehand knowledge, if you educate yourself about e-commerce, brand correctly especially through social media and have a user-friendly design, your sales will boom while your followers will increase multiple times over.