Running an e-commerce website is one of the most popular, and profitable, ways of earning money through mostly online operations. But the intense competition means that setting yourself apart requires hard work, dedications, savvy, and intelligent strategy.
There is no doubt that e-commerce is a tough market to break into, especially with big players becoming more dominant in the digital age. But the internet provides you with an accessible global marketplace with plenty of business to go around. Setting yourself apart from the herd is possible with good management and branding, even on a small budget.
This article will go over some tricks to succeeding in this space and what common mistakes and pitfalls you want to avoid as you get started in building an e-commerce business.
Focus on product experience and customer engagement
Firstly, focus on the foundation of your entire business: the product. Assess how your products compete in quality and price to others in your niche. E-commerce gives customers a wide variety and easy access to hundreds of sellers for most items. So, be sure that you are selling something that will attract and retain attention. Are customers writing positive reviews about your products? This is one way to know if you are doing things right. If reviews are mixed or negative, take them into consideration and improve your product line accordingly.
Ensure that your customers have a positive experience on your site and throughout the entire process. Involve them with a blog or by asking for feedback. Send them occasional messages and promotions.
You don't want to make the mistake of letting a customer off the hook. Once they buy something, attempt to build a relationship with them. Emails, coupons, and other types of communication can help develop a brand relationship and keep customers close. After all, businesses thrive on word of mouth marketing. Make sure that your customers will want to tell their friends and family about your site.
Do your research on finance and market competition
On the other end of the spectrum, you should also take into consideration the price point of your product, and some research to optimize this.
The best way to price your product is by looking up what similar products in the market are going for, in addition to the kinds of taxes you will incur after making sales. This helps you price your product or services in a sweet spot that is profitable for you and affordable for your customer base.
Market research also supports smarter advertising and competition knowledge.
You want to avoid the trap of caring too much about your own company and not enough about the industry at large. You don't exist in a bubble, and your success will depend largely on edging out the next best merchant.
Focus on building a brand and making loyal consumers
It costs less to keep an existing customer than make a new one. You want to avoid the mistake of losing old customers and having to develop new ones, as this can cost more money in the long run. It is more profitable to offer incentives or promotions to existing customers to keep them with your brand.
This also means that your brand needs to resonate. You need something special-- a new angle or values that make you stand apart and stick in people's minds. This can be a catchy slogan, something like free shipping, or a good cause that your business supports.
Engage with your customers across platforms as well. Take to social media and offer giveaways, merchandise, and more. Arrange offline activities to promote your brand to existing and potential new customers.
Pick the right platform
In the e-commerce world, picking the right platform is key. There are numerous platforms available these days that you can use to set up your e-commerce operation. Selecting the right one is important for determining your conversion and success. You may have to do a lot of research on different options to find the one that works best for your budget and needs.
Some items are best suited for a major e-commerce retailer like Amazon. On the other hand, services or more niche items may sell better on more specific platforms. You can also start up a private brand e-commerce site by using a service that allows you to host an e-commerce portal on your own. This will require more online marketing, of course, but also means you get to keep more of each sale.
You may wish to confer with a professional consultant to figure out what decisions works best for you. A mistake to avoid is choosing the wrong platform or one that will eat major portions of each sale without providing too much value in return.
Running an e-commerce site can be very profitable if done correctly. If you follow these best practices and avoid common mistakes, you are well on your way to building your retail brand online.