10 Tips for eCommerce Growth Your Business Will Fail Without In 2019
Is 2019 the year you've earmarked to get that eCommerce business you've been dreaming about up and running? Or perhaps your existing online business is in need of a boost?
If so, we've compiled a host of business growth tips to ensure a successful 2019 and get those virtual cash registers ringing. You might know some of these already, but keep reading to see what you're missing out on...
1. Evolve And Refine Your Product Offering
The digital market moves fast to keep up with changing customer demand, so don't get left behind. Many products have a finite shelf life, particularly if seasonal or trending, so monitor your stock levels well and be ready to promote popular products hard. It's better to sell out and move to the next emerging trend than to have capital tied up in stock which isn't moving, meaning that you have to sell at a much lower price point to free up your cash.
Keep the 80/20 rule in mind too. Sometimes referred to as Pareto's Law, this is the likelihood that 80% of your profits will be generated from 20% of your products. Some of your product streams will be far more lucrative than others, so concentrating your efforts on maximising sales of your bestsellers makes sound business sense.
Summary: Stay ahead of the curve and don't waste time on non-movers - sell what sells and cut the rest.
2. Research, Research, Research!
In an increasingly crowded space, it's the businesses which take the time to differentiate themselves from the rest which will ultimately succeed - and you can only do this by having a clear idea of what your competitors are selling and how they're marketing to their customers.
You'll naturally want to research your target audience as well as your competitors. Tapping into the nature of your customers' buying habits will pay dividends. Try offering incentives for quick surveys - you'll be surprised at how much insight genuine feedback can bring.
Summary: Research your competitors and see what they're doing. Research who your buyers are, and where they're currently buying from. Tailor your business accordingly!
3. Master The Marketplace
Are you making the most of online selling by utilising online marketplaces? Marketplaces can be an ultra-fast way to scale up - with an established base of loyal customers to tap into, you can benefit from the existing customer trust and bring substantial rewards to your business. Not to mention, marketplace fees are significantly less than the cost of maintaining your own website, especially when you factor in marketing!
Not all online marketplaces are created equally, so which ones you choose to sell through will depend on how much you'd like to spend and of course, your audience. The marketplace sector has more choice now than ever - it's no longer all about Amazon and eBay. If you're keen to start selling on a marketplace, you should look at OnBuy.com. Recently announced as the UK's number one marketplace, it's fantastic to sell through and worth considering.
Summary: Join an online marketplace - you'll maximise exposure for your products and benefit from their loyal customers.
4. Get Expert On SEO
Do you know your page rank from your domain authority? If not, don't fret. Running a small business often means being a jack of all trades, but when it comes to increasing awareness of your website, getting in front of your customers relies heavily on technical knowledge and specialist internet marketing skills.
Luckily, there are plenty of SEO services available that'll save you time and effort, although they can be costly. Perfecting your site's SEO is the only way to build organic presence for the long-term, so be prepared to factor the cost into your company's growth plan.
Summary: Invest in SEO for your website - it's worth the cost in the long-term.
5. Build A Customer Network
It's much more difficult to convert a new customer than to sell to an existing one. Post-purchase marketing automation allows you to set up specific sequences to educate and upsell to customers you already know have an interest in your type of product. You can also add the personal touch to show your customers how much you appreciate their business; for example, a 'happy birthday' email with a special promotion - where better for your customers to spend their birthday money, after all?
Summary: Focus on your existing customer base; they already trust you.
6. Invest In Paid Advertising
There are more opportunities to advertise and market your products than ever: from Google to Bing Shopping, Amazon to eBay, Facebook to LinkedIn and plenty in between. Typically charged as PPC (pay-per-click), paid advertising can be costly but these services work wonders driving new customers to your business.
Be careful, though: the more of your competitors that enter the space you're advertising in, the more the costs will rise. These costs can change instantly, so it's advised to constantly monitor your advertising spend. Why not contract a marketing specialist to help you out with this? You can opt for a freelancer or an agency and you'll get all the benefits with a lot less stress!
Summary: Don't discount the paid-for advertising opportunities - but don't jump in without the right support or you risk overspending and making a loss.
7. Be Flexible And Flash
This doesn't mean you should invest in a yoga book and a new wardrobe; it's about learning to adapt quickly in the face of new opportunities. Flash sales - namely, sales held over a short period of time which offer attractive incentives or discounts - are a superb way of driving customer appetite. This provides visitors with an immediate incentive to buy.
Sending out special promotions via an e-newsletter and pushing the best deals across social is a clever way of further highlighting the products - especially if shoppable features are implemented.
Summary: Look for opportunities to run deals to drive sales and raise your profile. Let your customers know the offers that you have and make sure you keep them interested!
8. Get Social
Your target customers aren't just located in one place; you'll find them in a number of locations, including social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Instagram is your friend when it comes to curating a beautiful feed of product images - but don't forget that the photography must shine, so spruce up on your camera skills. Facebook and Twitter are both valuable as customer service channels and news outlets. Don't forget, these can all be pointed at your online marketplace, making it easy for potential new customers to find you.
Summary: Embrace social as a daily activity, get your offers and deals live and share, share, share!
One step on from customer and competitor research, this is all about being ahead of the curve when it comes to product offering. Get a name for yourself as the go-to marketplace for what's new and fresh, and you'll generate an enormous amount of highly targeted visitors who are ready to buy.
Summary: Know your audience, the market trends and be prepared to move fast to capture interest.
10. Be The Best
But not everyone can be the best, you say! True - but you can be the best at one particular aspect within your market sector. Find a niche which makes you stand out and work on making this an integral part of your customer offering. It might be something as simple as personalised packaging, or a catchy marketing play such as a 'seasonal snap it up' sale; anything which makes your business stand out above the noise.
Summary: Get your thinking caps on and find your niche!