Are you willing to grow your eCommerce business? With the purchasing power of people all around the world and the evolution of Multichannel Marketing, eCommerce is the most important key to the triumph of any business nowadays. As you know, setting up an eCommerce might sound like a massive undertaking, but with the right approach, you can build a side revenue stream that gives you the freedom to design the lifestyle you’ve always wanted.
In this eBook, we’ll show you why an eCommerce business implies more than just choosing a brand name, writing product lists, and selling products online. Let’s jump in!
What is eCommerce?
Electronic commerce or e-commerce is a term for any type of business that refers to any commercial transactions conducted online. So, when you sell or purchase products/services via the Internet, you are automatically involved in the e-commerce world.
Did you know? Online banking is technically also considered eCommerce.
Developing your brand
So, who are you? What does your store represent? Who are your ideal customers?
Ask these questions while crafting your brand - it's one of the most important elements when starting from scratch. You have to know that your brand is an extension of your business - it reflects on you and your company’s image. Therefore, we recommend you pay attention to the message you intend to relay to your target audience (be clear as to what type of audience will find your products appealing).
When working with your brand, you first have to create a brand persona and the brand visual assets.
- Brand persona (personality)
A brand persona consists of traits, attitudes, and values that you give to your brand, as well as the personality in which you will deliver your customer experience. In other words, it's something to which the consumer can relate. Keep in mind that customers are more likely to purchase a brand if the brand’s persona is similar to them. Believe it or not, a brand persona can impact whether a visitor clicks a button, fills out a form, or makes a purchase.
Your brand persona is everywhere! From your policies and the way you communicate with your customers, to your advertisement’s image and copies.
- Brand visual assets (looks)
As the name implies, brand visual assets are what your customers are going to see. These optical elements include your logo, the type of font you use, the color palette, among others. Think of McDonald’s: every time you see red and yellow you automatically think of McDonald’s. Visual assets are worth their weight in gold.
Your brand’s visual assets help to create a style and mood while reflecting the brand persona and providing an overall visual representation of your brand.
Choosing a persona
After determining your brand, you need to establish who will buy your new products. How? Easy. Creating Buyer Personas.
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When building your ideal customers, make sure to include demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, interests, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.
- Where do I get information about Buyer Personas?
Base your information on market research, as well as insights you gather from your actual customer base (through surveys or interviews).
Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as you like. The biggest mistake you can make when creating buyer personas is to make assumptions.
Remember: you need a brand that connects with your persona.
Choosing a product
Now that you know who is buying, you have to figure out what to sell.
We know picking new products is extremely challenging - there are so many products being sold online! But don’t worry, we are here to help you decide which product best suits your business goal.
If you are currently selling products, we recommend you take a dip in cross-selling.
What is cross-selling?
When you cross-sell, you suggest an additional product to a customer. Make sure that the additional product you offer to the purchaser increases the value they get from your store.
For example, if a customer is willing to buy a computer, you offer them complementary products. In this case, you could suggest screen protectors, cases and bags, speakers, etc – in other words, something that helps them get more out of their computer – and also results in a more profitable sale.
Now, think of what you are going to cross-sell. How? Take a look:
Take some time out of your day, sit down, and write whatever comes to mind. You never start with a blank page – your head is already full of excellent ideas. Trust me, something good will come up.
- Browse other shops
Don’t browse once, or twice, browse frequently. Why? Trends change, and you need to be aware of that. Check other shop’s offerings, best-selling lists, and promoted products. Amazon Best Sellers or AliExpress Most Popular Products are examples of where you should start your browsing.
- Ask friends and family
Talk with the people you're close to and ask them what they think about trends to get a wide variety of ideas.
- Observe what surrounds you
Look around your house; stay alert and spot every opportunity. What products would make your life easier? Are there any products you can’t live without? Don’t forget that Howard Schultz came up with his coffee shop idea and later on, Starbucks was born.
Tip: Don’t get tangled up in details. All ideas will require a test; your goal is to come up with as many ideas as possible.
Filtering your product ideas
We figured out that the perfect eCommerce product price is from $40 to $60 (at a 200% markup). Taking into consideration this price range, there is a good percentage of profit obtained, and you can still cover your marketing costs of up to $20 per sale. Therefore, avoid prices below or above this rate in order to allow customers to buy your goods at a reasonable price while also allowing you to make a profit. It’s worth clarifying that when you are going to purchase your products to sell, take into consideration the Minimum Order Quantity.
When determining the cost of your products, don’t forget that our minds perceive every price. Consequently, bear in mind the following psychological pricing tips that will help you:
- Charm pricing
Even though this tip is a widely known phenomenon, it’s unusual to see eCommerce businesses that fail to utilize this strategy in their online stores: the power of using 9 instead of 0 at the end of prices ($29.99 instead of $30.00).
- Small fonts
It’s proven that if you show the price of your products in smaller fonts, it converts better than larger-font versions under the same display values.
- Shortly-pronounced prices
Did you know? The number of syllables in the text version of a price (how we read and pronounce a price) affects the decision-making process of an online buyer. Take a look: $36.55, or “thirty-six-fifty-five” vs. $38.16 “thirty-eight-sixteen.” $38.16 will convert better every time.
- Marketing strategy
So, if your primary goal is accomplishing a specific business objective, you must establish a winning Marketing Strategy. Effective results depend on the right type of strategy, and the right kind of strategy can turn leads to higher sales, brand recognition, higher market penetration, excellent customer service, among other factors. This strategy represents the “road map” for achieving higher results. When you develop a Multichannel Marketing Strategy, you define a plan and come up with the resources required to meet business sales targets.
You should also decide which marketing channel will be best for selling your product; think about your resources (time, money, knowledge), select one or two marketing channels, and cross out all ideas that don’t suit those channels.
Remember: no strategy, no new customers!
- Google Trends & Keywords Tools
Both Google tools help you to see what products are trending on the market and they also let you check the demand for your product ideas.
Type each product name and their variations into the Google Keywords Analysis tool. Afterwards, look at the competition scale, global and local searches, and check the trends. Is the trend increasing or decreasing? Are there any patterns? Do you see any spikes?
Conclusion: Avoid product categories that have little or no search traffic (less than 500 monthly searches).
When deciding on a product, you have to check whether the product you’re about to start selling is already widely available.
Find out who is your competition, check their pricing strategy, research their popularity/traffic, and what marketing channels they are using. Then, cross out all products ideas that already have tremendous competition.
Select your channels
It's common to feel overwhelmed when trying to define where to promote your marketing message. This is because there are numerous channels that let you transmit exactly what you want to say. While it might be tempting to try everything at once, all you’ll be doing is wasting precious resources on channels that aren’t guaranteed to work.
Take a look at some useful channels that might help you:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of marketing rules for increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. Otherwise speaking, this practice makes your website user-friendly, faster and easier to navigate.
Why does SEO matter? If you don’t optimize your website for search engines, you risk losing potential customers to your competitors, as their websites appear higher in search engine results than yours.
- Online Advertising
Online Advertising, also known as Internet Advertising or Digital Advertising, is a marketing strategy that allows you to reach potential customers by advertising a message on the internet such as banners, pay-per-click ads, pay-per-call ads and pop-ups in e-newsletters, on compatible websites, online versions of newspapers and magazines, among others.
This is one segment of internet marketing where a company sends promotional messages or products and/or services to a particular group of people via email. Unlike spam, direct email marketing reaches those interested in your business’ area of expertise.
Organize your inventory
You should know that an effective multi-channel eCommerce involves more than only listing your products on online platforms. But what is more important than having my products listed? Well, the answer is simple: having an organized inventory. Without a proper inventory management, you risk losing money due to overstocking, increasing delays and cancellations due to inefficient fulfillment processes, among other pitfalls.
Why should you have an inventory?
- To Manage Stock Levels: Having a record of items involved in delivering, ordering and storing is important if you value certain business decisions. You could save money while still delivering your products on time, cease to over-order items, and free space for other items.
- To Anticipate Demand: The market behavior of some items changes based on cycles: time of year, seasons, holidays, day of the week, and so on. If you have the last cycle’s inventory record on a given item’s amount of orders, then you can make an informed decision on how much to buy this time around.
- To Control Theft and Loss: Keeping track of your goods and equipment as part of regular business operations shows you're paying attention. This detracts theft and minimizes losing items. If loss or theft does happen, you'll have information on when and where it happened.
- For Insurance: What would your insurance company want to know in case of misfortune? An off-site inventory list of your assets and items is solid data on what you had.
- For Accounting: A record of your inventory can be used to provide an accountant with a value of your goods at the end of the fiscal year. If this is an annual task that you're performing, it’ll be quicker and easier if you already have an inventory list.
- Ease of Location: If you know exactly where your items are placed, you’ll be able to locate them faster, eliminating the wasted time you’d otherwise spend locating the item. You can also reorganize and optimize your item-location distribution with this data.
Attracting new customers to your eCommerce
It’s not only the way of shopping that has changed due to evolving web trends, the style of shopping and how people make comparisons of things and decide to buy or not has changed a lot over the past years.
If you are ready to increase your sales like a king/queen, don’t miss out on these crucial tips:
- Eye-catching store
If you don’t catch your customer’s eye in a second, game over! Your site must reflect your willingness, capability and track record of delivering your brand. Just because you know you are trustworthy doesn’t mean clients will believe that too: let them know there are real people behind your site.
Bear in mind that the design of your site plays an even more essential role than content does. Why? Well, online, you only have one second to grab someone’s attention in order to keep them on your website.
So, how to turn a site into a trustworthy one?
- Make sure your website is just about you and your customer. Avoid ads for off-site products.
- Provide contact information! Show your customers that if they want to contact you, they can do so.
- Provide success stories as well as reviews and testimonials.
- Add exciting information about your company.
- Free samples to Instagram influencers or youtubers.
It’s been proven! Both social networks became quite useful marketing channels for eCommerce merchants. Getting coverage from a popular blog, from a vlogger/blogger, or from the press can drive many sales to your store.
It is worth noting that it’s not compulsory to target the most successful people. In fact, the chances of getting featured are better for people with smaller audiences.
- Don’t force visitors to register on your website
You definitely don’t want to lose potential customers. If you happen to require your visitors to register and create an account to access your website, remove it. We know it’s vital to have their emails, you can ask them to complete a form later or let them purchase as a guest. This increases the conversion rate.
- Discounts, offers, and giveaways
The word “free”, or even paying less money than expected, can be as compelling as a nuclear weapon. Offering discounts on your products or giveaways in social media will undoubtedly bring more traffic to your store. Plus, you can also offer free shipping.
Fulfillment by Third-Party Logistics
If your business doesn’t have space, time, or money to operate and manage a complete warehouse and distribution network, you can cut costs and increase profits with the help of a Third-Party Logistics provider who can store goods, monitor and record inventory flows, deliver and return items to and from the customer.
Working with a 3PL like Riley Life provides you with a lot of advantages. Whether you ship small volumes or have complex distribution needs, outsourcing allows you to spend more time focusing on the other aspects of your business such as developing, marketing, and closing the sale of your products. Here are some benefits of working with a Third-Party Logistics:
- You won’t have to manage your own warehouse or inventory, and you’ll save money on costs like electricity and rent.
- There’s no need to worry about the paperwork, billing, audits, training, staffing, and optimization involved to get your goods where they need to go.
- You can focus on other areas of your business such as product development, customer relationships, marketing, and branding, while letting the 3PL staff manage the logistics.
- Third-Party Logistics professionals will ensure your needs are met by using the fastest, most efficient, and cost-effective warehousing, packaging, and shipping methods with the appropriate technology.
In short, growing your eCommerce business is not laborious. It’s critical to understand what your customers want that you’re not offering them (trends). Think outside of the box, be creative, and you’ll be highly rewarded.
Follow this guide, contribute with effort and perseverance, and we ensure you’ll grow more than you ever expected.