As an entrepreneur, getting into ecommerce is a significant step towards growing a business and increasing profits. For those who are just starting a business, ecommerce can potentially be the foundation of a profitable company. Whichever you are, know that ecommerce is not simply putting up your products online and hoping for the best.
There is a good bit of strategy that goes into making it work. Understanding how ecommerce can affect a business is crucial in making it a success.
Before you dig deeper into the strategy, here's a great read, if you want to learn how to use email marketing for ecommerce.
What is ecommerce today?
Ecommerce is now ubiquitous to business in developed countries, but developing countries have yet to catch up with its adoption. However, things have been coming along as ecommerce has started to grow in a big way throughout Asia, especially in China.
In the meantime, mobile has pretty much become the biggest thing in ecommerce these days. However, a lot of businesses aren't converting to m-commerce fast enough to make the most of the mobile user base. With the ecommerce market becoming more competitive than ever before, this may change down the line, as businesses continue to find new ways to gain an edge.
There is also a future in subscription-based business models. Presently, there are already a number of online services that offer monthly subscriptions for a variety of things. Expect this business model to grow even more in the coming years.
Six factors in ecommerce success:
1. Regulation of product pricing
It’s natural for customers to compare prices between brands. It’s expected of entrepreneurs, as well, to be aware of how much competitors are charging for their goods. Fortunately, there are different tools available to easily see and compare prices of competing ecommerce websites, such as DataCrops and Import.io.
Various pricing strategies are employed to get the sweet spot in attractiveness and earnings, depending on the market and the kind of products being priced. For instance, one of the most common pricing strategies is keystone pricing, which is basically the doubling of wholesale price.
That usually works, but consider additional factors so the price is just right, not too high or too low. There is also discount pricing, psychological pricing, competitive pricing, value-based pricing, and so on.
2. Maintaining high quality products
For a long time, people had the notion that products from ecommerce sites were inferior quality when compared to products from physical stores. While much of that myth no longer exists these days, there is still a lot that must be done to convince customers that your products are comparable in quality as those found in malls and other stores.
Make sure you procure your products from well-known and trusted suppliers of high quality goods as well.
Your must uphold your standards consistently across the board. If you ever ship a subpar product to a customer, it will definitely be a blow to your business even if you have a return/replacement policy in place. Overall customer satisfaction is crucial to the business' continued survival, and bad product quality can break your business down.
Keep System feedback transparent to the changes in input, and corrective action must be taken as soon as possible. This is a continuing process as there are always other ways to improve.
3. Improving store accessibility
The design of your ecommerce website (online store) must accommodate all types of customers. The online store is your main tool of communicating and transacting with them. It must be able to relay information fast and concisely to evoke the trustworthiness of your business to your customers.
Accessibility is of utmost importance as it helps your business be within reach to all sorts of customers; i.e. people of different cultures, people with disabilities, etc. Being able to have your online store set to other languages can potentially widen your customer base, as long as they are a significant part of your audience. It may also be accessible to people with visual disabilities like color blindness and impaired vision, by using high-contrast visual theme and a larger font size for text.
There are also things you can do to make the online store viewed better by mobile devices, such as using responsive design and optimizing your images so they can load faster. The more you improve your website's accessibility, the more people can potentially view it.
4. Making a wonderful first impression
Users know if they like a website or not by just a glance, and that first impression usually lasts. Making a good first impression is imperative in getting more customers in your online store. Make the best, eye-catching design possible, in order to entice people into coming in and making use of your ecommerce website.
Good web design has principles you can follow that will help you convince people to take a look at what you have. It should not be too loud nor too barren. Everything on it should be easy to understand, yet maintains its own personality.
5. Securing your shipments
One of the main concerns with ecommerce for both entrepreneurs and consumers is the issue of security. With personal and financial information being handled online, there is always the potential for ecommerce websites being compromised and customer data stolen for nefarious purposes. This is especially true for credit card information that gets entered in online every single day.
Make use of SSL to secure your customers' online shopping experience. SSL ensures that transactions and data are encrypted so that there is less of a chance for them to be compromised. Two-factor authentication is also a good way to further secure your online store, and adding other verification methods (without making it too hard for your customers) should help as well.
6. Taking advantage of m-commerce
The mobile user base has grown exponentially over the last few years, thereby the need for online stores to become mobile commerce ready has become virtually mandatory at this point. If your online store is not optimized for mobile devices, then you are missing out on a lot of business.
Some of the things that make an online store optimized for m-commerce are things like responsive design with easy-to-use navigation menus, solid mobile search features, and easy checkout and payment, all done over mobile. You don't need to have a mobile app to do it, just have your website optimized for mobile if possible.
If you're looking to get into ecommerce, there is certainly no better time than now. With a public that has been getting more and more familiar with the use of ecommerce to avail of various products and services, we are going to see more amazing things through ecommerce for both entrepreneurs and consumers.
Want to learn more about how you can set up and scale your ecommerce business? Then check out this comprehensive guide, from the team at Foundr. It goes over several important topics such as picking the products, choosing company logo, or setting up the customer service. You'll definitely enjoy it.