So you want to grow your ecommerce business?
At any point in the lifespan of your business you will likely want to be further along than where you are now, whether you have just opened the doors of your business, or whether you are 5 or 10 years old.
As a CEO, the feeling can come when you check the monthly reports and things aren’t quite as expected – but you seem to be busier than ever, as if there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day.
Social media campaigns aren’t getting traction, and there’s little feedback from email promotions. There’s that gut instinct that things could be better, and you are not sure what it is. Perhaps you are seeing activity from your competitors which is making you think you should be doing more.
There are specific elements to an ecommerce business that need attention to meet the growth targets you want from your business, in the timescale you desire, so let’s take a look at them.
Don’t set limitations on where you can sell your products. Your ecommerce business can sell to anyone, anywhere in the world so go for it! We are in an era where customers are not necessarily segmented by where they are in the world. If your target client operates in USA – then create the systems and payment processes to attract them to shop from you. Trust is a huge factor in encouraging international sales, and showing partnership with global brands and payment gateways goes a long way to overcome a potential fear factor of buying from another country. Being clear about returns and refunds is key. And, as I’ve said before, make your shop work on mobiles.
2: Understand Who Your Ideal Client Is.
If I was to ask you who your ideal client was, or who is your target audience, would you be able to answer? By the way, the answer isn’t everybody!! The online market place is a busy busy place and you need to be marketing your business at a very specific group of people/businesses so they will be able to find you. Once you have a clear picture of who you want to buy your products, we can then start looking at setting specific targets to reach those customers.
3: Set Clear Targets.
Now I’m going to assume that you have set your long term goals for your business, and understand your company’s mission, and strengths and weaknesses. Here I am talking specifically about tracking your day to day business operations. If you are not doing this already, look at the following as a benchmark so you can spot areas which need attention. Revenue, average order size, conversion rates across devices, as well as revenue per channel all help identify the key areas were growth is possible. I would also add here customer service. You may wonder how you track this, but having a clear process for obtaining customer feedback is becoming a key determiner for the growth of your business as your existing customers in today’s economy are going to be the most powerful mouthpiece for your business. Lastly don’t forget marketing targets – include in this subscribers to your email list and followers on your social media pages. Whatever you decide to track, keep it simple so its usable and track weekly.
4: Are You Automated?
You want to create a personalised service, but you are struggling to keep this up as you grow your ecommerce business. I find businesses are shying away from workflows and templated messaging systems, but they can still be personal to the customer. If you have created your target audience, how about when you receive an enquiry using a messaging bot to ask some questions to qualify them, then you can mark important the enquiries that you want to answer immediately, but be helpful and point people in the right direction for general information if needed. Businesses like Amazon and Netflix have become successful because they are available 24/7. Now I am not saying that you need to employ staff to monitor activity throughout the night – use electronic tools available. Using a system that can help customers give them the information they want, when they want, leaving you to the task of growing the business.
5: Connect Your Channels of Communication
I see so many ecommerce businesses running purely on social media – how fantastic is that! Agreed, in this day and age you don’t necessarily need a dedicated shop on a website. Yes its where your customers will likely be hanging out, and its great to do your business on social media. But, and there are some pretty big buts here, who holds the data and are you tracking conversations. Here’s the thing. Run your business on social media and social media channels will hold and control your data. They control your visibility, and control the conversation. Create a system that uses the power of social media channels, but leads everything back to a system that you own, and control. Tomorrow the algorithms may change, and you could lose over 50% of your visibility. Running everything back to your system, with everything all in one place, means you can track, measure and create strategies about where your business is going, deliver the content that your customers want to read about, provide the solutions and generate growth.
6: Are you Focused on The Customer?
Sometimes we forget when we look at statistics and numbers and measurements that at the core of our business is our ideal customer, and all our metrics will improve if we start giving the customer what they want. This means making it easy to give them answers to the questions they are asking. As customers ourselves we get information from Google, YouTube or Facebook, so are you making it difficult for your customer to obtain information from you. Have we created a personalized customer buying experience – I mean communicating with them how they want to on the channel they are present in, paying the way they want to pay, and shipping in a timescale they want? Customers are less patient than they used to be, and they move in alignment with technology advances at a pace so much quicker than businesses are often able to – its easy for businesses to fall behind and its important to engage however the customer wants to whenever the customer wants to and anticipate what the customer wants.
7: Be Mobile
The statistics regarding the way people are using mobiles for shopping is staggering, and yet so many shops selling online think it is acceptable to just have their site working online. I ask is your website mobile friendly and they will say yes it works on a mobile. When I click on it, the desktop site has just been resized. Ok it works but frankly you wouldn’t want to buy anything from it! Each device needs to have a website designed to work on that specific device. Reams and reams of text on a mobile sight isn’t that attractive, its hard to read and people aren’t interested. So you need to work on having the right amount of text and images on the mobile site. As few steps as possible to checkout and avoid steps that take the customer of to another place. Personally I am not a huge fan of asking people to register before they’ve bought something, it can be an additional pain in the proverbial for a customer who is shopping on the move, which the reality is that’s how its happening. Have the ability to save the basket and return to it on another device.
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