With the rapid growth of online services and connected users in the last decade or so, we can safely conclude that the digital age is well and truly upon us. The long standing “brick-and-mortar” businesses are considering whether to go digital or risk losing their market share. Contrastingly, virtual or “pure-play” businesses are thriving as evident from the $1,183 Billion worldwide revenue earned by this dynamic industry up until August 2016.
As you can see from the forecast, this worldwide revenue is expected to cross the $4 Trillion mark by 2020.
However, the competition for market share in the ecommerce industry in 2017 has already started with companies experimenting with all possible means to increase revenue. A successful business will always keep a healthy balance between tried and tested strategies and experimental ones.
TACTICS TO APPLY WHEN CONSIDERING ECOMMERCE GROWTH:
1) Programmatic Advertising:
With internet users seemingly spread everywhere, personalized advertising, especially for unknown businesses can be a problem. The problem with retargeting and dynamic retargeting is that it follows certain trends and targets customers or website visitors who have already visited your website or a similar page. How do you tap into the untapped? During programmatic advertising and media buying, specially created algorithms automate the buying, placement, and optimization of media inventory via a bidding system. Hence, with programmatic advertising, you’re using machines to buy optimal ad placements for your business in real-time.
2) Cross-border Ecommerce:
According to Forbes, you will get 150 times the results for regular ecommerce as compared to cross-border ecommerce. However, cross-border might be the new Promised Land. According to a survey, over 50% of respondents shopped online from international companies. In some countries, this number was up in the seventies. With global internet users exceeding the 3 billion mark, it makes a lot of sense for you to target your products globally rather than just domestically. Retail giant AliExpress.com is a fine example to gauge the effectiveness of broadening your target market globally.
3) Up-sell and Cross-sell:
Suppose your customer buys a new laptop with the latest specs. You know that in a few years he will be looking for an upgrade. You must be ready to make that pitch; whether it’s in the form of an email featuring your new line or something else.
Similarly, you know that some products quite often require accessories along with the primary product and you can cross-sell those related items along with your product rather than advertising it separately.
4) Offer Free Shipping
Although it seems like a minor detail to overlook, it can make a lot of difference to your year-end sales figures. The majority of customers are more interested in a particular product if it offers free shipping or some kind of benefit when it comes to easier and cheaper delivery. It is not wise to compete with the likes of Amazon.com on price. With the economies of scale available to these mega retailers, you will always finish second best. What would be easier is to make free shipping available for the majority of your products. Many customers cite free shipping as a reason to shop online:
(Image source: Walker Sands’ 2014 Future of Retail Study)
Therefore, this will encourage more customers to shop at your store and also decrease the possibility of leaving your website for one which offers free shipping. This also brings me to my next point.
5) Minimize Abandoned Shopping Carts
Often times during the middle of a purchase buyers will simply abandon their shopping carts making it nuisance as well as a missed opportunity for you. This might not occur to you most of the time, but you should minimize it whenever you can. If you are able to convert even 50% of your abandoned carts, then you can gain a substantial revenue increase.
Some ways to reduce abandoned shopping carts:
• Send reminder emails to customers
• Implement free shipping for most items
• Incorporate any extra charges in product price rather than showing as “extra”
• Give a discount on certain items already in their cart.
6) A Social Media Presence is Imperative
A great number of ecommerce businesses started as just a Facebook page. Now you can do much more such as use the Facebook Store app to list your products on one of the most visited websites. Similarly, spending on Facebook ads makes a lot of sense as it is much cheaper than other digital channels such as Google AdWords. Although the ROI cannot be precisely calculated, Facebook drives a lot of sales and has been a game changer for many companies simply due to the sheer number οf potential customers who visit it daily.
Similarly, businesses with a sleek looking product portfolio can gain a lot of leads from Instagram and Pinterest. The average order value from Instagram is $65, hence, attractive product photography can work wonders for you on such platforms.
7) Importance of Customer Reviews
Whether it’s on social media or on your own website, you cannot have a better reference for your e-business than social proof. Especially in this enhanced digital age where the concept of “one person records it, the whole world sees it,” is quite rampant, your brand image as an online seller is all you have. If out of fifty purchases you can persuade 30 customers to write a positive review, it will definitely increase new customers as well as repeat purchases. Encourage customers to write reviews and send your “thank-you” after they do.
(Image source: adespresso.com)
Running an ecommerce business has its fair share of complications, but if you follow some or preferably all of the aforementioned tips, you have an excellent chance of gaining a firm foothold in this massive industry which still has an enormous growth potential. With increased revenues and optimized processes, you can focus on other important things sooner than your competitors can.