According to comScore, as of the second quarter of 2017, eCommerce accounts for 17.5% of consumer spending. It seems that every 6th U.S. dollar is spent online, which likely inspired many to hop on the eCommerce train and profit from this rising shopping trend.
And what motivated shoppers to forget about the trips to the mall and do it all from the comfort of their own home? The answer is simple – this alternative saves time, energy and money while providing a greater variety of products to choose from.
eCommerce does come with a multitude of benefits: global reach, greater audience, longer working hours, reduced costs, scalability, etc. Nevertheless, those who are looking to start a venture of their own have to look at the drawbacks as well (like the competition and technical issues which arise) and have to be set a solid base from the very start in order to thrive in a densely populated online market.
Selecting the Right Industry
With a multitude of products available, small business owners find it difficult to decide which ones will bring them higher profit and return on investment. While you might have a niche in mind that you wish to target, we want to draw your attention to several important aspects to consider prior to making a final decision on the products you are going to distribute:
- Price – First-timers either opt for products that can be sold at a low price and never manage to reach positive ROI, or the more expensive ones, which usually results in potential customers calling customer services to get some answers before making a final purchase decision (and setting up customer support required time and money). So far, shoppers have reported feeling most comfortable when it comes to placing an order in $100-200 range.
- Local availability – It’s best to offer products that haven’t arrived to the brick and mortar stores in your area. Chances are they haven’t flourished in your in the region yet because there is no need for them (but if the need arises, you will be the only one the shoppers will turn to).
- Shipping size – It’s simple: larger products have higher shipping costs. This will likely affect your sales since customers highlight free shipping as one of the greatest incentives to shop at a particular eCommerce store. Takeaway – start small and introduce larger items after building a reputable name in the industry.
Setting up a Website
The website is the cornerstone of your business, and setting up one for your eCommerce needs is a topic one can elaborate on endlessly, but for now, we want to point out 3 most important aspects to keep in mind:
- Domain name, hosting and security – It is advisable to match your domain and your business name as, on the one hand, your customers will remember it more easily, and on the other, this decision will help boost your SEO efforts. Furthermore, it is of utmost importance to set up an SSL Certificate to encrypt sensitive data.
- Web design – Your eCommerce website is the online representation of your business, and to separate yourself from the sea of competitors, ensure you hire pro designers who will create a website that will leave a lasting impression. With years of experience, they will know precisely how to position the website elements to highlight your products and/or services.
- Shopping cart – A reliable software will allow shoppers to browse your website for ideal products and select the ones that appeal to them the most with ease. If you choose the software right, you will not only get the tool to help you control the inventory, but also calculate taxes and set up shipping.
Nevertheless, all your efforts will be in vain if you don’t set up a solid marketing strategy that will boost your online visibility and drive greater traffic to your website. The largest portion of your advertising budget should be reserved for digital marketing, as it offers various options that promise fruitful results, like search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing. Online marketing enables you to clearly define your buyer persona, locate them on a specific platform and find the right way to target and approach them.
Time to Take Action
Upon crossing all to-dos from the above list, it is time to embark on an eCommerce journey. While there are way too many things to take care of prior to the launch of the website, note that this is only the beginning. Most importantly – remember to track your sales, product’s popularity, customer journey through the sales funnel from the very first purchase in order to tweak your offering and/or marketing strategy to bring greater return on investment in the future.