Tips for Getting Into Ecommerce and Making a Go of It

Tips for Getting Into Ecommerce and Making a Go of It

Ecommerce is a rapidly growing industry and can be a great arena in which younger entrepreneurs can try their hand at starting their own company. And given how successful so many ecommerce companies are, it might even be viewed as an industry where success and profitability are guaranteed. However, the reality is that an ecommerce entrepreneur must work hard and be smart about their choices, just as any business owner must.

Steps to starting a successful ecommerce business.

There is no one guaranteed fool-proof recipe for ecommerce success – but there are steps you can take that can give you a major advantage in the ecommerce realm.

  • Start with a product that fills a need – don’t just come up with an idea for a product; look at customer demand and problems that need to be solved, then brainstorm to figure out how to provide solutions.
  • Write up a detailed ecommerce business plan.
  • Have a great website that attracts customers and is easy to use.
  • Have a memorable and snappy DBA (doing business as) name as the basis of your marketing.

How to achieve sustainable growth in ecommerce.

A strong launch is just the first step – here’s how to keep on moving and growing.

  • Tap into different marketing techniques: email marketing, pay-per-click, social media marketing, and even classic marketing methods like buying ads.
  • Maintain an impeccable business reputation for the quality of your product as well as your excellent customer service.
  • Turn customers into repeat customers using techniques like back-end sales, loyalty rewards, and promotions.

Best business practices to bear in mind.

Put the kind of effort into building your ecommerce business that you would put into creating a brick-and-mortar store.

  • Always be prompt – don’t make customers wait for a communication or an update, and get products shipped to them as rapidly as possible.
  • Communicate with customers, suppliers, partners, and employees. Don’t leave people hanging and guessing.
  • Maintain impeccable organizational practices in every aspect of your business.
  • Stay flexible and willing to learn and to make changes.

Getting into ecommerce can be rewarding in many ways, especially if you’re looking for opportunities to advance, as a younger entrepreneur. But don’t cut corners or assume that it will be easy. Instead, go into it with energy and determination, and stick with the principles that will help you succeed.

Image via Pixabay

How to Make Your eCommerce Sales Shoot Through the Roof

Do you want to make your eCommerce Business' sales shoot through the roof? If so, then listen up. This blog post will give you all of the information that you need to know in order to improve your e-commerce Business' conversions and generate more revenue for your business.

via Pexels

#1 Increase traffic on your website

The first step you will need to take to increase your eCommerce business sales is by increasing traffic on your website. The more people there are looking at the products that you have available, the greater chance of making a sale. Make sure that all keyword phrases are being targeted properly – you want to ensure that every phrase has enough searches so it can bring significant results for someone typing in related terms when they search for something online. 

Optimization must be done effectively through SEO techniques and content writing which should include keywords throughout articles or pages, so search engines pick up on them easily while crawling through websites searching out information. You can also consider contracting a custom website design company if you’d like to build a more user-friendly website from scratch. This type of marketing works well if large numbers of internet users are also using their mobile phones because Google's response time will be faster and more efficient.

#2 Create a better experience for customers

The next step that you will need to take in order to increase your eCommerce Business' sales is by creating a better experience for customers. You want to ensure that customers are having an easy time when using your website. One of the best ways that you can increase conversion rates is by adding a live chat feature for customer support, so they have someone available at all times who can answer their questions and help them with any concerns. 

A phone number should also be provided because it's hard for people to trust a website if there isn't anyone readily available to speak with live on the other side of the line. Also, ensure that you have properly built out FAQ sections where common customer inquiries will be answered thoroughly without requiring users to contact support immediately. In this way, potential buyers won't need as much information before making a purchase, increasing conversions easier overall.

#3 Amp up your digital marketing strategy

The final step that you will need to take in order to increase your eCommerce Business' sales is by amping up your digital marketing strategy. You want customers using all of their devices, including laptops, cell phones, and tablets, so they are always connected with what's happening on your website.

Your business should have a social media page for every major platform like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest that users can follow along with throughout the day because these platforms allow people around the world to connect quickly over various topics. Some companies also use LinkedIn, which gives them more opportunities for networking purposes. Once everything has been created, it's important that steps be taken daily towards keeping content fresh through updates about new products available, sales, or anything else relevant occurring with your company.

Biggest challenges in e-commerce business growth

Over two billion people purchased their goods and services online in 2020 alone. While this makes e-commerce an excellent business opportunity, it also means you’re facing a lot of competition for those customers and challenges unique to online operations. With the likes of Amazon and Alibaba dominating the market and the e-commerce industry expanding at a rapid pace, growing an e-commerce business is no easy feat.

Like any business, the main objective is growth. But even if you’ve taken advantage of the move from brick-and-mortar stores to e-commerce to capitalize on a new revenue stream, steady growth isn’t guaranteed. You’ll not only need to figure out how to carve out a portion of that market for yourself but also learn how to overcome common e-commerce challenges. 

Keep reading or use the links below to go directly to a specific section that addresses a problem you’re currently experiencing.

1. Having the wrong product mix

Choosing the right product mix is critical to long-term success. But in a highly competitive market, it’s virtually impossible to have a completely exclusive offering unless you manufacture and sell products directly to the consumer.

It’s common for businesses to invest in a product range they think customers will want but that doesn’t actually align with their target buyers’ needs or preferences. Likewise, many businesses put their faith in certain products only to find out that the same or very similar items are available elsewhere, cheaper.

If you find yourself with products that aren’t selling, rest assured that the majority of businesses go through a period of trial and error before settling on a product range that’s right for their customers. To mitigate the risk of costly missteps, however, make sure to:

  • Do a thorough market and competitor analysis, so you know what products are already out there before making an investment.
  • Define your target customer’s needs and preferences, so you can accurately evaluate if a product serves the right purpose.
  • Consider how you can differentiate your product mix to offer an alternative that’s a better value, better quality, or a more innovative solution to their problem.

2. Not understanding your customers

In a perfect world, your customer base would be a distinct group of people who share the same behaviors, preferences, and interests. However, in reality, most customers will readily switch from brand to brand as their needs change, your offerings change, and as competitors’ offerings change. This can make forming a reliable picture of your customer base a challenge.

Reporting and analytics are invaluable for tracking your customers’ behaviors, demographics, and actions on an ongoing basis. These reports and insights are often provided by tools such as your customer relationship management (CRM) software, inventory management software, or e-commerce platform. 

You should analyze this data regularly. With the most up-to-date information, you can ensure you have the best understanding of current customer behavior and tailor your sales efforts accordingly.

3. Inability to handle multiple sales channels

Expanding your e-commerce business to multiple sales channels is one of the biggest challenges in e-commerce, no matter what you’re selling. This is especially true if you don’t have the right setup in place to properly manage all your inventory and orders. Having your own e-commerce store, plus other sales channels—Shopify, eBay, etc.—can be a lot to keep track of.

Before you make any major business decision regarding multi-channel selling, it’s imperative to ensure you have the right workflows in place. Streamlined operations enable a better customer experience and increased customer satisfaction, and also provide a solid platform for growth.

A cloud-based order management system like QuickBooks Commerce acts as a single source of truth (SSOT) for all your data, which is critical as your business expands to include more working parts. By having everything organized in one place, you can keep track of e-commerce sales across platforms and efficiently manage each channel. 

4. Inventory management problems

Overstocking and understocking your products might seem like an unavoidable aspect of selling goods. However, if it’s a regular occurrence, it’s cutting into your bottom line. Having too much stock sitting around keeps your money tied up, meaning your cash flow is restricted. When that inventory becomes dead stock, you may end up taking a complete loss on remaining goods.

Not only are overstock and out-of-stock problems costly for growing businesses, but they also provide a poor customer experience and contribute to a negative brand reputation. Online shoppers want to buy from businesses who have what they need when they need it. If you’re constantly running out of popular items on your e-commerce site, your customers are likely going to look elsewhere.

Utilizing a robust inventory management system is the key to maintaining ideal stock levels. With an automated solution, your inventory levels are constantly updated as sales are made, allowing you to keep track of stock. With automated inventory tracking, you no longer have to worry about manual data entry, which can be time-consuming and inefficient. Before dedicating to one system make sure you’re asking the right inventory management questions for your business.

5. Setting prices

Pricing is a key aspect of launching e-commerce business and making sales. If your pricing is too high, online shoppers will simply turn to a competitor if there are other products similar to yours on the market. On the other hand, if your pricing is set too low, you’re losing out on revenue, which can be detrimental to your bottom line. This is why pricing is notoriously one of the biggest challenges in e-commerce. 

So, how do you find the ideal price points for your goods and services? It starts with market research and ends with establishing a well-thought-out pricing strategy. 

In addition to pricing your products in a way that helps you turn the most profit, you also need to consider other factors, such as shipping costs.

6. Marketing and driving traffic

You can take advantage of online marketplaces like Amazon to get your products in front of customers who are specifically looking for goods like yours. However, that shouldn’t be your only strategy. If you’re selling on several different sales channels, you need to be driving traffic to them, especially if you have your own e-commerce site.

The problem is that many small businesses struggle with marketing efforts. You’ll either need to invest the time to learn about marketing strategies or work with a professional marketer, but either way, it’s essential for e-commerce success. Some of the key digital marketing initiatives you should consider include:

  • SEO (search engine optimization) to help you get your business to the top of the search results. 
  • Social media marketing to expose your brand to new customers and let current customers know about updates to your offerings.
  • Email marketing to retarget previous visitors, send reminders about online shopping carts, and send coupons to reward customer loyalty.

Another tactic e-commerce companies have had success with is influencer marketing. Look into your options and see what will realistically fit your budget, to figure out where to get started.

7. Failing to establish your own e-commerce website

Relying on online marketplaces to make all your retail sales for you puts you at a disadvantage. These e-commerce marketplaces and stores have countless products just like yours, meaning your brand can get lost in the sea of offerings. In this case, so much of the process is out of your control.

While you should keep selling on these marketplaces, you should also create your own site. Having your own e-commerce website gives you freedom and the opportunity to establish your brand. 

With your own e-commerce site, you can:

  • Optimize the shopping experience for your core customers.
  • Emphasize what makes your brand different.
  • Have complete control over how your brand is presented. 
  • Establish your own return and refund policies.
  • Choose which payment methods you want to accept and how payment is processed. 

When you set up your business for online sales, invest in a high-quality design upfront, complete with user-friendly navigation and mobile-friendly functionality. Doing so will not only help set you apart from other online retailers, but it will also help you cater to the Google algorithm.

Reasons To Use A Web Developer

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When creating an online presence for your new business you may be first thinking about how to create the perfect website.  A website provides a window to your business in the same way as a shop window would. It allows people to browse and see what you offer as well as what you stand for, and they can make a decision here whether or not to give you their business. 

Creating a good website for your brand is so important and it can have a huge impact on the success of your company. This is why creating the best website you possibly can to showcase your company is crucial and today we want to discuss how you can do this for your audience. 

A web developer is someone who will take a brief from you and create a website that meets your needs as a company. A web development professional will be able to use their tools and know how to make a stunning landing page to showcase your brand the best way, and ensure that customers will choose you over other brands. Today we want to talk about some of the reasons why you should take advantage of using a web development company for your website design this year. 

It’s easier 

If you have never made a website before, the prospect of doing this can be daunting, and it can soon become difficult for you to do it on your own. There are a lot of moving parts involved in creating a great website, and although you can use pre-existing templates to get you started it can be difficult to get everything moving the way you want it to. By using a web developer to do the job for you, it takes the stress away from you and it will make your life much easier. 

They are experts 

It is so important that you create the best possible website for your users, and that it runs smoothly and loads quickly when people visit. By using a professional WordPress web developer, you will have an expert in the field on hand to take on the task for you and they will be able to easily deal with any obstacles that might come their way. It will be much better than you struggling to make a website yourself and making mistakes along the way that cause issues on your website. 

You’ll save time 

One of the biggest plus points to using a web developer to create your website for you is that you will save a lot of time. For those who are inexperienced in creating a website, this process can take a long time and it will eat time out of your day where you could be working on other things. By trusting a web development professional to take on this task you will instead be able to benefit from free time to spend on other parts of your business that need your attention. 

Use these great reasons to hire a web developer for your website this year. 

What to Consider When Choosing a Domain Name

When creating your own website, there is so much that you need to take into account. Are you building this website as a part of your business? Is it a passion project? Are you just wanting a platform where you can post your ideas? Portfolio maybe? Regardless of the reason, you’ll need to know where you’ll want to have your website (such as WordPress), the hosting company, and most importantly your domain.  Your domain name is very important because this will be a part of your brand. This domain name will be how you can establish your website, but also yourself online.

When deciding on a domain name you’ll need to do a lot of research. This domain needs to be available online unless you’re willing to pay a hefty amount to purchase someone else’s domain. But your domain name should also be something that is easy to remember and doesn’t come off as spammy.

If you’re interested in having your own website, be sure to take a look at the infographic below. This will help give you an idea of what your name should be as it must tie into your brand. This infographic is a fantastic way to demonstrate how the domain name for the website should be something easy to remember, that sticks to your brand, that’s SEO friendly, and overall just a name that will help you reach the traffic your website deserves. Be sure to check it out below to learn all the ins and outs of choosing a domain name.

Infographic Design By How to Choose a Domain Name

A Simple Guide to Choosing the Right E-commerce Platform

Choosing the Right E-commerce Platform in 2020

If you're looking to launch a small business selling items or services on the internet, you need to build an online store. And now is the perfect time to do that. The e-commerce industry is booming and expected to top $4 trillion this year.

But if you want the best possible outcome from your online ventures, you need to pick the right software for your shop. Choosing the appropriate platform is an important decision that can make or break your business. The thing is that different marketing strategies need different platforms to succeed. Software that's good to promote cool online games like Booster Slot would simply not be as effective in selling hand-made photo frames. 

The online market is full of options, and this article is here to help you make a balanced decision and pick the software that fits your business needs. We'll take a closer look at the key factors that you should look for in a platform. Sounds good? Let's dive in.

Reasons to Use E-Commerce Software

The thing is that anyone who wants to stay competitive in the online world has to do it via an e-commerce platform. It doesn't matter whether you have a B2C or a B2B company, using an e-commerce platform for your services gives you an efficient way to communicate with clients and employees.

An e-commerce platform handles the most important functions of both the interface and back-end systems. Your inventory, CRM, web design, etc., can all be managed by the platform. It wasn't that long ago when online companies were required to hire a full IT team to develop their in-house software. But this approach has never been cheap. That's why most businesses these days have opted to use low-cost open-source platforms that are developed by specialists and can easily be customized.

The Different Types of Platforms

All e-commerce platforms fall into one of the 5 following categories:

1. Open-source platforms

Open-source platforms do not ask you to pay anything to start using them. The license is free. However, there are fees for implementation, upgrades, and development. Magento, for example, is an open-source e-commerce platform.

2. SaaS platforms

A SaaS e-commerce platform's architecture is usually based on a single codebase. A fixed monthly fee gives you server space and covers the maintenance and security costs.

3. Traditional e-commerce platforms

With traditional platforms like Hybris, Kentico, or IBM Digital Commerce, you can pay the license fee once a year. But you still need a knowledgeable IT team to build the shop on top of the provided platform.

4. Cloud platforms

Many traditional e-commerce platforms, like Salesforce, or Demandware, are using a cloud hosting system. That's why they call themselves cloud platforms.

5. DIY platforms

Building your own platform is the least common way to operate an online business these days. But sometimes a niche business has so specific needs that they need more than a regular e-commerce platform. Using a full team of developers to come up with fully customized software might be a worthy investment for them.

Main Factors to Consider When Picking a Platform

1. SEO

Picking an e-commerce platform with the best SEO features assures that your site will rank high in Google's search results. Make sure that the platform allows you to pick your own domain name, and enables clients to leave reviews.

2. Support

There are lots of things that can go wrong with your e-commerce venture, so pick a platform that provides 24/7 support.

hands with smarthphone

3. Order Management System

E-commerce platform design with features like email notifications and order tracking ensures that the orders get to the clients on time and accurately. Go with a platform that can interact with your inventory management solutions so that the customers could only purchase the in-stock items.

4. Scalability

At some point, your business will start to grow. And your chosen platform has to be able to keep up with the expansion.

5. Security

Your e-commerce software will be actively handling payments and your clients' financial information. So it needs to be as secure as possible. Look for platforms that have features like Secure Electronic Transaction (SET), Secure Socket Layer (SSL), and a safe login screen.

6. Mobile-friendliness

Have you ever looked at how an e-commerce platform works on a mobile screen? Mobile commerce is on the rise, and your shop should be easily accessible via a smartphone.

The Best e-commerce Platforms for Selling Video Games

Selling video games online is the best way to do it. All you need to reach an audience is a well-functioning online store. The most important thing in choosing a platform is analyzing the following factors:

  1. the overall expenses
  2. how many other video game sellers are using the platform
  3. shipping options

Here are some great e-commerce platform examples that people have used successfully for gaming-oriented shops:

Magento

Magento is one of the most secure platforms out there. It has a free open-source option and a paid commerce option. The cool thing is that thanks to its numerous built-in features, you don't need to install an endless list of extensions.

Shopify

No e-commerce platform list is complete without Shopify. It's a secure and user-friendly platform for selling any kind of products, including video games.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce comes with some pretty cool features like tax calculations, geolocation, and the latest shopping cart software. Plus, the platform offers its users over 4000 plugins to make the shop-building process easier.

Conclusion

These were our tips on how to choose the best e-commerce platform for your business. There's no need to go blindly with the most popular names. Instead, use the advice from this article and pick the most suitable software for your shop. And look: you don't have to get it right with the first software you use. Narrow your choices down to at least two different platforms and test them out. Soon, you'll find the one that works best for your particular business.

What are some of the best e-commerce platforms for small businesses that you've used? Let us know your favorites in the comments.  

Author's Bio

Alex Norwood is an experienced traveler and an online entrepreneur. He runs a successful eCommerce business and is always on the lookout for new lucrative ways to make money online. Traveling is Alex's passion, and he has visited over 20 countries in the last 5 years.