How to Gain Winning Traction to Succeed In Your E-Commerce Business

By Smith Willas

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The internet revolution has shaped the world in many ways, and as a result, it is transformed almost beyond recognition in the past few decades. But the most significant impact of technology in the business landscape is the creation of an ecosystem called “e-commerce”.

E-commerce is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. The way it has impacted people’s lives, one can only expect its upward trajectory and rapid growth even more boisterously. Many entrepreneurs have grabbed this opportunity for success and sustainability, while a lot of other budding entrepreneurs are finding e-commerce promising and intriguing. According to a report by Research And Market, between, 2018 and 2021, retail E-Commerce sales are expected to maintain a double-digit pace. Also, M-Commerce sales are projected to nearly double over the same time period.

Now the real question is: how to run an online store successfully?

To answer it, let us tell you a hard fact – 9 out of 10 e-commerce startups fail due to some critical mistakes made in a launch phase. The three common reasons for the failure of an e-commerce business are:

  • They don’t have any idea of what to sell
  • Worrying about failing prevents business owners from starting
  • They have an idea but don’t know how to realize it

Here are the winning ideas for succeeding in an e-commerce business:

  1. Evaluate your idea and choose a niche

This is the most important step; this is where you are sowing your seeds and planning to never look back. But even if you have a product idea in mind, how do you know if it will sell? There are different numbers of ways to validate whether you are really selling something people want. To begin with, nothing is more important than customers seeing the value in your product and exchanging money for it. Market research, surveys, and feedback from friends and family can point you in the right direction. Exploring the current market can also help you mitigate risk and build confidence in your idea.

Competitive analysis can play a key role as well. If there are competitors out there, you’ll at least confirm there’s existing demand for what you’re selling. Another good strategy to validate the viability of your idea is to analyze demand and search volume. “Google Trends” could be an ideal starting place. This is a free tool that allows you to see how often people are searching for the product you’re selling.

A crowdfunding campaign can be extremely helpful to see if there’s a demand for your product. It gives you a firm timeline for focusing your efforts and reaching your goal. Thus, doing the initial legwork is very important for testing the waters. It will give you the confidence necessary to put yourself out there.

  1. Put your focus on customers

Once you have finalized which products will make a cut, your focus should be centered around your customers. The fact is customers are the pillars of any business and developing a winning customer service strategy will give you a solid head start. When it comes to e-commerce business, you will not survive the fierce competition if you don’t focus on customer experience (CX) across all the aspects. A good CX is the one when you engage your customers from well before the sale to well after the sale by delivering on the lines of your brand promise. Even without face-to-face interaction, there are so many ways to offer exceptional service online. Consider the following tips to spruce up your CX:

  • Offer appropriate pricing, give free shipping on certain occasions, and make the checkout process easy with simplified shopping carts.
  • Offer easy return policies. Well, the easier this policy is for customers, the more likely they are comfortable in making purchases.
  • Request their feedback because you can further work on that to make the process seamless.
  • Consider the CX through the eyes of consumers to make sure it is easy, friendly, and personal.
  1. Search for manufacturers with excellent products

After brainstorming and determining which products you want to sell, it’s time to find out who your suppliers are. Choosing online wholesale providers for your e-commerce business is a critical decision. It can affect your business in a number of ways, such as affecting your ability to compete on price, timely delivery of products to customers, and final margins. That is why it's important to consider factors like price, customer service, product portfolio, trending products, and reliability. However, the wholesale industry is largely scattered that includes a variety of categories, including apparel, food, and beverage, medical and electronic goods, just to name a few. If you want to sell trending products in 2018 and beyond, the following avenues could be extremely helpful for you to find the right manufacturers and suppliers:

  • Google Shopping: Google Shopping is a powerful search engine that looks for only physical products that are sold on the Internet. It consists of highly relevant information who the sellers are and what are they offering. According to a report, Google Shopping ads produce over 85% of retail paid search clicks. To have your products featured on Google Shopping, you need two platforms: AdWords and Google Merchant Center. Google Merchant Center is where your product feed lives. AdWords is where your actual shopping campaigns live.
  • Directories: There are many online catalogs of suppliers that facilitate the search of manufacturers. There are thousands of them, but some need a mention here, for example, Worldwide Brands is one of the longest-running and well-known directory of wholesale suppliers; SaleHoo has over 8,000 dropship suppliers that manufacture and sells products at wholesale suppliers, and WholesaleCentral provides free search and contact options to buyers looking to find suppliers.
  1. Create an engaging website

You have chosen your products and finalized several manufacturers to liaison with, now what? Create a website!

There are countless e-commerce websites today, but you have to ensure your website design should be customer-friendly. From a reliable web hosting like hostpresto to a secure payment gateway, your online storefront has to have everything that makes it at par with other online businesses doing the same thing. A well-optimized website allows customers to find and buy the products they need in just a few clicks or taps on their smartphone screen. Your site should showcase the products in a simplistic and eye-catching manner. Use a powerful e-commerce platform like Shopify that can effectively manage all products, categories, verification processes and other aspects related to a functional e-commerce website. The choice of platform can give you a strategic advantage. So incorporate a “Ready. Fire. Target” approach while selecting an appropriate platform.

To provide a better shopping experience, your website should have a responsive web design. It’s a unique solution that offers a standardized online shopping experience for all consumers. The number of mobile users is growing at a blinding pace. At the moment, 52.2% of global web traffic originates from mobile devices. Since almost half of these people are online shoppers, your prospective customers should experience all the benefits of responsive design.

Another crucial thing to consider regarding your site is it should have a better speed. For most of the people, time is money and every second count. You must have noticed how frustrating it feels when a website takes too much time to open. Ideally, your site’s loading time should be under 5 seconds. If not, it will potentially hurt your position in search engine result pages (SERPs). By optimizing images, and other elements that are going to be loaded upon customer arrival, a good mobile design will make your website faster.

  1. Use social media to your advantage

Social media is a powerful tool for selling your products online. Today, there are billions of users on social media who can help build a community around your store, thereby making it a cost-effective proposition. It is increasingly becoming like an oxygenated blood for businesses, especially e-commerce companies. An effective social media marketing represents a real value. Social networks offer new ways to reach first-time customers, engage and reward existing customers, and showcase the best your brand has to offer. According to a report, 74% of shoppers make buying decisions based on social media. The following social networks can be immensely helpful for you in this regard:

  • Facebook: An engaging Facebook profile is must have for your business. It has customizable marketing and tracking tools with a massive reach. There are over 2.23 billion monthly active Facebook users across the world. Such a whopping figure can be a real goldmine for your business.
  • Twitter: The potential to reach a large audience on Twitter is high and can easily be done with a properly managed and targeted ad campaign. By utilizing hashtags for product names, you can spread and track who is talking about the brand. Twitter is also an effective research tool and a powerful customer support platform.
  • Instagram: Instagram is a nice home for your products in terms of a strong visual appeal. In the last couple of years, Instagram became the go-to place for brands and celebrities, which led to the expansion of its reach quite significantly. Create a specific hashtag for your products so consumers can easily find them. Instagram is a creative hand, and creative marketing techniques will surely give you an upper hand.
  • YouTube: At a time when exceptional customer service is paramount, you can use YouTube videos to educate your customers and clear their doubts. In social media, videos are the best way to stand out. YouTube videos grab users’ attention while browsing, while their content engages them.

In Conclusion

There’s no doubt about the fact that e-commerce is here to stay. It will breed competition and companies will come up with creative ideas to sell their products. But for millions of aspiring e-commerce entrepreneurs, putting their right foot forward is probably the most difficult and important step. The above tips are an attempt to show you a path if you feel e-commerce is the right place for you.  

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