eCommerce is now important for your business to succeed. In some cases, it is the business, especially if the company is centered around online retail. But much like physical business, selling goods on the Internet is highly competitive.
In the United States, it’s so competitive that it’s outpacing the growth of traditional retail by at least 4% and 8% at most this year. This is based from a study by the National Retail Federation in America, where it also says that online sales will fall between $427 billion and $443 billion. It shows that online retail is loved and often preferred by buyers.
We can talk all day about big industry players are doing amazing things, but to most retailers, there’s more to discuss than eCommerce giants and their new exploits. It’s better to talk about how can you, a small business owner, can be successful in this densely populated platform. 10% to 12% of the Internet is eCommerce websites, and that’s on a global scale. Amazon, Alibaba, and the top one percent occupy 34% of all online retail sales; a lot, but not even a majority. The remaining percentage falls on small and medium business owners hoping to earn andimprove their bottom line from Internet sales.
The Holidays Offer a Glimpse of the Future
Deloitte’s 2017 Holiday Survey found that online shopping will exceed physical shopping for the first this coming Christmas season. While the survey only included US consumers, it says a lot when such an option is available to customers. Almost all key attributes swing towards the way of online retail, from browsing to customer trust to actual purchasing.
This overall optimism about online shopping should bolster your hopes for your digital store, but it won’t be an overnight success. It’s more likely that you have to refine your approach as your business grow. Be vigilant to what customers want and the changes in the industry so that you’re always ahead.
Online Business is Still Business
If you have a business, then you know the painstaking process of creating one. It was neither smooth nor easy, but you were able to start an enterprise. You need that same nous with eCommerce, where the marketplace is large and small at the same time. Small because the place is jampacked with your competition, and you can always lose a customer to them. And it’s big because even for customers who don’t live near you, you’re always a click away. Both these elements can work for or against you.
Either way, what will help you get that revenue-earning traffic?
A Good Business Sense
Any good business doesn’t settle, whether in satisfying customers or outperforming the competition. There’s always something to learn or to try. Don’t worry if you’re not the natural businessperson because it’s rare to have that talent anyway. But by continuing to learn, researching, getting advice from colleagues, brainstorming, and getting honest feedback, you will hone your business sense.
Shipping is the hallmark of eCommerce. Do it right, and people will rave about your company in social media and their friends. It’s hard to compete with a store that offer the same product because customers can just go there to buy it, and they also don’t have to wait. But if you can assure that they don’t even have to go anywhere to buy the same product, that it’s the same quality, and that it’ll be in their doorstep before they know it, you have a customer!
This can be tricky because you can’t go below the MSRP, but you also have to compete with some retailers who may offer lower prices than you. That’s why it’s important to have a pricing program that allows your customers to buy more for less without hurting your bottom line. Observe the eCommerce space you’re occupying, and your competitors’ style. You may be able to develop a new pricing strategy based on what’s common and what’s currently not on offer from other businesses.
Active Social Media Presence
Social media is invaluable. Many people live through what they can find on social media, so take the time to establish your presence there. It brings increased brand loyalty, higher converting leads, improved search rankings, and customer insights, after all. These are important to any business owner, especially when you’re trying to outdo the competition.
Exceptional Customer Service
Person-to-person service is a major weakness of online retail, and something people look for in their favourite stores. So how do you offer the same level of service to your digital customers? Increase your support channels, be active in social media, have a dedicated support center, or respond to customer chat quickly. There can be other ways for you to serve your customers better, so observe, report and execute.
Whateversector you occupy, eCommerce may provide a way to expand your business, to offer something different, or an outright advantage over your competition. Whatever form it takes, you need to make major moves and upgrades so that the digital arm of your business drives meaningful revenue to your operation and not just for show. With these eCommerce fundamentals, you have a chance to make a strong online retail presence.