Introduction to Ecommerce Strategy
Until a decade ago, it wasn’t possible to buy something you had not physically seen or felt. It meant taking the trouble to visit shops and outlets and find the right product that meets your requirements. For example, a particular shirt brand of a particular size may be available only in one or two shops in your area, and you need to do some legwork to know where it is. Likewise, an electronic device or appliance could be selected only after visiting a few shops and examining its features and pricing. However, the eCommerce strategy has changed the landscape.
With internet access becoming universal, payment gateways becoming secure and reliable, and rapid growth in mobile telephony, increasing the number of mobile applications, buying goods has become so easier at the click of a mouse or a scroll on your mobile. Anything from jewelry, heavy machinery, cooked food, groceries, and electronic goods can now be ordered online at your home or office at your convenience.
No wonder, more and more businesses are setting up eCommerce strategy of outfits to sell their own products or act as aggregators sourcing products from other companies and selling them. The success of Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and Flipkart all point to the enormous potential of eCommerce business worldwide. The eCommerce strategy is advantageous on account of lower overhead costs and lower distribution costs. However, it requires some planning and groundwork to get the eCommerce business going.
10 Tips to Succeed in eCommerce Strategy
The following are the different steps:
1. Create a Good Website & eCommerce Strategy
Just as in brick and mortar, having a physical space is important. Likewise, having an eCommerce website is the first important step in starting a business. It should have an attractive name that people can recall easily and, if possible, related to the type of goods we plan to sell. Sometimes, a generic name will also suffice as you may add more categories to be sold on the eCommerce site.
The homepage should be appealing but simple to use and navigate. Pay attention to the quality of the content, as it must slowly come up in Google rankings. Apart from product descriptions, photos, or videos, there must be an introduction regarding the company, its operations, and terms and conditions of sale. Educative blogs, product reviews, and news clippings can also be added to the site.
Ensure that content is original and not pulled or rephrased from other sites. It applies not only to text but videos, audios, infographics, and images too. Also, have space for user-generated content in the form of opinions, product reviews, videos, and audios. Some of the best eCommerce marketing strategies involve asking people to upload videos for a charitable cause.
2. Start Marketing Activity for the Site
Once the eCommerce site is ready and running, people need to know about the site for your sales to happen. In the initial stages, you may not have the funds to go for big media campaigns, nor is it required, as most of the promotional work should happen online. Google Adwords enables you to place ads on pages most searched for your keywords, and some traffic would happen through organic growth if the eCommerce site is search engine optimized (SEO). Use Pay-per-Click (CPC) advertising and CPM (Cost per impression) advertising in search engines wisely by selecting the most relevant keywords and bidding for them. This will enlarge your reach online and visibility to a growing number of customers who shop online.
For small businesses, having a content management system (CMS) in place would be a great advantage. Having a CMS, as in WordPress, would enable you to do away with coding requirements, and it will ensure automatic security updates to make sure the customer data and your own data are secure. Installing Plugins can help you create web forms for your customers to contact you. Ninja Forms and NextGen are good options to try out.
Email campaigns with good offers and discounts can lure traffic to your e-commerce site and lead to sales conversions. It is better to use email management software to track your results, give page templates, automate your sending process, and give delivery and open rates status. Some e-commerce companies offer monthly and yearly subscription rates for email management based on the number of emails sent.
MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, AWeber, GetResponse, and Constant Contact are some of the popular email management software in the market. It is always better to verify the email addresses before sending, have a good subject line, content with text and pictures that are well written and edited for clarity with a definitive call-to-action, such as Register, Accept, Download, Contact, etc.
3. Start Social Media Campaigns
Social media is gaining popularity day-by-day and no marketers can ignore the power of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linkedin. New products, offers, discounts, competitions, lucky draws, and coupons can all be popularized through social media. Social media players now have options to increase visitors to their website, create more likes for their posts, create more likes for the page, and generate more followers on Twitter.
It is better to stick to three or four good posts every week rather than sharing and posting the large number of postings that appear as spam for those who like your page. It is better to automate the Facebook and Twitter posts by scheduling ahead rather than spending days updating the pages.
Instagram is an ideal social media to share product photos, reviews, and user-generated content quite popular in the United States. Youtube is an ideal eCommerce marketing strategy for sharing videos of your products and testimonials on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
4. Have an Online Shopping Cart
A shopping cart app is a must for online shopping, which works with most payment gateways. Ecwid is one such app capable of seamlessly integrating with the website and social media. It can track all your sales, gives comprehensive information about the store, and allows you to add categories of goods. Payment options should be flexible, and in some cases, the cash-on-delivery option may be ideal for getting more business depending on the target persona and products sold. An effort should be made to make the checkout process simple and less cumbersome for the shopper. Registering before buying can enable them to re-login into their account and continue with the purchase procedure where they have left off.
5. Distribution and Logistics
The most important part of eCommerce strategy business, apart from the quality of goods, is the delivery of goods, returns policy, and shipping costs. In some regions, where appointing a carrying and forwarding (C&F) agent for local delivery is not possible, additional costs may be incurred in shipping the goods. As such, it should be mentioned at the time of sale whether the product has additional shipping costs. The Ecwid shopping cart app mentioned above integrates with most shipping companies, which helps integrate shipping rates into the system. By quoting shipping rates at checkout, the company saves from revenue leakage due to unexpected shipping costs. This is more applicable to global business.
Similarly, considering the growth and volume of business, it makes sense to tie up with third-party logistics providers to manage complexities. Reverse logistics is also important, as customers judge a company by how fast they handle returns and exchanges. Reducing the delivery time and delivery within the scheduled time is vital for the success of the e-commerce marketing strategy business.
6. Sell Internet-Exclusive Products
The success of Moto G and X mobile from Motorola is here to stay. The company launched its products exclusively on Flipkart.com, and it remains internet exclusive, although it has a service network covering all cities and towns in the country. None of its products are available in retail. To increase the charm of your e-commerce marketing strategy venture, better focus on exclusively available online products. It could be ethnic jewelry or garments, recycled paper, imported electronic goods, or accessories not available in retail.
7. Invest in Mobile Sales and Marketing
Many eCommerce companies are now developing mobile applications and promoting them to reach a larger audience. Surveys show that people accessing the net through mobile phones is increasing rapidly, and they are also more likely to download several apps for purchasing goods or paying bills. M-commerce, or mobile commerce, is growing exponentially at 200 percent. Therefore, the e-commerce marketing strategy players must provide product information, delivery status, click-to-call maps, and real-time notifications to customers on mobile.
8. Give Personalization a Priority
Online shoppers have different tastes, interests, and buying behavior. Therefore, catering to their needs is paramount. Even smaller players can use the newest technologies to create a unique personalized shopping experience based on their interests and preferences. Individualized promotions, personalized product selection, and shopping experiences are what they are looking for.
If a customer has shopped for a mobile phone before and is presently shopping for jewelry, they can be reminded of new offers in mobile phones which may interest them and lead to sales. Or the new offers and suggestions could also be based on their browsing history enabled through tracking cookies.
9. Wishlists and Customer Interaction
When shopping online, visitors usually forget about their wishlists. Hence, a gentle reminder may help them complete their buying process and help generate revenue for the company. Interaction with customers should be an ongoing process either through email, phone, or through SMS.
10. Defining your Niche Market
For small and medium players, establishing their ‘territory’ or niche and identifying the target audience with common interests and spending behavior is important. The e-commerce site should be tailor-made for such an audience. This is better than targeting a large database and losing focus.
Success in the eCommerce marketing strategy space depends on factors such as product quality, delivery time, returns policy, customer service, payment procedures, etc. The most basic requirement, however, is to have great content to drive readers to your site. Product descriptions should be unique; user reviews should be encouraged; optimize site load times.
It is important to have good quality photos that can be zoomed in and seen from different angles for the buyer to decide on the purchase decision. It applies to most products, including jewelry, phones, clothing, electronic products, and consumer products. Site loading times can improve by reducing the photo resolution and not putting too many photos on a page.
In the case of clothing, footwear, and accessories, body measurements and corresponding sizes should be mentioned rather than just saying Small, Medium, Large, Extra large, etc. In some cases, it makes sense for the company to have an offline presence in some cities so that those who want to touch, feel, and buy have the option to do so. One can enable this through its own outlets or through franchising to reduce costs.
The different pages could be linked, making it easier for Google to show the search results. Search engines prefer e-commerce sites that have the internal linking facility. This is possible by linking relevant pages, thus making navigation easier for the buyer.
In many e-commerce sites, you find many products displayed, but some of the in-demand products may be out of stock. It is better to have a dynamic e-commerce site that updates product outruns in real-time. This can help customers only see what is on offer.
Security is paramount in e-commerce, and implementing secure socket layers (SSL) in e-commerce site with valid certificates would go a long way in establishing credibility with search engines and customers. Most importantly, correct any spelling, grammatical, or brand name errors. Some e-commerce sites have links that lead to 404 error messages; ensure that links to external sources are functional. It is possible through Google Webmaster tools and crawling applications like Screaming Frog. Create a URL (universal resource locator ) for each page that is search engine optimized and has e-commerce strategy keywords with the name of the product and category.
Here are some further articles to learn more:
- Best Ecommerce Sites
- WordPress vs Joomla
- Ecommerce Shopping Websites
- Relationship Between E-Commerce Cloud