With the eCommerce industry growing at a staggering rate year after year, aspiring entrepreneurs are increasingly finding the prospect of launching their own online stores a lucrative one – and for a myriad of compelling reasons. The biggest one, of course, would be the extremely high potential for long-term financial gain, as well as the lucrative prospect of easily venturing into the global marketplace by just building an amazing online store.
That said, all of that potential makes the Ecommerce industry highly competitive, so there is a need for aspiring entrepreneurs such as yourself to take a strategic approach to store creation and expansion if you are to solidify your brand’s position and generate a positive ROI. To achieve this, you will need to implement the best practices in the field, look into emerging marketplaces, and invest heavily in digital marketing to build your online reputation and improve your brand’s visibility.
Here are the concrete steps you need to take.
Research your niche, demographic, and competition
Every good business decision is rooted in diligent and methodical research, and while it might not seem all that exciting at first glance, you really do have to start this journey by researching some of the crucial aspects of your industry in order to extract valuable insights about your niche, demographic, and your competitors. This information will prove invaluable in shaping your entire growth strategy, as well as your brand identity and marketing approach. Start by settling on a niche.
You can’t hope to make a noticeable impact on a saturated niche, because the competition will overwhelm you before you’ve had the chance to say “free shipping”. Instead, find a niche with plenty of future potential, but one that is not saturated with too many competitors. Next, you can research your ideal demographic in order to tailor your brand identity, business plan, and marketing to appeal to your audience.
And lastly, don’t forget to keep a watchful eye on your top competitors. Your competitors represent a wealth of invaluable information, data you can use to develop better strategies, drive innovation and tailor the customer experience to appeal to your demographic and bring them to your site.
Don’t skimp on store design and development
The look and feel of your store is a big trust factor nowadays, so if the website feels sluggish, unresponsive, or if it doesn’t provide a seamless and intuitive browsing experience while dazzling the customer with its aesthetic appeal, you won’t stand a chance against the big players in your field. The fact of the matter is that your store needs to showcase its value and worth the second a potential customer lands on your site, and that can only be achieved with professional design and meticulous programming.
First up, choose your Ecommerce platform carefully. You need a platform that’s optimized for your needs and long-term goals. Specialized eCommerce infrastructures such as Shopify or Magento, for example, are great for this purpose. Next, choose your hosting plan carefully, as you will need to ensure stellar performance and non-stop uptime.
And finally, be sure to optimize your store’s visuals to evoke the right emotional response from your visitors. Colors, images, and your brand’s visuals will play a big role here, as these elements are instrumental in building trust, and capturing the attention of your audience.
Expand into emerging online marketplaces
In order for your eCommerce business to grow in the long term, you need to be on the constant lookout for emerging marketplaces and niche opportunities. It’s not just about boosting customer acquisition in your native field, or improving customer retention (although these are crucial metrics as well), it’s also about expanding your scope of work and broadening your product offering to appeal to new demographics.
For example, big business is currently on the rise in the online realm, with companies selling specialized products such as oilfield equipment increasingly selling in the online marketplace and thus catering to a global customer base. This also means that B2B eCommerce is on the rise as a result, so it would be a wise decision for growth-oriented leaders to exploit these opportunities before other competitors make their move. Always keep an eye out for emerging markets and product fields, and don’t be afraid to act.
Focus on customer retention over acquisition
Yes, it’s important to grow your customer base over time, but it’s more important to nurture existing shoppers and transform them into lifelong brand followers and advocates. Simply put, there is no better way to boost word of mouth marketing and elevate your brand’s reputation than to build a community of loyal customers, plus it’s way cheaper.
It’s no secret that acquiring a new customer can cost up to five times more than nurturing an existing one, so be sure to inspire your old customers to come back by delivering and over delivering on marketing, customer service, loyalty programs and discounts, and personalization.
Invest heavily in digital marketing
And lastly, don’t think that people will learn about and flock to your site just because it’s there. The Ecommerce field is a competitive one, so you need to employ all of the effective digital marketing tactics to put your brand on the online map. Be sure to invest heavily in SEO, SEM, social media management, content marketing, influencer marketing, user-generated content, promotions and contests, and more in order to inspire and incentivize potential shoppers to visit your site and make the decision to buy.
Entering the eCommerce industry is one of the best ways to build a thriving online business and pave the road to a wealthy future, but only if you implement the best practices to develop your competitive edge. With these tips in mind, you can go ahead and build an amazing online store and execute a cost-effective growth strategy.
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Author Bio – Jacob Wilson
Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.