The Covid crisis has been both a blessing and a curse for eCommerce businesses.
On the one hand, more shoppers than ever before are turning to the internet for everything from everyday essentials to big-ticket luxury items. On the other hand, the surge in custom has arrived along with a surge in competition.
Despite the fact that new eCommerce businesses are popping up at an unprecedented rate while the market is increasingly dominated by big retailers like Amazon, there is still money to be made in eCommerce.
With the help of proper preparation, thoughtful marketing, and the right selling platform, you can work smart rather than hard, and succeed in eCommerce.
1. Find the perfect* product
*First accept that the perfect product doesn’t exist.
While it’s totally reasonable to create a totally new product, research currently trending topics, or put your unique spin on an old favorite, there is no single product that is always guaranteed to bring in sales.
Instead, the most important thing you need to be able to do is to demonstrate that any product you want to sell has a potential customer base.
That means that any product-choosing process has to involve at least some basic customer-focused market research.
Most marketers will point to 5 types of customer-based market research:
- Surveys. A great way to find out what your customers want? Ask them. Offer incentives for people to complete surveys.
- Focus groups. Get more detailed information about what people want by sitting them down in focus groups and drilling into what they find appealing about your brand.
- Personal interviews. Get one on one with consumers and find out what really motivates them to show.
- Observation. See how visitors behave on your store or with your competitors.
- Field trials. This is a kind of research that works best once you’ve got your business up and running, and can experiment by introducing new options for consumers to try.
2. Stake out your competition
Don’t read, “copy your competition”.
To be original and innovative, you need to understand what other online sellers are already doing to appeal to customers. This encompasses everything from the products or services they offer to how they market their brand.
When researching your competitors, pay attention to things like:
- What kind of demographic they seem to pitch their products to
- Which marketing channels they’re using
- How they design their website to push users towards sales
- Which products they focus their marketing on
- What gaps there are in their offering you could fill
3. Define your unique selling proposition
Now you know what your competitors are up to, it’s time to differentiate yourself from them in the eyes of your customers.
You need to create a unique selling proposition (USP) that tells the world why choosing your company and your product or service is the best idea.
To make sure you can develop an effective USP, try answering the following questions:
- What pain points are your customers experiencing?
- What benefits does your product or service offer?
- What value do these benefits add?
- How can you link this value and your customer pain points?
- What distinctions can be made between your brand and your competitors?
4. Sketch out your marketing and sales plan
You might think that the first step in creating an eCommerce business is to build a website, but as I laid out in last week’s blog, it’s a bad idea to build a website without a marketing plan.
This is because your website is an integral part of your overall marketing strategy, so you need to ensure that you build it from the ground up in a way that it fits your sales plan.
Before embarking on the next steps, plan out things like:
- Who you’ll target
- Which messaging channels will you focus on
- What your USP will be
- How your messaging will sound
- How you’ll convert incoming traffic
5. Use a reliable eCommerce platform
A major pitfall that too many budding eCommerce sellers fall into is not thinking seriously about where to build their store.
With all you’re doing to create your business, develop your products, and reach your audience, choosing the right eCommerce platform might sound like an afterthought, but it’s as important as any other element of your business.
When choosing an eCommerce platform, keep the following questions in mind:
- Does it have the right features for you to create the site and display your products as you want to?
- Is it simple and easy to use the builder and eCommerce functionality?
- Does it have integrated marketing tools that help you reach your audience easier?
- Is the shopping experience straightforward and efficient for your customers?
- Does it have the flexibility to let you iterate and grow?
- Is all of this available at a price you can afford?
If you’re launching your first eCommerce store, I would highly recommend considering Zyro. Compare it to pretty much any other eCommerce platform with the above questions in mind, and I think Zyro will be the solution for you.
6. Create an unforgettable website
Ok, now it’s time for you to get your website together. Your website is the center of your online presence, so it needs to represent your brand and products right.
At its very basics, a good eCommerce website should include the following:
- Compelling landing pages. These are the first pages your visitors will experience. Make sure they’re getting people in the mood to shop.
- A clear conversion flow. How will you take visitors from your landing page through to checkout?
- Exciting product listings. Be as descriptive as possible, and use language that will get your visitors interested in your products.
- High quality images. Give people the opportunity to see exactly what they’re buying.
- Clear terms. Don’t leave your shopping guessing about returns or delivery. Make all terms clear and easy to find.
Don’t forget, Zyro makes it easy to create a professional eCommerce site in minutes.
7. Tell the RIGHT people about your business
Remember when I was talking about working smart, not working hard? The place where that comes into sharpest focus is when we’re talking about marketing.
Smart marketing isn’t about plastering your business on every street corner so that as many people as possible hear about it. Instead, it’s about working out who is most likely to buy something from you, and spending your time and money converting them.
To conduct a low effort, low cost, high impact marketing campaign, I recommend you consider doing the following:
- First, understand who your target demographic is.
- Next, determine the most likely place you can reach them. Is it on social media, via YouTube ads, or maybe they listen to influencers?
- Create ads that really appeal to your core demographic, and place them where your potential customers will see them.
- Start selling, and be sure to capture as many metrics about who visits and how they behave.
- Run ad retargeting campaigns, focusing your attention on visitors who didn’t make a purchase.
- Update your website based on user behavior to make it more likely visitors convert.
8. Offer unparalleled customer support
Zyro has become known for its Customer Success team, and it’s a big reason customers choose to use our platform and end up staying.
Our philosophy is that our customers’ success equates to our success, so we view ourselves as partners in helping them create their website and online presence geared towards growth.
This is a philosophy that any small business can learn from. Make sure that your customers feel valued and supported at every step of their journey, and your investment of time and energy will come back to you tenfold.
9. Learn to experiment and adapt
This last point is simple, and I won’t go into too much detail because the details are going to be subjective to your company and aims.
However, above all else, I recommend that you stay flexible and responsive.
Influencer marketing pulling in users but YouTube ads underperforming? Don’t focus on making YouTube work, just pivot your efforts to influencers.
A core product failing to sell, but a smaller product seeing massive sales? Put the more sought-after product front and center of your website and campaigns.
There’s still tons of money to be made in eCommerce by those who are willing to try and prepared to be proactive.