Teleshopping is the precursor to e-commerce as we know it. Teleshopping, which refers to ordering products over the phone, indicated the rising desire of the customer for convenient and efficient shopping to save time, effort, and money.
With the emergence of the internet, this demand for convenient shopping gave rise to the popular Amazon e-commerce store established in 1995.
Today, e-commerce has become the preferred way of doing business because of its quick and easy access. Compared to brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce redefines the shopping experience allowing for an extensive product database to help customers choose more effectively. This is because of the easy collection of data, testimonials and recommendations from other buyers, this helps shoppers make accurate and informed choices.
ADVANTAGES OF E-COMMERCE
E-commerce has many advantages over brick-and-mortar stores. The most obvious is the low operational costs that exclude rent, maintenance and utility costs associated with a physical store. This means that most e-commerce stores can afford to keep their prices low and not pass on a percentage of these costs to the customers. Also, there is the flexibility and speed that having an online store brings to the business. By having an e-commerce store, the business owner can instantly change product offerings, displays, and marketing materials. An e-commerce store allows you to adapt to your customers’ changing needs and the changing demands of the business environment.
Another advantage of having an e-commerce store is that employees can work from anywhere with an internet connection and keep their productivity high while working virtually. Again, since data has become a gold mine for many businesses, e-commerce websites are designed to collect tons of data about visitor’s digital footprint.
E-commerce sites can collect data on how long customers stay on the site, what they focus on and how they make purchases. That gives intelligent insight into their buying patterns. Business owners can then use this information to improve the shopping experience and turn site visitors into loyal customers. Furthermore, this data is used to know customer preferences to tailor their marketing efforts accordingly. This intelligence gives way to the power of the predictive known as predictive analytics, which is compiled by observing the unique digital footprint of individuals.
Other advantages of e-commerce over traditional stores include easy navigation as customers can quickly locate products by typing in the search bar or clicking through navigation buttons to narrow down their product search. Some e-commerce websites have inbuilt intelligence to recall customer preferences and shopping lists in the case of repeat purchases.
The convenience of shopping is another feature of e-commerce stores as orders, payments and deliveries are easily carried out. Also, e-commerce facilitates comparison shopping, allowing customers to scan several e-commerce merchants to find the best prices. They are always open and can run daily. This is a plus for the business owner as it increases the number of orders. Again, the marketing of niche products can be challenging to execute in the physical world, but e-commerce sites provide a platform for buyers and sellers of niche products to meet and transact. An example of this could be purchasing car parts for vintage cars which are no longer commercially available.
While physical stores rely on branding and customer relations to project themselves in the market, e-commerce relies on search engine visibility to generate organic traffic. Research shows that over 30% of incoming traffic comes from organic searches on search engines. This, when combined with advertisements, and social media traffic, constitutes tremendous visibility for many e-commerce businesses.
E-commerce is highly scalable because handling high volume purchases comes easily, primarily if business owners use drop shipping to enhance space efficiency.
FEATURES OF E-COMMERCE
E-commerce websites employ retargeting to keep the brand in front of the customer using cookies from previous visits to display ads. This explains why people sometimes see retargeted ads on websites unrelated to the pages they have visited. Remarketing uses the data from past purchases to send emails about promotional sales for related products.
Reviews are an essential factor for credibility in any e-commerce business. They are an advantage for e-commerce stores because people trust referrals from other customers and customer reviews are crucial in influencing the prospect’s buying decision.
Content marketing efforts are easier to execute with e-commerce. Access to educational content builds credibility and authority while opening up new markets. Videos, blogs, and other digital media content engage with your audience, and in time, they will trust your brand and feel confident purchasing from you.
E-Commerce websites make additional information readily available to customers more efficiently.
E-Commerce is a fantastic way to cater to an international market, especially using the services of international logistics firms, which allows you to price and ship your products competitively to a worldwide audience.
Flexible Payment Options
E-Commerce stores provide flexible payment options to suit customers’ lifestyle. Clients have access to multiple payment channels such as cash on delivery, card on delivery, bank transfers and internet banking. Furthermore, business owners can combine and merge payment modes with a dedicated wallet amount. This means sellers never have to lose an opportunity to sell due to limited payment options.
STRATEGIES TO EMPLOY IN SETTING UP AN E-COMMERCE
So, what strategies do e-commerce businesses employ to stay competitive and thriving in the marketplace?
Building Brand Awareness
The first is to build brand awareness, which helps the business gain credibility and trust. Trust positively impacts sales, engenders repeat purchases and helps with SEO. High-quality content is key to improving perception, and influencer partnerships are essential in promoting this content. E-commerce businesses should also consider partnering with other firms in their industry, being very active on social media and investing in paid ads.
One essential strategy is ubiquity – being everywhere. A good plan is to have a solid presence on social media while ensuring that these channels drive prospects to your website. Again, optimizing websites, images, and written content for search will guarantee that you come out tops on search engines when specific keywords related to your business are used to search.
Build an email marketing list
Building an email marketing list is an excellent way to build relationships with customers. This is because e-commerce marketing is mainly dependent on digital media, but your email list is unique to you and not third-party dependent, and though email marketing may not have immediate ROI, it always converts in the long run.
Use Social Media Advertising
Adweek posits that the return on investment from Facebook Ads for e-commerce is 152%. Facebook ads are the most prominent social media referral for e-commerce businesses. These statistics are testament to the power of social media advertising and the ability to know where your customers are on social media. Experts also posit that eCommerce business owners should try new strategies to update and continuously optimize marketing channels and the e-commerce site itself for increasing conversion rates.
Use data intelligently
It is essential to use data analytics to improve conversion rates. This means that e-commerce owners should employ artificial intelligence to gather data at several levels to improve the buyer experience for the consumer.
OTHER SALIENT FACTORS
Furthermore, the importance of excellent customer service cannot be overemphasized as this has become a potent tool for marketing for many businesses and helps build loyal customers.
Upselling is another vital strategy for e-commerce businesses. Research shows that online stores that upsell generate about 80% of their revenue from upsells and renewals, and it is five times easier to sell to existing customers than to attract new ones. Upsells are a way to offer your existing customers more value.
The portability and convenience of mobile phones have also ensured its growth as a tool of e-commerce. People enjoy shopping on their phones, and that trend continues to rise. However, although people are viewing ecommerce shops on mobile, they are not buying. Recent statistics show that desktop conversion rates were 3.91%, while mobile conversions remained at 1.61%. Why? The reason being most e-commerce sites are not mobile-friendly, and many conversion opportunities are lost due to this. So, e-commerce sites should be mobile friendly and compliant to encourage increased conversion rates.
The landing page of your ecommerce website is a great opportunity for marketing as it creates a first impression of the business. Essentially, it should showcase best-selling items and encourage your visitors to surf the website for more products.
The presence of testimonials on the landing page helps build trust in your brand and serves as a seal of approval about the shopping experience on your website. Reviews are critical because about 70% of customers use online reviews to make informed purchases.
Finally, having a live chat feature is a great tool to promote direct engagement with visitors, and this portrays the business as an efficient, human and friendly brand.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN LAUNCHING AN E-COMMERCE WEBSITE
There are several factors required to consider before you launch your e-commerce website
The first thing to consider is the barrier to market entry and how you will overcome them in your business. These barriers include a lack of trust for a new e-commerce business, online payment fraud, poor shopping experience and a lack of favourable reviews.
Market Entry Strategy
Your market entry strategy is an essential factor that will help maximise your chances of success when you launch your ecommerce. Amazon, for example, started by selling books before expanding into other product categories. Some experts suggest that beginning with a single product market is best for businesses to determine their operational procedures and test the market with leaner resources. You would need to conduct extensive research to come up with the best strategy that will guarantee your success.
Partner with a good logistics firm
You need to partner with a good logistics firm for delivery. It will enhance the customer experience for your business and help build trust and credibility.
The fourth factor will be how you position your e-commerce business competitively? Your competitors are highly accessible as they are just a click away, so positioning your business well is very crucial in the digital space.
Promote your business
Choosing the right promotional strategy that will guarantee results is also significant. Will you combine online and offline methods to gain traction or use them exclusively? It is also essential to determine how to keep your customer acquisition cost low to create top of mind awareness for your brand.
The sixth factor is to optimize your e-commerce business for mobile. This is because mobile penetration is high, and people carry out transactions through mobile phones. An e-commerce site optimized for mobile will ensure high referral and conversion rates and grow into a market leader.
Other factors to consider include choosing a domain name that is unique and easy to remember, choosing the right hosting for your eCommerce business and finding an eCommerce platform that suits your needs.
Key priorities also include payment procedures, choosing the right shopping cart software, auxiliary services like content management systems, inventory procedures, product variants software, coupons and discount codes.
To reiterate, e-commerce is defining consumer behaviour and shopping patterns now and in the future. It is imperative to apply these growth strategies to become relevant in your field of industry.
Are you looking to start your e-commerce business but not sure where to start from and what strategies to incorporate? We at The METO DIGMA have a proven track record in supporting our clients who want to move into the world of e-commerce and help promote their online brand, leading to an increase in sales.
Our team will work with you throughout the whole process. From creating a digital marketing strategy to developing and launching your website. Our goal is to harvest the latest digital trends in the industry and apply them to your unique situation to enable you to achieve your business goals. Reach out to us for a chat on how we can help you.