Running a business has been made much easier by the advent of the digital age – through the internet, it’s much easier to find funding for a business, register a brand and advertise. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easier to run a successful business. After all, while you can now do all of the above, there is a very impressive amount of competition.
The ecommerce sector is perhaps the most obvious example of a business area that can offer a path to profit. With plenty of software systems in existence to smooth the path forward, you could comfortably set up an ecommerce store in a matter of hours if you know your stuff. What’s tougher is to make a store really stand out in a world where competition can be unlimited.
Make your store truly international
International business used to be limited to either those companies too big to be limited to one country, or the ones who specialized in import/export. Surprise, surprise, that’s something that became much less the case when the internet grew to its present status. Making your business genuinely global is increasingly simple; all the more so with the present array of content management systems. Most ecommerce CMSs will allow you to set up a store which will have dedicated sitemaps for multiple countries; with just a few clicks you can be selling in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and more besides.
Of course, you’ll generally get out of these things what you put into them. You can have a store that sells to customers in Japan, but it will take a little more work to create something that appeals to a Japanese market. Take account of how trends differ in specific locations, and you can ensure your Japanese store is not just your original store with basic translations and currency conversions, but something that really lives. The benefits will be clear in no time.
Stay secure by choosing the right tools
The early days of an ecommerce business can be frustrating, as it takes seemingly minimal pressure on your site to bring it crashing down. Hackers and other unfriendly influences may well seek to target your business, as it is a lot easier to pull off a data breach against small businesses than it is to target the big pay-days available when bigger names are breached. A good CMS will help you stand strong against this, but you can never be too careful, so throw everything you can at the issue of data security.
Working with experts such as Userzoom will allow you to ensure sensitive data is kept out of reach of those who should not be accessing it. Data breaches can be fatal for a smaller ecommerce company, so don’t ever get the feeling you’re focusing too many resources on this issue – it’s one that you’ll be glad you prioritized.
Focus on market research
One major advantage of the increase in ecommerce over the past few years is the development that has gone into making it easier to make the right decisions. Any remotely powerful CMS will have tools that make market research much easier – and you will benefit by deploying these to keep your business on the right side of market volatility.
By automating your market research, you will be able to make on-the-spot changes as needed, consulting your dashboard to see real-time impacts of any moves you make. You will literally get better at selling to your target audience just by paying attention to the feedback you get.
Use special offers to your advantage
The typical ecommerce customer is someone who is unafraid to shop online, and it is safe to conclude that they are someone who understands how to use the medium to their advantage. Comparison shopping and getting the best deal are absolute standbys for the smart online shopper, and this is why it is essential to make special offers a standard part of your offering. With the right ecommerce tools, it is incredibly easy to do this, so you should use these tools to your advantage.
With a single click, you can reduce all of the items in a specific section to half-price, or set 2-for-1 or 3-for-2 deals. You can establish voucher codes which allow free shipping, money off each cart that goes above a certain limit, or a free gift when a customer makes their first purchase; these are just examples, but in reality there is an almost endless range of offers you can apply using the right software. Be prepared to let special offers be the honey that attracts customers; offering quality products on a well-curated store will seal the deal.
Make the most of social media
If someone is a regular online shopper, the likelihood is that they are also active on social media. Whether it be Twitter, Facebook, or as is increasingly common, Instagram, you need to make sure your store is harnessing the huge swathes of traffic that make purchases based on social media advertising. Make your Instagram posts shoppable, and have special social media-only promotions that persuade people to follow you on as many platforms as possible. This is essentially free advertising, something that you can’t ignore.
As well as this, seek to construct a social media brand in and of itself. Understand how to use memes. If you as a business are active on social networks, you will begin to have posts shared, retweeted, regrammed or spread in some other way. It is up to you whether to engage with political messaging – it can be a double-edged sword, but depending on the type of business you are, it may be entirely appropriate to participate in a moment. Either way, ensure that your social presence is organic and never opportunistic; customers can smell inauthenticity, and they don’t like it.
Follow the above tips, and your ecommerce business will not go far wrong. As long as you have something good to sell, and a worthwhile story to tell, there is plenty of opportunity to make your online store flourish.