Although e-commerce is growing in popularity, it still takes up a small percentage in sales across markets. However, 2019 has seen a steady increase in markets adapting to introduce e-commerce to the sales cycle.
Bridging the gap between online and offline operations for various industries including fintech in eCommerce comes with a set of challenges. Despite the various challenges, there has been a gradual shift in markets expanding their operations online. Customers enjoy a sense of variety and the option to shop online or offline is of general importance to them.
For a company launching eCommerce business for their shop or company, it introduces a wider and even international market. Younger markets tend to shop online while older people prefer to go into a physical shop and this could explain the introduction of physical stores by companies like Amazon.
If you are considering taking the leap into eCommerce, here are some strategies you can employ to get ahead of the game:
1. Leverage the power of social media
It only makes sense that these two aspects of the online world fit each other like a glove. Due to the fact that people spend a lot of time on sites like Facebook and Twitter, these networks have grown to accommodate commercial activities.
Facebook has a market of its own and Twitter has ads, and there is also Instagram with advertised posts. The power of these networks should not be underestimated. In a recent study, it was revealed that there has been a shift in consumer behavior and people have started to use social media to find products.
The growth of using social media influencers to market products has also played an integral role in social media influencing the choice to buy certain items or use a service. Social media has expanded on the culture of reviews and has allowed people to speak more freely about their experience with a product or service.
The addition of features such as recommendations and ratings has made it important for businesses to strategically use social media in e-commerce plan. Officially known as Social Commerce, this strategy is growing in popularity and allows companies to tap into unique markets. Although, Social Commerce hasn’t been implemented on all platforms, businesses can benefit from using the ones that have this feature available.
On the other hand, businesses can use user-generated content (UGC) to increase their following and gain trust from new customers. Social media is used by many online shoppers to make purchase decisions through the help of UGC. Using it effectively can help e-commerce businesses leverage their revenue by a growing customer base. That can be achieved by encouraging customers to post more about their experience with the business you are running. Perhaps even run contests that reward customers who share their experience on their social media profiles.
UGC is just as good as a word of mouth recommendation which makes it a great way to engage customers. Customers prefer following the recommendations of someone else rather than purchasing something that was pitched to them by a salesman or company. Alternatively, businesses can use social media to reach out to influencers that can help with reaching a larger audience with the product offers they have.
2. Engagement on different platforms
Once again, social media use among consumers is forefronted in this strategy. The engagement from a business has become quite important for today’s consumer. If a potential client feels ignored or like you are not listening, they may quickly lose interest in your product or service.
Besides, clients may post something on their social media that grabs their attention may contact your business for pricing. They would likely send a direct message on one social media platform or another before even considering an email.
Emails are almost a thing of the past as open rates keeps dropping to new lows. And your brand’s social media page should have up to date information on products and options available. This strategy means that you need to have a good social media plan in place and update content regularly. Having an account on all different social media platforms can help customers that use different channels easily find you and engage with you.
To be more easily recognizable, you can use the same or a similar picture on the profile and also post consistent content across all platforms. In that way, the content you post will be available on social media channels and will reach a larger audience unlike using only one platform. To manage all these profiles, you can use social media management tools that can also handle whatever posting schedule you have planned.
Social media management tools help you manage many accounts because after creating the content for each platform, they autonomously post for you. Essentially, the posts go live at the same time and you don’t have to worry about posting on each individual platform. That saves you much precious times that can be better used taking care of other aspects of running a business.
Online shopping is a way in which a customer seeks convenience and a fast way to get their hands on what they want or need. Through social media, a business can access to a new market and using big data to appeal to the various markets.
Review sites have also become one way to research a business or online shop. For instance, if you are looking for an essay writing service, you can look at write my thesis or best paper writing services with their top resume writing services or assignment help on a website to see what people have to say before ordering the product.
3. In comes m-commerce…
Okay, we are talking about e-commerce, but what is m-commerce? M-commerce is simply mobile commerce meaning that a company leverages mobile apps like WhatsApp to plugin to markets. Any e-commerce activities that are made focused on mobility and easy accessibility to customers that use wireless handheld devices is called m-commerce. This is particularly popular in developing countries where people mostly interact with the internet on their mobile smartphones.
This strategy is a little tricky to achieve because if done incorrectly, a potential client might feel as though their personal space invaded. However, mobile commerce is growing and will be in the spotlight in 2020. In the meantime, as a company creates e-commerce content, they need to consider the mobile user and use responsive design. Most importantly, you should make the site faster because most mobile users bounce websites with slow loading pages.
With mobile commerce, the market becomes wider and a company can reach places like North America, Europe and parts of Africa. Many retailers have developed mobile apps that are easy to use and require little bandwidth. You can also integrate an instant checkout option by implementing tools such as Google Pay or Apple Pay. The quick and easy checkout option will help reduce cart abandonment from customers and increase conversion rates.
Mobile marketing has grown from simply sending texts. It can become more interactive and accommodating to ensure that the market is wider. Including a mobile strategy in your 2020 e-commerce strategy is worthwhile and increases access to your product or service. Remember that all future generations are focuses on mobility and making more reliable and responsive e-Commerce platforms easily accessible on mobile devices will be very profitable.
Trends such as augmented reality can also be considered for a successful m-commerce strategy. For example, if you are a furniture retailer, you could develop a feature that lets customers see what your products would look like in their homes. Ikea has successfully integrated augmented reality to their m-commerce platforms that they use to sell their products. By using augmented reality, customers feel as if they have had the opportunity to try out items before they buy them.
4. Automation saves time and money
As a business, archaic and paper-based practices can leave operating at a loss and seeing little results. However, there is a range of automation tools you can integrate into your online strategy to create and monitor marketing campaigns. That includes data gathering tools to analyze historical customer behavior which can help you come up with a more efficient marketing strategy.
You can also implement other artificial intelligence tools that automate repetitive, tedious tasks, which will save you time and human resources. They can be used for other more important tasks that really matter for the success of the business.
In addition, an automated sales system is of utmost importance as it ensures that you are able to process invoices, manage deliveries and schedule other activities. For example, warehouses can get specialized automation tools that will help with inventory management and other relative tasks. It is also important that your online system is also automated to reflect real-time stock availability and offers a wide range of payment methods to clients.
This means that you need to research tools that allow you to track stock and analyze customer patterns. One of the most important elements of the sales cycle is customer satisfaction as it determines loyalty and attracts repeat purchases. If people experience the slightest inconvenience – be ready with an apology and something complimentary.
With high levels of competition, it is easy for them to simply go to another retailer. Even in the online shopping world, the customer is always right. You can also choose to implement chatbots in social media platforms used by the business or on the company’s website. They can help with retaining customers because they can handle complaints with preprogrammed frequently asked questions.
You can also integrate chatbots to handle complaints and recommendations that are sent to you through the comments section on social media. They can shorten the time you generally take to respond to their comments and that will make customers feel more important.
On the other hand, you can also automate the process of measuring your success by using AI-powered systems to monitor the KPI metrics you have in place. These technological tools have an eye for perfection and can recognize the smallest flaws that can’t be recognized easily by the human eye.
5. Become more global in your approach
In essence, the e-commerce market is global because the internet has made the world a much smaller place. With the right strategy, your product or service will grow outside of your country and this means that you need to have a strategy that also works on an international level. With a global market, you can leverage the returns you are making and stand to have a large market presence as time goes on.
There are a large number of opportunities for growth stemming from developing countries and with reasonable pricing and delivery, you could gain the trust of an international market. Ensure that you plan your market entry strategy which means you have to decide between optimizing the current website you use and opting for a global marketplace.
This needs to be planned meticulously and not just be seen as ‘by the way’ thing in your marketing strategy. If you contribute more time to planning your global e-commerce approach, there will be more chances of its success.
Each move needs to be well thought out and strategic. It is also important to create valuable partnerships with shipping and transportation companies to ensure optimal convenience in delivering your product anywhere in the world. By negotiating with international warehouses and transporters, you can minimize the costs of running a global e-commerce business.
A lot of money can end up going to the logistical side of running the business which can limit the profit you generate. To solve that problem, you can choose a logistical company that will warehouse your products and then ship them for you.
The shipping services should preferably be comprehensive so instead of arranging multiple couriers, one company will handle the delivery of that product. Don’t neglect the payment methods you use, they shouldn’t be country-specific, but instead, they should allow for global payments easily.
E-commerce is changing the world of business and allowing consumers more buying power while expanding businesses beyond their location. It is only natural for 2020 to be a year of improvement and for companies to employ more strategic methods in selling their products. Incorporating social media and big data into a sales strategy is an ideal way to reach larger markets and use the internet to expand on the products and/or services.
Tiffany Harper is a talented writer from New York, she began her career as a journalist and later proceeded as an educational writer and editor. Now she works as the subject matter expert with UK essay writing service, and sometimes she provides custom essay help to essay writer from Dissertation-today.com, mostly in the self-growth and self-motivation areas. Please do not hesitate to contact her on Twitter.