Growing a successful e-commerce business in a highly competitive market could be daunting.
Undoubtedly, there are a lot of things to consider, from choosing your e-commerce business model and sourcing the right products to attracting customers and fulfilling orders quickly and efficiently.
But with the US e-commerce sales predicted to surpass a $1 trillion revenue threshold for the first time, there is an opportunity for everybody.
Here are seven top e-commerce tips and strategies to grow a fail-proof online business.
Find a Successful Product to Sell
First and foremost, the growth of an e-commerce business begins by researching and sourcing a profitable product. Logically, it is much harder to penetrate an oversaturated market than to start with a niche product with a better chance of succeeding.
A profitable product should have the following characteristics:
- Fills the gap in the market;
- Addresses the need or solves a problem;
- Has short time-to-value;
- Is scalable;
- Turns a profit.
Determine Your E-commerce Business Model
There are several options when it comes to e-commerce business models. However, the most popular ones are
- Business-to-Business (B2B);
- Business-to-Consumer (B2C);
- Subscription Service;
- On-Demand Type of Business.
Each e-commerce business has its advantages and disadvantages, so you need to decide which model works best. This will largely depend on your target market and your product.
For instance, if you decide to sell cosmetics or apparel, you will likely operate under a B2C model, selling the goods directly to consumers.
B2C transactions will have a relatively lower value, shorter sales cycles, and modest profit margins. Amazon is a classic example of a B2C e-commerce business.
On the flip side, e-commerce businesses that sell higher-value products, such as technology, electronic devices, or office furniture, might want to consider operating under a B2B e-commerce model with higher profit margins but longer sales cycles.
Define Your Buyer Persona
If your e-commerce sales are stagnating, you might want to double-check your product-market fit. In other words, you should investigate whether the product you are selling is targeted at the right audience.
To this end, you first need to define your buyer persona, which is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. A well-defined and thought-out buyer persona entails your ideal customer’s demographic characteristics, interests, desires, needs, and budget.
Thus, leveraging buyer personas can help e-commerce businesses to hone their marketing strategy and move customers faster through the sales funnel.
Perfect Your E-commerce Merchandising Tactics
Another important strategy that can increase your e-commerce sales is the optimization of your entire e-commerce site. As we have recently discussed, e-commerce merchandising plays an integral part in converting your customers and securing a steady revenue stream.
Look at e-commerce merchandising as a way to optimize every step of your buyer’s journey to encourage them to spend money on your products, not your competitor’s.
Carefully deployed online retail merchandising can also boost user engagement and instill brand loyalty. After all, it is five times cheaper to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones.
Optimize Order Fulfillment
This will not be news to you, but online shoppers favor those e-commerce businesses that offer flexible, fast, and reliable shipping. And while it could be tempting to handle order fulfillment in-house, this might not be the best strategy for your company.
Achieving Amazon’s order fulfillment margins is a dream for the majority of e-commerce businesses. But thanks to third-party logistics providers (3PLs), you can streamline your order handling and shipping for increased efficiency at a fraction of the cost.
For example, companies like Phase V can offer end-to-end order fulfillment services to tightly fit your supply chain, minimize friction, and maximize your customer satisfaction.
Such 3PL providers can handle your orders and scale up or down to accommodate variations in demand. At the same time, you do not need to assume staffing costs or invest in the newest technology, which can dramatically reduce your overhead costs.
And when order fulfillment becomes hands-off, you can focus on expanding your business and generating value elsewhere.
Deliver Exceptional Customer Service
There are many things that can go wrong when running an e-commerce business. You could sell defective goods by accident, a popular product could go out of stock, or the shipping might be delayed, causing frustration among your customers.
However, providing quality customer service will allow you to achieve higher customer satisfaction scores and brand loyalty.
According to the data presented by Zendesk, the top 3 most essential aspects of a quality customer service experience are
- Quick Resolution Times
- 24/7 Support Availability
- Friendly Support Agents
You might also want to ensure that you provide support via your customer’s preferred channel, which could include e-mail, social media, phone, or an online chat.
Consider Selling Abroad
If your e-commerce business is performing well in a domestic market, there is a good chance that you can succeed internationally.
Opening your online store to international markets would allow you to achieve broader audiences and generate more revenue.
Recent research suggests that 57% of US internet buyers have made cross-border purchases at least once in their lives. Similarly, another study reveals that the highest spending group (25-34 years old digitally native consumers) buys from global brands more often than anybody else.
Such tendencies demonstrate that there is excellent potential to expand your e-commerce business past the domestic borders.
The Bottom Line
Here you have it—seven tips for running a thriving e-commerce store that should help you failproof your business.
It is important to note that no secret recipe guarantees your e-commerce business’s success. At the end of the day, it is all about trial and error, product-market fit, marketing strategy, or the robustness of your supply chain.
At Phase V, we provide leading-edge e-commerce order fulfillment and 3PL solutions to suit your business and your customers’ unique needs.
Partner with us for success!