1. Micro-Target an Online Audience. E-commerce is basically about establishing a “territory”: defining and designing a site to reach an audience with a common interest or characteristic. Whatever your product or service, define your company’s niche markets that you can penetrate online with specialized offerings.
2. Personalize. Site visitors are demanding one-of-a-kind experiences that cater to their needs and interests. Technology is available, even to smaller players, to capture individual shoppers’ interests and preferences and generate a product selection and shopping experience led by individualized promotions tailored to them.
3. Create Content to Build Stickiness. Winning e-commerce deploys crowd-sourced content to make a site “sticky” for potential buyers. Amazon attracted millions of consumers by encouraging them to share their opinions of items like books and CDs. What is your strategy to help potential customers for your products or services find you via Google? Use keywords and meta tags to raise your ranking in search results.
4. Tailor the Browsing Experience to Target Segments. Brand-appropriate site design and well-structured navigation remain key ingredients for attracting an audience and getting them to come back. Provide an enticing browsing experience across online platforms. If you want to sell backpacks to college students, for example, use vibrant colors with a flashy design to evoke a sense of youth and adventure.
5. Integrate Across Channels. Create multi-channel offerings, enabling your consumers to experience your brand consistently, whatever their shopping method of choice. But be sure that products you are selling via different channels are sufficiently differentiated to account for price differences.
6. Invest in Mobile. Mobile commerce is growing at a rate of over 130 percent annually. If you lack a robust mobile commerce platform, you will see a dramatic drop off in revenue over the next several years. To stay competitive, you need to offer mobile-accessible services such as delivery status, real-time notifications, click-to-call, maps, and product information.
7. Tap into Logistics. To accommodate growth, you may need to tap the capabilities of third party logistics providers (3PLs) to manage a high volume of complex orders. Reverse logistics, the ability to handle returns and exchanges quickly and economically, is becoming a key differentiator. Same-day delivery and innovative fulfillment networks can be competitive advantages.
8. Consider Subscription Commerce. Subscription commerce takes several forms. In the replenishment model, a commodity item is sent to the customer every month. The discovery model is more promising. It offers a subscription to a curated experience that delivers new, hard-to-find, or customized items periodically to the customer’s doorstep.
9. Bypass the Middlemen. The Internet is enabling small companies to reach lots of consumers quickly. Manufacturers, including factories in China, are increasingly willing to work with small brands. They have discovered that small brands are more likely to introduce new products to market because they are less constrained by shelf space limitations and complex supply chains.
10. Offer a Seamless Experience Across Channels. Your sales will grow if you ensure that product availability, promotional strategies, and brand experience are consistent across all channels -- whether online, in-store, or on a mobile device. Implement cloud-based supply chain technology to gain visibility into your performance across all channels.
11. Curate a Proprietary Selection. Proprietary selection is a strategy that focuses on “curating” a narrow and deep assortment of products in a particular segment. These sites make merchandise feel exclusive due to the depth and originality of the assortment, the difficulty in finding the products elsewhere, and the power of customer communities.
12. Sell Internet-Only Merchandise. This is a strategy that builds an exclusive brand – with ecommerce as the core distribution channel. By offering goods that are not available elsewhere and selling them directly to the consumer online, you maintain much greater control over your margins.
3 Ecommerce Strategies to Increase Online Sales & Repeat Business
1. Excellent Customer Service
Providing your customers with service that goes above and beyond is essential—you must exceed the expectations of your visitors. When Zappos first launched, it was a brand unfamiliar to the average consumer. After driving visitors to their site through traditional marketing efforts, they went out of their way to show the visitor just how dedicated they were to ensuring incredible customer service, using text in bold letters that prominently represented their policies. As shown above, Zappos highlights their major selling points—fast and free shipping, and how easy it is to return a product for free if the customer isn’t 100% satisfied with their purchase. Zappos proved that with superb customer service, a company could be successful, and this core value that they were built on is still what they stand behind today. When it comes to trusting a business online, returning to that site, and even recommending that site to peers, studies have shown that customer service is the first and foremost factor.
2. An Easy-To-Use & Clean Website
I mention this time and time again when talking about website design because it’s not something that should be taken lightly—your website must be responsive. A responsive design ensures that your site renders appropriately on all devices and platforms. Without this type of design, you’re likely to experience a high bounce rate due to poor usability when customers access your site from their mobile devices. Whether it’s excessive zooming in or zooming out, button sizes that aren’t appropriate for the screen, or other rendering issues, this can be detrimental to the user experience. In order to be strategic when reaching your customers, it’s critical that your site be optimized for whatever device they may be using.
3. Understand Your Customers & Market to Them Accordingly
Knowing who your customers are and following up with them appropriately is important. Most companies don’t truly know their customers, and fail to track which are frequent purchasers and which are one-time buyers, along with other insights related to purchase behavior. Existing customers shouldn’t all be marketed to in the exact same way. Marketing tactics should be used that reflect individual purchasing patterns based on historical onsite behaviors. If you have loyal customers that make purchases more regularly than the average customer does, serve them with special promotions or exclusive offers. Going out of your way to show that you value your customers is crucial. Take the time to understand who is purchasing and what segment they fall into. Perhaps one customer is ideal for a certain product line based on past behavior, or maybe they purchase the same product time and time again—whatever the behavior, implement follow-up marketing tactics that reflect this understanding. Your existing customers are the lowest cost-per-acquisition (CPA) for new sales. You spend money driving new leads to your site, so when you acquire a customer, you want to retain them. Marketing tactics should reflect your understanding of particular segments within your audience and convey how much you value them as customers.
A Strategic Approach to Improving Ecommerce Business
For any brand within the ecommerce sector, generating online sales and maintaining a loyal customer base can be difficult. Without the support of strong customer service, diligent marketing tactics that are tailored to individuals, and a user-friendly website design, accomplishing business goals is near impossible. Keeping your customers and their needs as the primary focus of all