The growth of the e-commerce sector was one of the quiet success stories of 2020. According to Statista, more than two billion people shopped online last year and sales were almost 5 trillion USD.
Whilst industry veterans like Amazon continue to dominate this space, building a successful e-commerce segment is luckily not the preserve of a few big players. This is especially true as shopper habits continue to evolve and discerning shoppers crave curated products delivered through a personalized online experience.
Here are four ways you can launch and grow a successful e-commerce business:
1. Find your niche
Developing a strong and consistent brand is vital for any company to stand out from the crowd. In e-commerce, finding a niche demonstrates a passion and expertise for the products you’re selling, whether that’s clothes rental like My Wardrobe HQ or refurbished electronics like Back Market.
A niche can also be defined by your brand values. Values are increasingly becoming more important in the industry over price. This is true for 66% of shoppers and a huge 73% of millennials, who are now willing to pay more on brands that commit to sustainability, fair trade, and fair working conditions.
Showing your brand values in your online presence will not only help attract your desired customers to your platform but will also demonstrate your products’ worth. It’s likely why digital marketplace Orderchamp displays its values prominently on its homepage - such as working with brands that are eco-friendly, organic or locally-made.
2. Boost customer loyalty
Customer retention is exceptionally powerful for any e-commerce business. It can increase profits (by upwards of 25%), referrals and loyalty whilst reducing the cost of acquiring new shoppers. Personalized digital experiences are one way savvy retailers turn first-time customers into repeat buyers.
Offering targeted product recommendations based on previous purchasing history, creating personalised email communications and launching a loyalty program are just some of the ways you can drive repeat business again and again. Sephora’s ‘Beauty Insider’ program is a great example of boosting shopper loyalty: it gives customers a point for every dollar spent which can be redeemed as discounts, store credit and giveaway entries.
3. Optimize your website
It’s not just the products you want your customers to fall in love with. Your website should show these off to their fullest potential by being optimized for user experience. Customers rate clear navigation, detailed product descriptions, responsive page loading and mobile-friendly shopping.
When it comes to checkout, simplicity is key. Reduce the number of steps to complete a transaction and make it easy to pay the customer’s preferred way with multiple payment options, such as the convenience of pay-over-time. For instance, fashion giant ASOS offers customers 30 days payment whilst marketplace Ankorstore extends this to 60 days. Pop-ups driving users back to their basket to complete a purchase also push your conversion rate up.
4. Use Great Visual Content
An optimized website can still be let down by a lack of eye-catching visual content. Make first impressions count by using high-quality photographs and visuals that reflect your brand promise. They’re a subtle reminder of the care you put into your products and customer service.
When future customers can’t physically touch a product, your visual content has to be a strong proxy. They want to see products from different angles and proportions - variety is key here. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then professional quality images mean more sales.
The most successful e-commerce shops focus on a niche, cultivate customer loyalty, and have an easy-to-use website with outstanding visual content.
Which of these elements will you focus on growing next?
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