The digital age has proven to be a ripe space for e-commerce ventures over with the increase in popularity of online shopping among customers. Due to this, there’s a huge growth in eCommerce businesses today challenging the traditional brick and mortar stores.
However, with an estimation of 90% of eСommerce ventures failing, it is possible to wonder whether it is everyone’s cup of tea. But, the reason why startups fail is hardly about the nature of eCommerce itself. It’s more to do with the lack of strategy small ventures have on sustaining the business with the same enthusiasm of starting it.
Pulling the right strings can maneuver your novel eCommerce venture in the direction of success. This requires you to pay attention to important factors that are often overlooked or sidestepped in the process. So, if you running an online business and struggling to sustain it, here is how you can avoid the black hole of failure.
Your product or service should be on demand
One of the major reasons why businesses fail is because there is no market need for the product. Product-market fit is very important. There’s no point in investing a lot of time and effort into a product that nobody wants to buy. Ultimately, your e-commerce venture should generate sales and help you earn a profit.
Product-market mismatch also happens if you are targeting the wrong market or customer type to sell your products. So, before you initiate an e-commerce store online, it’s important to determine if you can sell it.
- Research if there’s an explicit or underlying need for the product(s).
- Determine the target audience and the market niche you will be catering to.
- Identify your closest competitors at present if there are any.
- Always make sure the products you offer are relevant to the present times. You don’t want to be selling outdated products or innovations that are far ahead of the time.
Use powerful marketing strategies
When you run a physical store, people who walk by it would decide to drop a visit depending on how appealing it seems on the outside. But online stores don’t have this kind of visibility to attract customers.
When you run an eCommerce venture, you have to design and create that visibility so that customers know that your business exists. This is where the power of marketing comes into play. For e-commerce stores, the main benefit is the array of marketing platforms and tools available at a low cost. Your success depends on how well you use them. So,
- Make use of powerful SEO tools to optimize your website
- Design marketing content that is informative and useful
- Invest in social media advertisements that allow you to target an audience with useful demographics
- Diversify your marketing channels
Marketing also plays an important role in retaining existing customers. But this doesn’t mean you send them a bunch of email newsletters or product recommendations that are of no use to them. Utilizing data analytics, you can learn about the needs, preferences, and expectations of each consumer based on past data available on them. Personalize your marketing campaigns to fit their interests so that there’s a chance that they will actually make a purchase based on them.
Provide a fabulous customer experience
Did you know that 80% of customers stop doing businesses with companies that offer poor customer experience? Customer experience is the perception customers have regarding your brand based on all the interactions that occur throughout their buying journey.
It decides whether a customer will come back to your store repeatedly in the future and hence, can be the make or break point of your success. So, instead of focusing merely on providing a fabulous product/service, you should also pay attention to other factors that contribute to positive customer experience.
- Help customers reach you via different channels such as website, social media, email, phone calls, etc.
- Provide prompt assistance when customers face difficulty in finding a certain product.
- Troubleshoot issues customers face when they visit your e-commerce store and provide immediate solutions.
- Provide personalized suggestions based on a customer’s purchase history.
- Make the checkout process quick and simple.
Create a stellar website that customers love
The appeal of your website speaks for your business. When a customer visits your e-commerce store, it should look compelling enough to persuade the customer to browse for products. It’s the first impression of your business, and you have to make sure you nail it.
It should be attractive, easy, and simple to handle. If the website is complicated with low-quality or duplicate content that you have snatched from somewhere on the internet, the customers won’t hesitate to abandon your business, especially if there are so many better alternatives available out there.
Here are some pro tips for a killer website.
- Use high quality, clear images of your products to help customers get a good view of the product. Since there’s no way to examine them in any other way, you have to make sure they are attractive enough for the eyes.
- Product descriptions should be original, accurate, short, and clear enough to understand the specifications, benefits, and other factors regarding products.
- All written content on the website should be foolproof with no grammatical errors or typos. Such mistakes signify that you haven’t paid enough attention.
- There should be arrows and icons to help customers navigate through the products easily
A pricing strategy that keeps customers close
Pricing is another area where eCommerce ventures tend to make a lot of mistakes, and this can easily drive away customers. You lose the trust they place in you as well as the interest to purchase more products. Here are some points to remember when you decide how much to charge for your service.
Failing ventures either overprice the products and drive away customers or underprice and earn revenue too low to sustain the business. So, do a cost analysis as well as research the existing competitive price in the market. Your price tag should be feasible enough so that it doesn’t burden your customers or your business.
Keeping your customers in the dark without a transparent pricing strategy can do more harm than good. There is nothing more frustrating than finding that the actual cost of purchasing a product is much higher than what appeared in advertisements. Don’t bombard your customers with a bunch of hidden fees at checkout and make them ditch the entire shopping cart.
Keep delivery charges as low as possible. A rational customer would never spend on a product for which the delivery charge is close to the price of it. Providing alternative delivery methods is a good way as it helps customers choose one that’s affordable for them.
The field of e-commerce provides a host of opportunities for budding entrepreneurs to start a new venture, build a brand, and drive their goals forward with more scope for exposure at a lower cost. The above factors are the key elements required to gain a strong customer base and drive your business towards growth. These help you gain leverage in the market, generate sales, and compete successfully. You might have to invest a significant amount of time and money to build your brand this way, but you will be able to reap the rewards with time. After all, there is no success without hardship – Sophocles.
Jasmeet is a founder of Lessons at Startup – A blog where he shares entrepreneurial stories. He specializes in Digital Marketing and Content Writing. He is addicted to Google News, Netflix, Good Coffee, and Quora ☺. Quora- https://www.quora.com/profile/Jasmeet-Singh-84