You have created your great product and you have done the market research to create the perfect marketing strategy that will launch your product to new heights. You have built your stunning ecommerce website and you have sorted out your advertising plan.
You might be wondering, now what? How do I keep the ball rolling and create lasting success for my new product and my new brand? This is where expert advice can come in handy, and luckily for you, we have created the perfect list of expert tips and tricks to keep you on track as your ecommerce company develops and grows.
Expert Advice Can Create Lasting Success
Following the advice of those who have been there and done that can often be the difference between success and failure. There is great value in being able to learn from those who have gone before you and the ecommerce business space is no different. Expert advice can make or break your ecommerce business.
If you have been worried that you don’t have a mentor to guide you through the necessary steps to create an ecommerce business that will stand the test of time, never fear! The tips and tricks on this list will help to get your business on the right path.
Let Your Customers Guide You
Customer feedback is essential to business success. No matter if you are running a brick-and-mortar business or an ecommerce business, customers need to love your product and love working with you or they won’t become loyal to your brand. While it can be disheartening to read negative feedback, you should view these kinds of outreach as instructive and as part of an overall opportunity to improve your brand for future success.
Losing one client to an unfortunate outcome to do with shipping or with product performance is survivable. Losing hundreds of customers to these errors because you did not know that there were problems going on with your products or your fulfillment process can be disastrous to your business. 73% of online shoppers use reviews to determine if they want to buy a product.
A very relatable example that we can all understand, is the instance of a restaurant that has been receiving poor reviews from customers on Yelp and other review sites. As an example, let’s say that the issue that everyone keeps reporting is that the sauce that is used in a famous dish no longer tastes the same. As a result, people are stating that no one should go to the restaurant anymore.
There are two ways that you can handle this kind of review. You can ignore it and hope that it is a one-time incident, or you can respond and make sure that the secret sauce recipe is returned to its former glory. The second choice is the only right one to make unless you don’t mind an increasing lack of confidence in your business that is generated by your refusal to address customer concerns.
Even if you are selling purses or scarves, or beauty products, negative customer reviews should be taken seriously and examined as soon as they are submitted. You might find that this is just one person’s experience, but you could also be saved from months of lost business and lost business reputation due to an issue with your product that you were unaware of.
Customer Support is Essential
Customer service is essential to your ecommerce business’ success. This is the defining feature of small businesses that often sets them apart from big online retailers like Amazon. You cannot hope to make your customers happy with their purchases if your customer support is poor-quality or your website is hard to use.
Experts all agree that you need to make it easy to reach a real person when there is a problem with your products. This is an essential part of making your customers feel like they matter and that they are heard. Consumers will forgive a purchase that has difficulty relating to it but they will not forgive being ignored. While chatbots can be a good first step to get to the right customer service person, any resolutions that are needed for your products and services should be handled by real people.
Customer service is also linked to a website that is easy to navigate, has all the right information on it, and makes each purchase simple. No one will have the patience these days to navigate a difficult or shoddy website. There are just too many online businesses out there with good websites and easy buying processes for you to get away with having a poor customer service interface on your website.
Honing in On Your Niche
You might not be 100% certain that your niche market is the right one when you first launch your product. But If the evidence shows that the niche you have picked is the right one, you need to target that niche with authority. Niche buyers know exactly what they are looking for and they will not tolerate any kind of branding that does not seem on point for their interests and values.
Always make sure that you make adjustments to your branding for your niche audience. You will want them to know that you are speaking to them and that their business is your first priority. Trying to use generalized branding for a niche product will not work well over the long haul and there are always going to be other niche products that can distract your customer base and take sales away from you.
Consider the examples of businesses with powerful branding that you can think of off the top of your head. Such examples are everywhere, but Kleenex is a great brand to use here. This is the name of a company, but their branding is so strong that facial tissues all over the world are called Kleenex by most consumers.
This is a niche branding example that should inspire you to make sure that your brand is the first one that people consider when they are shopping.
Make the Shopping Experience Memorable
There are lots of ways to accomplish this goal, and this should be one of the major factors that you consider if you think that your brand might need a change of vision or branding strategy as it grows. You want customer experiences to be so memorable that they will tell other people about your product.
You can accomplish this with unique packaging, with great added value offerings like tutorial videos and other informational content, or through customized buying experiences offered through your eCommerce store. If you can find the right ways to stand out to your customers as they are buying or receiving your products, you will create a loyal following with word-of-mouth customer retention.
Save Time to Focus on Your Online Business
Owning a business requires that you wear many hats and you need to wear them all with authority. This can mean anything from product development to advertising, to web design. The important thing to remember about this part of being the owner of a small business is that you might not be able to wear all of these hats comfortably.
There are many ways to save time and many of these time-saving solutions will allow you to produce a better buying experience for your customers while also creating the time you need to develop new products and ideas.
Things like fulfillment services can save you heaps of time and make your business more efficient overall. Running ads for your ecommerce business can also be very time-consuming and you should consider outsourcing this part of your management process as soon as you can afford to do so. Ads that are managed by experts are typically going to perform better than ads managed by someone who is distracted by other matters.
Being able to carve out time to actually run your business is essential to running a successful online business.
Sell in Many Online Channels
It is no longer enough to sell to just one platform and one audience of buyers. Word of mouth only extends so far in the online world, and if you are not using all of the possible platforms that you can for outreach, you are probably missing out on lots of sales.
You should always consider selling through your ecommerce site as your primary sales location, but you can also sell through Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Utilizing the talents of influencers on social media can also offer another avenue to collect sales.
When you sell through many different channels, you increase brand awareness while also making more money. Branding and multi-channel sales go hand in hand and you should use them both to your advantage.
If you need to hire someone to manage all of the chat channels that your business is engaged in through social media, do so ASAP! These kinds of sales are huge for word of mouth and they will be a major part of showing your business to be responsive and customer-friendly.
Balance it all Out
Make sure that you do not put yourself at risk for burnout. You will have to hustle hard at first to get your ecommerce business up and running, but you will need to allow yourself time to take breaks and recover from your efforts. Being burned out will only lead to a lack of creativity and frustration when things do not go as planned or when hurdles show up that need to be attended to.
Leverage tools like Google Analytics to help you assess your sales numbers and advertising performance and outsource jobs to other experts when you can afford to do so. Create a team that works with you so that you do not have to go it all alone. There is no way to plan to run an online business without some helping hands along the way.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Competition
When you are first starting out in your niche, you might feel like you are too small to make it against larger competitors. This can be defeating right from the outset and you need to avoid this train of thought. Remember that even giants like Amazon started out in someone’s garage!
The reality is that many people are looking for smaller and more boutique ecommerce businesses to buy products and services from. They want to feel like they are working with a company that has not forgotten how to serve its customer base. Big sellers can deliver results as well, but the boutique feel is often absent from the buying process when working with these market giants.
Technological inclusions that make your buying process more seamless than the big guys and doing personalized outreach to your customer base can be a huge determiner for your success in a crowded market space. If you have a great product and are willing to meet customers halfway, you will find those big competitors do not have to be big competition.
Organize, Organize, Organize
There is no way to run an online business without being organized. You need to make sure that the ball never gets dropped on any of the major moving pieces inside of your company. This means that you need to figure out how to keep yourself on track and on schedule at all times.
Leverage project management tools if you need to organize a team of employees, or remind yourself of important dates, meetings, and tasks with reminders in your phone. Use whatever solution you need to leverage to keep yourself focused and to make sure that important items are not neglected.
Online businesses interact with record-breaking numbers of people in a single day, and you will find that you cannot keep track of all of the moving pieces without a plan in place to keep things on point. Imagine if your actual physical brick-and-mortar store had thousands of visitors in a day and was open 24 hours of each day! You would probably be exhausted!
This is the actual nature of ecommerce, so make sure that you keep yourself focused in whatever way works best for your needs and the structure of your business. From writing down things on a notepad to using an electronic organization tool, there are many different ways to stay organized and you will need to pick at least one of these tools to stay on track.
Choose What Matters Most
There are just some things that you will not be able to tackle without giving up more important items in your life. From worrying about that one negative review on your site to becoming flustered over an ad that did not experience as much success as you had hoped, there are many rabbit holes that you can choose to fall down on a daily basis as an online business owner.
The trick to staying sane and being fair to yourself is to choose what matters most of all each day. There are always going to be challenges ahead of you, so you need to figure out how to look at these challenges in order of importance. You will simply never be able to attend to everything in a given business day and you need to learn to be okay with that.
This is particularly true when you are starting out/ So you should prioritize business essentials like fulfillment, product development, and advertising over things that will not affect your overall success at this stage of the game. Down the road, it becomes important to look at the big picture frequently so that you do not become obsessed with small items that will not have a major effect on your business overall.
Create a Powerful Team
This is the most important part of scaling your business. As your company grows and changes, you will need to create the right management team to help you keep things running smoothly. From hiring an experienced ad agency to handle your advertising needs to engaging a personal assistant to take care of your meetings and other daily tasks, you will need the right people to work with to create lasting success for your business.
You simply cannot do everything yourself, and even in the beginning when it is hard to afford to hire out certain jobs, you should consider doing so. Trying to do it all on your own will only lead to slowdowns in development and possible issues with shipping and other necessities. Remember that all of your competitors have people working hard on their side to help them out each day. Why should you try and compete with an entire team of people when you are just one single person trying to do it all? Remember to leverage powerful business software and tools and put the right tasks into other hands to keep your business on track to meet its goals.
Be Willing to be Flexible
Things change constantly in the online business world. People’s interests shift and change, and new products and trendy items show up all the time to disrupt your carefully laid plans. Be willing to adapt to these challenges and changes instead of fighting against them. Change is part of the online world and fighting against things that are shifting or changing is like arguing with the tides.
There are always going to be changes to technologies and to products in your market space, and you should budget some of your time, energy, and money toward keeping up with these changes. Running constant analysis of your market space and the possible tech that you could be upgrading to is an essential part of being quick on your feet in the online business world.
Keeping up with the times is one of the most essential parts of online business ownership, and this is a step that cannot be stressed enough. Being disheartened each time there is a change to your market will only lead to you being stressed constantly. Look at changes in your market space or niche as opportunities that could lead to new growth and success.
Know Who You Are
This might seem trite, but it is one of the biggest indicators of success for an online business. As we just discussed, the online business world changes rapidly and does so almost daily. It can be easy to think that you need to jump on every trend and every new idea.
However, you should only focus on keeping up with the Joneses if the changes to products or business models are directly related to your product and your branding identity. Trying to ride too many different trains can just lead to confusion about what your business is and what it stands for.
Despite the need to keep up with the changing times, you should always consider what your branding is telling your consumers and make sure that any changes that you make are directly related to your branding strategy. Any other kind of alterations to products and services will just seem like you are trying to keep up with trendy markets and your customer base might leave you behind for a more consistent branding experience elsewhere.
Now that you have learned from the experts with these tips to starting an online store, you are ready for the next step in your business process.
What to Do Next to Ensure Continued Success of Your Ecommerce Business
This is where we get into the nitty-gritty of the rules and regulations that will affect your ecommerce business as it starts to make money and grow. Knowing about the total picture of your ecommerce business includes being informed about taxes and fees that are required to be paid each year.
Read Chapter 5: Ecommerce Laws & Online Sales Tax You Need to Know 2021 for more information about the taxes and other fees that you will need to pay every year for your ecommerce business.