Small Business

What Small Businesses Can Do With Ecommerce: 5 Success Tips

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Ecommerce is a trillion dollar industry covering every corner of the world. Getting a foothold in it can turn your small business into a global player. There are are countless ways to help make your business into an ecommerce success, but some methods are inherently more valuable than others. I’ve picked the five key ecommerce success tips for your small business.

Recommended reading: Starting an Online Business for Beginners

Let your customers do the talking to increase trust in your brand

Unless your brand is the only one in your niche, you have to persuade people it’s the best one for them. Without trust this is impossible.

Did you know?

Shoppers value the opinions of others customers as highly as they do personal recommendations from their own family.

Using UGC (user generated content) increases trust in your brand, ultimately bringing more customers to your ecommerce business.

UGC is particularly valuable to local businesses. Why? Because it’s one of the key drivers of local SEO. Google uses customer reviews to determine the strength of a business – the greater the quality and quantity of your reviews, the higher you will rank.

One of the best ways to get more reviews is to ask your customers. 70% of people will leave a review if you ask them to. You’ll improve your chance of success by giving incentives to your customers. This includes things like vouchers, discounts, or early bird access to new products.

Make email marketing a key part of your ecommerce business

Video killed the radio star, but social media hasn’t killed the email marketer. Email has been around since the era of Don Draper, and with good reason. Which is? Email has the highest ROI of any type of marketing. Making it a key part of your arsenal is an excellent investment for your ecommerce business.

The stats support this in a big way:

  • Email marketing has an ROI of 3000%
  • Email generates over $36bn a year in retail sales
  • Email is the top marketing channel for 73% of marketers

You make email a crucial part of your marketing by boosting your mailing list. There are many ways to do this but one of the best ways is through offers. Give your customers an exclusive discount or a voucher as a thanks for signing up to your email list. Once you’ve got them you can hit them with marketing, and keep those offers coming!

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Use geo and dynamic pricing to catch buying hotspots

Your customers buying habits change with the wind – blowing East to West, success to distress. Knowing what’s hot and what’s selling well will help you successfully manage your product inventory and nail your pricing.

The concepts are simple: geo pricing is where you tweak your prices based on customer location. Dynamic pricing sees you lower or increase your prices based on up-to-date demand. Simple. (FYI, Amazon is a master at this).

The benefits are enormous. You can undercut your competition and gobble up the most financially engaged part of your niche market. This is a super valuable approach for fledgling companies.

For example, you may want to swiftly take on your main ecommerce competition — or you may be entering the market after a recent business purchase and need to establish a foothold, fast. Knowing what your customer segments (more on them later) are willing to pay means you can sell your products for less than established brands.

Taking this approach may give you lower revenue in the short-term, but it can win you long-term customers as you build your brand reputation. At the same time, selling yourself short is not always a great commercial strategy — you will need to focus on long-term brand building as well. A tactic to be used with caution.

Create buyer a persona for each customer segment

For your business to succeed in ecommerce you need to know who your customers are. You have to know what drives them, excites them, terrifies them, and reassures them. Knowing this means you can sell your products to the right people in the right way. This is where your buyer personas come in.

There are a few key personas you need to create:

  • Browsers: Your casual observers
  • New email subscribers: Those you added to your mailing list
  • Vouchers: Online shoppers who seek out offers
  • The abandoners: Anyone who might abandon cart before completing their purchase
  • They’ve just bought from your ecommerce store, now get them back!
  • Repeat offenders: Those who keep coming back for more
  • Gold stars: Customers who don’t just return but who spend a lot of money at your store
  • People who bought from you a while ago but have gone cold since

You could (and should) create more precise buyer personas, but start with the ones I’ve told you about. Once you’ve used them successfully then develop new ones based on the data you hold on your customers.

Make sure your ecommerce CMS can grow with your business

Even if you want your small business to stay small, you have to evolve. Commerce keeps changing and by standing still, you’ll be going backwards in slow motion. You need to keep up with the times and your content management system needs to be fit to drive you there.

WordPress powers 32% of the internet and it has an ecommerce plugin to match this status. Millions of business around the world use WooCommerce. It’s user-friendly and has thousands of plugins to enhance your online store. As an open-source CMS, WooCommerce is free for developers to tweak and update. This means it’s ever-evolving, just as your business needs to be.  But WordPress and WooCommerce aren’t your only ecommerce CMS options. This article alone has 19 other ecommerce platforms. Review your options carefully before you decide which one will be best for you.

Think about where you want your business to go. Consider how much involvement in the build and maintenance you want. Budget for hidden and visible costs. The last thing you want is for your business to stand still. Make sure you CMS doesn’t cause it to.

There are thousands of tips for success for small businesses starting out in ecommerce. While these five are the best, you must invest your time absorbing the rest. So put these tips into practice then start your search for the next five!

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