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You don’t need anyone to explain the massive opportunities that exist within ecommerce, but it’s often helpful for putting things into perspective.
In 2017, it’s estimated that ecommerce sales in the U.S. totaled roughly $409.2 billion. That number is expected to increase to $461.5 billion this year and $513.5 billion in 2019. By 2022, we’ll be staring at a $638 billion industry.
While it’s easy to assume Amazon, Walmart, and other major businesses are the only ones that find significant success online, the reality is that thousands of small businesses use ecommerce channels to generate billions of dollars in revenue.
Maybe you could be the next success story?
5 Tips to Help You Find Success
Whether you have experience running a brick and mortar business, or this is your first brush with being an entrepreneur, there’s tremendous opportunity in the ecommerce world. But if you’re going to run an ecommerce business, there are some things you absolutely must know.
1. Avoid a Premature Launch
It’s always tempting to hit the ground running, but the worst thing you can do is launch your ecommerce website prematurely. This will establish a very unstable foundation and create significant challenges moving forward.
There are a number of actions you need to take and steps that must be implemented prior to launch. They include: prepping social networks, launching a landing page, building an email list, building out the website, perfecting products, figuring out logistics (such as storage and shipping), and developing a targeted launch strategy.
In other words, you don’t want to launch a website and then figure out how to proceed. By this point, you’ve already missed the opportunity to make a splash.
2. Do Plenty of Audience Research
You might have a great product, but are you familiar with your audience? It’s nearly impossible to be successful without having an intimate understanding of who you’re selling to and what they want from you.
There are numerous ways to conduct audience research, and you shouldn’t be afraid of using as many methods as possible. Keyword research is always a good option, but social media is arguably the most valuable resource you have. It allows you to identify your customers and see how they talk about your product and/or industry.
“This will help you learn their language so you can leverage it later via your product descriptions, blog posts, ads, social media and promotions,” digital marketer Katey Ferenzi explains. “Using the language of your target customers will help drive quality traffic to your site, build a loyal customer base and increase conversions.”
3. Focus on Quality Over Quantity
Few things are more detrimental to your prospects of growing an ecommerce business than falling for the myth that more is better. A lot of ecommerce business owners assume that success is as simple as selling more products, so they put all of their energy into adding products and creating new lines, when they should really be pouring their focus into selling one quality product. Once you have one quality product, then you can sell two quality products, and so on.
Another benefit of focusing on quality over quantity, in the beginning stages of an ecommerce launch, is that it simplifies everything else. From marketing to supply chain logistics, it’s a whole lot easier to maximize efficiency when you aren’t spread thin.
4. Get Your Visual Marketing Right
Study successful ecommerce brands and you’ll come to the conclusion that they also tend to be the brands that are most proficient at visual marketing. This is no coincidence. In order to engage online customers, ecommerce brands have to provide exceptional visuals that properly represent the products and make customers feel like they can touch and feel the items they’re viewing.
If you’re going to pick up any new skill that you don’t currently possess, let it be product photography. All you need is a smartphone, some basic supplies, and a dash of patience.
5. Focus on Conversion Optimization
Roughly 69 percent of website visitors will leave an ecommerce website without completing a purchase. This statistic isn’t necessarily shocking, but what is surprising is the fact that most ecommerce businesses focus more on generating traffic than optimizing conversions.
Wouldn’t your time be better spent maximizing the traffic you do have, rather than earning traffic that probably isn’t going to convert anyway? Here are some specific ways you can do this:
- Integrate sophisticated product filters into your ecommerce site to help visitors sort through your products and find exactly what they’re looking for.
- Try to shorten the checkout process as much as possible. The less friction there is, the less of an opportunity there is for would-be customers to bounce before completing a transaction.
- It’s possible that you have a trust problem. The more comfortable you can make your visitors, the more likely it is that they’ll turn into paying customers. Integrating social proof into your web design and copy will pay dividends.
There are hundreds of ways to optimize for conversions. Make sure you’re constantly implementing new strategies and techniques.
Build a Strong Foundation
Being successful with ecommerce is all about laying the right foundation and then learning what it looks like to be proactive and patient (at the same time). While this is by no means a comprehensive guide, it can certainly serve as a nice starting point in your efforts to build a sustainable ecommerce brand that’s successful for years to come.