Ecommerce today has become so much more than just selling an item online. Nowadays, you can build an online business offering courses, services, ebooks, art, gift cards, even drop shipping other people’s products. With new platforms and improving technology, starting an eCommerce business is easier than ever; and as more outlets emerge, they also increasingly require less of an investment so more people can afford to access their services.
In fact, now is the best time to start your own eCommerce business – and here are the five keys to making it as profitable as possible.
Find a Niche and Do It Best
Amazon can get you pretty much anything these days, so focus on a specific niche or an approach that makes your brand stand out. This can come from fulfilling an exclusive need for a small, target market or by creating a unique shopping experience that sets you apart from the faceless giants. If you make your customer feel special with each order, they remember to come back and order again.
Whatever unique approach you choose, aim to be the best at it, which means finding out who else is doing the same. Use all the tools available to understand the competition. Google your keywords. Search hashtags on social media to identify others targeting your customers. Order from your competitors to know what they offer and how they package it. Competitive research as a regular practice in your business model can help you better adapt to keep yourself on top.
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Expand Your Horizons
Leverage all the available channels to your advantage. Consider all marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy, but also social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok. Figure out which marketplace works best for your business and has access to most of your potential customers. Make your website experience easy and streamline the process of buying directly from each sales platform wherever possible.
Remember that eCommerce is also about more than servicing a single area. Think bigger and across borders – go global. No matter how niche your products or services, you’re guaranteed to bring in more customers when you make them available around the world.
Automate As Much as Possible
From order fulfillment to delivery confirmation, receipts and returns, invest in automated options when available. Of course, these investments may not be easy when you first start. There’s nothing wrong with setting up the basics before moving to more advanced technology but keep automation in mind as the goal.
Not only can it be more efficient in handling repetitive tasks, but automating more responsibilities takes away a lot of your stress in building a business. As you grow automation will also help your business to scale up. At the same time, unless you offer a good experience, all the automation in the world will never help you.
Customer Care Comes in the Details
Caring about your customers is always smart business, and eCommerce makes that easy. Keep the process of doing business with you as smooth as possible. “Wow” them with an experience that positively reinforces their choice of your products or services. Then, leverage their positive testimonials to bring in new consumers wherever possible to spread the good word about your business.
Investing in repeat customers is usually less expensive than finding new ones, so value each customer. Put care into your first impression and make it last with every consecutive order. A discount on the next order, free samples, loyalty programs, subscription options, email and text campaigns – each detail you put into providing a remarkable consumer experience keeps them coming back and will invariably grow your business.
In eCommerce, and in life, be true to yourself. Maybe your idea is just a side hustle, or maybe a small online business – maybe you want to build a brand that dominates the world. Whatever your goals, embrace them and be confident as a business owner in your ability to achieve them. If you always put forth the best version of yourself in everything you do, your customers will sense this in your business and love such authenticity.
Be honest with yourself about the business and your expectations for it so you can be honest with your partners and employees. When everyone knows who you are and what you and your business stand for, trust is built. Honest, transparent communication helps others realize how they can best contribute to the growth of your business and they want to help you get there.
As confident as you should feel in your own abilities, one final point to remember is always to listen to others. Be open to feedback in all the ways you approach your business. Listen to your employees. If you don’t have employees, ask friends and family for an honest critique. Listen to your customers. Read and respond to their messages. Listening to feedback makes your supporters feel valued, but also teaches you how to better supply what people want – the master key to any profitable business.