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E-commerce presents a unique opportunity for businesses to engage potentially billions of customers. Yet, such vast opportunities aren’t as lucrative as they first appear. There are numerous competitors fighting for the same target audience so standing out can be a tall order.
However, with a well-thought-out internet strategy, you can make your mark in online retail and transition nearly every lead to conversion. The following are some helpful tips in making your ecommerce campaign a success.
Identify a Niche
A recent Fortune Magazine survey found that one of the top reasons startups failed was due to the absence of a significant market for their product. Another major reason was a saturated market. Ergo, if you want to increase the odds of your ecommerce site succeeding, identify a niche that both your direct competitors and large retailers do not currently serve.
You should either build a truly unique product or map out an audience that no current player has recognized. The rationale for focusing on a niche is that your customers are forced somewhat to be more tolerant of any small or temporary flaws your product may have since they do not have many options. Of course, this isn’t an excuse for complacency.
Play to Your Strengths
One of the oft-touted principles of both personal and business financial success is diversification. However, diversification isn’t always a good thing especially in business. Once you’ve identified a winning niche and achieved substantial success, it’s tempting to explore new areas in an attempt to outmaneuver a new set of competitors.
This is a gamble that may not pay off. Just because you’ve made a name in one sphere doesn’t mean customers will be queuing up to buy whatever product you roll out elsewhere. Even when your new product does see some success, don’t take your eye off the line of business that made it all possible.
You could end up spreading yourself too thin while failing to focus on the thing that you are actually good at.
Simulate Offline Shopping
The internet has provided ecommerce stores with all kinds of advantages and efficiencies over their brick-and-mortar counterparts. But there is one thing that online retailers have always found difficult to replicate or exceed: physical contact. This is especially problematic when it comes to high-value products.
It’s difficult for an ecommerce site to replicate the customer’s experience in a brick-and-mortar store. There are however a number of ways online retailers can make virtual window-shopping as near real as possible. For example, each product should be accompanied by high-resolution photos that show the item in detail from different angles.
Customers can be further motivated by free-shipping, price-match guarantees and money-back guarantees. The goal is to earn the customer’s trust in order to eliminate doubt and hesitation.
Create a Memorable Consistent Brand
A fascinating brand is one way to pull ahead of your competition. Contrary to widespread belief, branding is more than just the colors and logo of your business. It’s about the entire customer experience ranging from your logo, website and social media accounts, to how you respond to customer enquiries and how often you exceed expectations. Branding is about positively influencing how customers perceive the business.
Good branding is never accidental; it must be carefully thought out and deeply intertwined with the company’s overall strategic objectives. Small businesses and startups (which comprise the majority of ecommerce stores) are particularly prone to neglecting branding and instead fixating on sales, marketing and product distribution. The result is a decent unique relevant product but that fails to connect with a critical mass of the market.
Hugely successful online retailers such as Amazon and Alibaba have demonstrated the tremendous opportunity that’s in the ecommerce space. Unfortunately, numerous ecommerce sites have fallen by the wayside and a number of those that survive have ended up barely getting by.
By incorporating the above four tips in their strategy, budding internet retailers can greatly increase their chances of success.