Steps to Start or Improve Your Small Business Ecommerce Strategy This Year

How to build a winning ecommerce strategy

February 18, 2021 | by Devin Partida

Put simply, ecommerce encompasses selling products to customers through multiple digital touchpoints. It’s about offering customers availability to purchase anywhere be it from your website, on social media, chat, or more. While these interactions are not face-to-face, it allows brick-and-mortar stores the opportunity to merge their entire customer experience into one for even better results! 

Here are six ways to increase your sales and grow your reach this year. 

1. Offer User-Friendly Processes 

Making positive impacts in the ecommerce industry starts with understanding how to make quick and easy processes for your users. Customers always want self-service to be an option. In fact, if they didn’t have to speak to an agent throughout their entire browsing and purchasing experience, they wouldn’t. So, be sure to find ways to improve the checkout flow and make the path to purchase less disruptive. 

When implementing new processes for your ecommerce business, you should test any platform before launching it. If people get error messages or find that parts of a site don’t work, they’ll find it hard to trust your brand. Having said that, consider using existing platforms in your efforts, ones that consumers already use often.

In the Malaysian market, grocery retailer, Tesco, even allowed people to place orders via WhatsApp. They could then collect the goods that evening from a participating store. Think about offering a guest checkout option, too. Many people don’t want to take the time to create accounts, especially if doing business with companies for the first time. If they can purchase goods as guests, that option removes the friction that could potentially delay the transactions. 

2. Develop a Product Information Strategy 

Accurate product information is crucial for online selling, regardless of the channel. If people want to learn about the items you sell but find inaccurate or incomplete details, they may lack confidence in you and approach a competitor. That’s why you need a Product Information Management (PIM), to help ensure the right content shows up on the right channels. 

Start by mapping down the digital channels you’ll use to sell your products and get an idea of what these channels require. To get an idea of how valuable product information is, consider a recent study that showed 45% of consumers visited the product detail page (PDP) when purchasing items. However, only 37% of marketers optimized the PDP for ideal search engine performance. Start strong with your ecommerce approach by managing your product information in one place, and ensure your content is optimized at scale for search results. 

3. Use Instant Messaging to Connect With Customers 

Instant messaging became popular in the late 1990s, as people sought ways to immediately connect with friends and family. Now, internet users expect to communicate with businesses in the exact same way, via instant messages or texts, too. Data from Juniper Research showed 4.3 billion people using instant messaging in 2020, driven partly by COVID-19.

Moreover, 75% of people surveyed in another poll reported changing their shopping behaviors. Store closings, shifting priorities, and economic pressures have changed the way people purchase. Capitalize on that willingness by letting them contact your company via instant or SMS messaging, giving customers options they probably already know and love. 

For instance, your company could send messages about order updates or sales. People like quick feedback when dealing with online brands and instant messages provide that. Plus, they create communication histories that internal teams can refer back to when assisting customers. 

4. Create an Omnichannel Experience 

Omnichannel provides a seamless customer experience no matter how people choose to interact with your company. A recent survey about business-to-business (B2B) companies found that 54% of United States customers place their orders through self-service websites. The research also indicated that most organizations use at least three sales channels — including offline options. Many companies still accept orders by phone or let customers purchase at stores. 

5. Encourage Customers to Review Your Business 

Nowadays, people are more likely to reviews from other customers to get an idea of what they could expect from a business. With so many people now buying things through digital channels, such feedback from verified consumers could become even more valuable. Research showed a 104% increase in product review engagement between late February 2020 and late March 2020. The overall review length fell by more than 20% in that same period. (Fortunately, people don’t need to write lengthy reviews to praise your services and help you gain traction.)

6. Launch an Email Marketing Campaign 

Email marketing is a great way for your business to strengthen its digital presence. 

A 2020 study found that 78% of executive marketers considered email marketing vital to their companies’ success. Additionally, 94% of respondents ranked it as one of their top three most effective ways to advertise their organizations. You may send the same emails to all recipients at first. But, as soon as you become more comfortable using email in your ecommerce strategy, consider conducting split testing to discover which of the two email versions you send performs better. Another option is to segment users based on what they buy or their demographics. You can then create messages that are most likely to resonate with each group. 

Create concise subject lines that make people want to click but don’t seem like spam. Also, recognize that many readers will see the content on mobile devices. Use short paragraphs, bullet points, and subheadings to make the material more scannable on those smaller screens. 

Choosing the right frequency is essential, too. People typically appreciate messages that provide relevant information, but they may feel overwhelmed if you send them daily. 

One Step at a Time 

It can be challenging to move forward with an ecommerce strategy, especially if you have a small budget or team. However, you can apply these suggestions while ironing out your plans, even with limited resources. Just by investing in a PIM tool to take care of your product admin, you’re already off to a great start. From here, you can manage content for multiple channels and adjust your marketing strategies according to the performance of your ecommerce store.

Download a FREE guide to choosing the ultimate PIM solution

 

Devin Partida

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