It’s an accomplishment in itself to launch an e-commerce business. But, once it’s off the ground, how do you make it bigger? Ramping up can be a huge challenge for e-commerce business owners. If done right, though, it can be one of the most rewarding stages for an owner. Here are six strategies for growing your e-commerce business.
Build up your mailing list
It might seem like common sense, but it’s worth stating. Your email gathering system is critical to your growth as an e-commerce business. You’ll obviously look to do it when you’re making an online sale. There are also ways to gather emails when customers are first curious about your business, though. That email gathering can help you initiate campaigns to convert people on the fence to customers. And, of course, those people who do become customers can become repeat customers.
Once you know how to reach people, direct emails can be powerful. You can send discount codes or let them be the first to access sales or new offerings. They can, in essence, be part of an exclusive club you create. You can then create the buzz and exclusivity to make that special club gain value and cache.
Advertise multiple places
You’ll have to work to get yourself out there — think about who your audience is, and reach out accordingly. Social media can be an incredible tool for e-commerce. Facebook ads, for example, allow you to target your ads to specific age groups, geographic locations, and interests. But you don’t want to necessarily stop there. You can do your own additional targeting by picking certain websites that offer ads. Pay attention to how they’re presented, though. You don’t want to advertise on websites where the ads are a nuisance or contribute to a cluttered look and feel.
Consider a third party logistics provider
Once you reach more customers, you need to figure out how to get products to your customers in a timely fashion. Getting a company to handle your third party logistics (or 3PL) can be a boon to your e-commerce business. Simply put, third party logistics puts warehousing, inventory management, and fulfillment in the hands of a dedicated third party provider. While it’s not an entirely new concept, 3PL is seeing new popularity in this time of e-commerce growth.
Make sure your UX is sound
Emails and ads will get people to your digital “door.” But you want to make sure your online storefront is inviting and easy to use once they get there. The term UX (short for user experience) is a catch-all term that’s integral to e-commerce success. Essentially, it covers everything related to how your site looks and works.
While specialists can help you factor UX into your site design, you can make some determinations on your own. Go to your site and picture yourself as a customer. Do all the links and buttons take you where they should? Can you find everything you want? Do the pictures included on the site clue you in on how the products look or function? Take notes on what needs to be improved — and then improve those things!
Work on your customer service
A good number of your e-commerce transactions will be simple and turnkey. But invariably, there will be hiccups in deliveries or customers who need returns. That’s where good customer service comes in handy. In e-commerce, two things are paramount in making people feel like you’re taking care of them.
You need to be reachable, first of all. Customer service shouldn’t be a mystery. You should have ways to contact people who can help clearly defined on your site. And then, you need to be responsive. That’s especially true if you’re relying on systems like chat or email where there’s not a voice on your end assuring them.
Add m-commerce to your e-commerce
Mcommerce is a term increasingly used to describe the mobile shopping experience. As you might guess, mcommerce is short for mobile commerce. And, as you might surmise from the name, mcommerce isn’t the same thing as ecommerce. Most website developers worth their salt already use mobile-first principles in designing sites. Mcommerce, however, takes the mobile experience to the next level.
Mobile is becoming an increasingly important avenue for e-commerce businesses to reach customers and make sales. A mobile-first site can get you part of the way to mcommerce. But to fully embrace it and succeed in it, you need an entire mcommerce strategy and execution to match.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.