Are you thinking of starting an eCommerce business? Online retail sales amounted to US$4.9 trillion worldwide according to Statista – and is only set to grow by 50% over the next four years.
If you have something novel to sell or are looking to enter the market with a new niche, there are a few things you need to consider.
Here’s how to grow your eCommerce business from the ground up – and even take on the internationals.
Questions to ask
You can buy and sell almost anything through eCommerce. Even so, your product needs to be viable in the marketplace and suitable to make revenue consistently.
You need to ask yourself:
- Is the product easy to post? Am I selling digital goods?
- Is the product robust or fragile?
- Will the product be tied up at customs for being hazardous or have tariffs put on it?
- Can you source the product here or overseas?
- Who are my ideal customers?
- What is the competition like?
Once you know the answers to those questions, you can plan to reduce costs and increase your profit margins by sourcing products efficiently, using drop shipping vs. third party logistics (3PL), and putting together your long-term business plan.
Getting your apps together
Every eCommerce site needs apps to make it run. Your website and eCommerce front-end is everything your customers see; but you’ll also need apps in the back end to ensure success. You will definitely need a Customer Relationship Management system to give you insights into your customers and sales opportunities.
These need to plug into your Inventory Management System, your Knowledge Base for responding to customer complaints; your Cloud Accounting software to keep track of financials; and your Workflow Management app to ensure tasks are completed by relevant team members in a timely manner.
At this stage, everything should also be tied into your Marketing and Analytics software – the crucial part of attracting potential customers.
Marketing your store
Your store should be set up to gain as much data as possible from incoming search terms or keywords. This can all be viewed in your Google Analytics or Google Search Console. This is essential to improving your Search Engine Optimisation, which increases your ranking on Google search for certain search terms. The more content and backlinks you can produce, the better your rankings will be over time.
SEO does take time – so you can pay for Google Ads in the interim. Good ads need good data. This makes sure you’re not spending your campaign money on low search volume keywords and demographics outside your target audience.
You should also consider marketing via social media – Facebook and Instagram being the most used choices – and build a community around your brand. You should also try to bolster your email list.
Your email list
Your email list is your secret weapon when it comes to marketing. According to Campaign Monitor, email marketing is the undisputed champion of returns on investment, generating an average of $44 for each $1 spent on advertising through email.
Offer coupons or discounts in return for signups to your email list. You can market to people over and over again when sales come around, which can kickstart your eCommerce growth.