You have your store (The website) ready. You have your products ready. All you have to do is give the green signal and you’re live. As soon as you go live, sales start popping up on your dashboard and you in a flash, you’re the next Amazon! Not quite. Before even a single sale pops up, before your store even goes live (Yes! In the nascent stage, in the testing stage and at every stage, even after you start making those juicy dollars) there are a few things you should always ask yourself and only when you can answer these questions and convince yourself of the answers you give, are you ready to go live and start taking the Ecommerce world by storm.
Before you start reaching out to people, you should be acutely aware of which in-market segment or niche you are targeting.
What is a Niche? Niche is a fraction of a total market or an audience, a segment of the market or the audience with highly specific needs which cannot generally be satisfied by many service providers or marketers.
As a very basic example, 25-35 aged people who drive Ferraris is a niche market/audience. Do you want to target a very large audience or do you want to stick to a highly specific in-market segment like people with a taste for high end fashion and high purchasing power.
Once you identify your niche, go deep. Go very deep. If you’re out there just selling stuff, it’s going to be difficult unless you have an edge or a new product that no one else sells.
Anyone who actually buys your product is a customer. No maybes about it. If someone is interested in your product, they are Prospects that can be converted into customers. All the rest can be classified as Suspects.
After this segmentation, figure out a way you want to reach out to them.
“Why? Can’t they find me?” NO! They can’t since the number of websites on the web is insanely high! Any product, especially a new and promising product can be sold to the target audience but it requires the brains of people who know how to market it to do it.
Do you want to reach them at this instant and make them want to buy or do you want it to be a slow organic process? Do you want to focus on marketing your products and store directly or do you want to build you brand and then convert them at a later stage by increasing interaction as a brand?
The tools and paths you use are based on the answer to these questions, for eg, if you want the organic growth path, you should focus your energies in having the best SEO for your site. The best part in all of this is that practices like SEO, SEM, Emails and the lot can all be a part of your promotional system since they do not work in silos.
Once you have a clear understanding of the audience and how you will reach them, you must decide on how you will measure the success of your efforts. There are various dimensions you could use to measure the performance of your e-commerce platform and hence determine how successful it is. Sales revenue, transaction count, new customers, average ticket value (ATV) and website visitors are some of the more typical measurements that you may want to track.
Converting your original objectives into a set of clearly measurable targets will give you the ability to track your e-commerce efforts and make adjustments along the way as required.
Customers and their satisfaction determine all of your business’ value. Calculating what every customer is worth to you is a way to estimate the monetary value a customer brings to your business during the life of your relationship with him (The customer lifetime value or CLV).
This entails figuring out the cost of customer acquisition, the average first purchase cart size, the number of subsequent transactions, average cart size and margins and modeling them to figure out which customer segments are actually giving you good returns.
When you are just taking off, you will have to make certain assumptions after careful market research about the demand of the product, the time required for the re-purchase cycle to initiate and take off based on these assumptions. However, one should always keep testing the assumptions and make data driven decisions.
The world of ecommerce is constantly evolving, and fast. In this space more than others, customer expectations have increased dramatically, thanks to the rise of social and mobile, and many online retailers are scrambling to keep up.
Today’s ecommerce customers have significant control over the buying cycle and their voices are amplified more than ever. They’re changing everything business owners thought they knew about customer relationships. They’re listening to peers, researching heavily online and posting complaints on social media and forums.
Things like offering to help a customer through instant messengers on the website to help guide them through the entire shopping experience, saving their shopping carts for their convenience, helping them keep a track of their order after they make a purchase, timely addressing their grievances and asking their feedback on their purchase are some of the must-do’s on your website.
Taking online payment can be as simple or complex as you choose. While there are many online payment service solutions available, it becomes very difficult to choose the best option for your store. When you look over such products, consider which company your target customers trust most in terms of security and longevity. If you decide to go with a custom solution, keep in mind that security should be your number-one priority. Work with someone who has expertise in technologies like SSL. Also, try to support the currency your target audience usually uses to make transactions. It adds trust in the subconscious. And in the world of ecommerce, trust is everything!
Now that the customer had made a purchase, your biggest challenge is to ship the product to right address and within promised time limit. The lasting impression that you make with your packaging and shipping helps you increasing the life time value of a customer. Javas, Delivery, Bluedart are few names that are into e-commerce fulfillment services. While choosing a shipping service provider ensures that your orders will be fulfilled on time.
Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to start your business but it also means the competition is fierce. Now you can start a new ecommerce business without investing huge dollars in systems. But did you ever ask this question to yourself? If not, you must. The infrastructure your e-commerce site runs on is really the life blood of any store. This is really one area where you should opt for best of breed over cost of convenience. Your E-commerce store should be developed in order to deliver an efficient e-commerce experience for the customer.
We know what you’re thinking: how hard could it be to make a website user friendly and intuitive? After all, just stick a search bar somewhere at the top and some clickable tabs somewhere on the home page, and you’re good to go, right? Wrong.
The first step to a user friendly website is a fast load time. If your site takes more than five seconds to load, it is highly likely that users will give up and move on to the next site. The second important thing is the landing page experience. It is the landing page which makes the user decides if he wants to stay on the page or not. A well-designed, user-friendly online store effortlessly guides consumers through the entire process of shopping, from searching to purchasing. At no point should customers be confused or not know what their next step is. Convoluting the path to purchase leads to abandoned shopping carts and low conversion rates.
As you can imagine, this small set of questions can easily keep us talking for an hours on end. But hey, most things can. While this isn’t the full list of questions that might come up, it’s the core set. And we hope by sharing with you our views, you can apply the ones that make sense to your work.
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