By Maulik D Shah
What makes an online business successful? Is it the products you sell, or their price or marketing? The ecommerce industry is continuing its fast growth and will continue to do so in the near future. But today it is is crowded with a plethora of players selling similar products and most engaged in price wars to win over customers. But deep discounts and engaging in price wars doesn't ensure long term success. Innovation in product strategy or the delivery process is key to success in this competitive industry, not discounts.
Getting back to the fundamentals of marketing i. e. focusing on the 4Ps of marketing - Product, Price, Place and Promotion can give you a starting point to build a strategy that leads you to long term ecommerce success. Here are some tips that will guide you to success.
1. Develop a USP for Your Store
The age of developing general ecommerce stores is over. That war has already been won by Amazon and the other key players. And if you want to become another Amazon or eBay, that's a guaranteed way to fail. The future of ecommerce is about specialty stores. Heavily invest in your brand which is unique & creative, and never take it easy on your lead. In this online age, it's hard to have customer loyalty.
So you need to expand your product line in your niche to stay ahead of the competition. You need to stock deep. For example if you opt for footwear as the category to specialize, stock so many varieties for footwear that even Amazon doesn't have. Become the destination for people looking to buy footwear online.
2. Choose the Right Technology Platform
Choosing the right ecommerce platform is very critical, since an ecommerce business is heavily dependent on technology. Its not just enough to have a robust and scalable ecommerce platform. Social media integration, good UI & UX, mobile friendliness, SEO, modules for content marketing and customer support have also become the fundamental needs of an online store today.
Based on these factors and the understanding of what's required to open a successful online storefront, decide which ecommerce platform will suit you best. Don't forget to factor in your business goals, budget, and technical experience also.
3. Work on Your Pricing Strategy
Your product pricing strategy may make or break your business. Do a detailed study of your competitors and their pricing and then decide your products prices (and discounts) accordingly. If you are in a very competitive category, to make an impression in the market you may have to keep your prices low initially. And to attract more customers, you can run periodic discount offers. But try to keep a balance. Don't give too much discounts otherwise customers will start expecting discounted price all the year round.
4. Understand Your Customers
Understanding your customers aids you to sell further. The more you know about their needs, the easier it is to recognize opportunities to sell them the new products and target them with suitable offers. Profiling existing customers also makes it easier to find new ones.
However, you must confirm that you act in accordance with data protection regulations for any personal information on existing and potential customers that you collect, keep and use. There are specific rules for ecommerce. Understanding your customers facilitates you in planning. You can forecast what they will buy, and guess how much stock you need. Relating customer management to purchasing can improve profitability.
5. Have the Right Online Promotion Strategy
There are several ways you can go about promoting your online store. Having a concrete promotion strategy is important to succeed in an online business. Ecommerce marketing isn't easy and requires lot of effort and work. Your ecommerce marketing should be comprised of:
Social Media Marketing
Having a winning strategy for each of these online marketing tools, combined with other steps explained above will definitely take you ahead of your competitors.
6. Improve Your Brand's Credibility
Your brand's credibility is important as it results in loyal customers and repeat business. Give your customers a guarantee that your store is a good place to buy products from. Ask for testimonials and feedbacks of satisfied customers. Offer a small discount to your customers for their next order if they write a review. Integrate reviews from third party sites to your store to make the feedback look more genuine and useful. Get your website audited from trusted certification companies like VeriSign and show their certificate. Add SSL certificate to your site to make the payment process more secure.
7. Make It Easy for Customers to Buy From You
Today consumers have more places to buy from than every before. If you have an ecommerce business, and you wish for online shoppers to buy from you, you have to attract their attention - and make their shopping experience satisfying and easy.
There are various ways to do this - make sure that your site loads rapidly; make your navigation intuitive; display customer reviews prominently etc. Apart from this, you can remove the requirement of creating an account. Also make sure that your default shipping option is pocket friendly. You should also contain various payment options like credit card, debit card, mobile wallets and net banking.
8. Keep Functionality in Mind
When it comes to functionality and speed, bounce rates and shopping cart abandonment are directly connected to your website performance. The slower your store functions, the less money you will make.
The other feature of functionality is navigation. Formulate it as user-friendly. Often, this comprises of categories list, a well-organized header and footer. You may also need to append a search field and site map on the homepage of your store. This will assist your shoppers to search exactly what they are looking for within seconds.
Mr. Maulik Shah is the founder and CEO of Biztech Consultancy, an IT services provider based in India, specializing in providing ecommerce development solutions, CRM and ERP solutions for SMBs and enterprises.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Maulik_D_Shah/1532722
These strategies will help you to keep your business on the right track entering into the year 2016.
1. Signals from social media
2. Befriend mobile
Mobile Internet activity is above 30% of the overall Internet traffic. In view of the considerable developments in browsing patterns, Google has initiated the step of tagging sites on its SERPs as "mobile-friendly". Naturally, the click rates and engagement for sites tagged specifically as Mobile friendly would be greater than that of others'.
So, the beginners have to switch over to the responsive design, to get assessed by Google's search engine. Take Google's Mobile-Friendly Test and confirm that your site passes the requirements set by Google.
3. Migrate to HTTPS
With the recent incidence of data breaches in a big scale, security has been an area of focus for most digital conversations. In a move toward a safer browsing experience for all users, in August 2014 Google announced it would be using HTTPS, as a definite ranking signal. HTTPS (HTTP Secure) is a technology for transferring data between your site and the Web server with an additional layer of encryption called SSL (Secure Socket Layer) to make data transfer more safe and secure. Keeping the present Web security scenario in view, along with Google's declaration regarding HTTPS as a ranking signal, it is worthwhile to invest in an SSL certificate for your site.
4. Don't abuse guest blogging
As article marketing has attained more popularity by way of backlinks and proven authority, there was a pronounced increase in guest blogging, only to provide a link. You must always try to publish quality content under guest blogging and receive quality links from recognized Web sites.
5. Focus on contextual search
SEO experts preferred to improve their published content through their synonyms, product related phrases and diverse content formats. In 2014, the content management abilities of Google bots are refined. A comprehensive SEO approach with the top 5 SEO tools has enabled improvised keywords from the point of user outlook. Keywords with interactive queries with normal linguistic structures have been adopted.
Compare SEO tools that will enhance your visibility on all platforms without any hindrance.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Yash_Pal_Singh/2128387