Have you ever looked at top ecommerce sites like Amazon and Shopify and wondered how they’ve been able to grow to the mega-sites they are today? What does their business look like? How is it structured? Perhaps most importantly, how do they not only acquire new customers, but get them to come back time and time again, providing the company with millions in repeat sales?
As with any business, the only way to achieve these types of super-high levels of success is to first create a plan. And if you’re in the beginning stages of setting up your own ecommerce business (or if you already have one, yet feel stuck because you’re not where you feel you should be), this plan can prove critical to your ability to build and grow a profitable business.
With that thought in mind, there are five keys to setting up a successful ecommerce business that, maybe someday, will be also be a common household name. Here they are:
- Know your target market inside and out
How do you know which products and product lines will do the best in your new ecommerce store, selling off the shelf so fast that your suppliers have a hard time keeping up? You study your target market so in-depth that you feel like you’re long-lost high school friends.
This means taking the time to learn about what they like, what they don’t like, what problems keep them up at night, what their goals are, what their family structure looks like, how old they are, what their hobbies are, and more. The more you know what makes them tick, the easier it is to create an ecommerce site that carries the items they want most.
- Choose the right ecommerce platform
If you’ve ever tried to place an order online and found yourself staring at the small circle going round and round on the middle of your screen while wondering if it is ever going to go through, then you know the type of frustration this causes. And you know how you don’t want to make your customers feel, which is where choosing the right ecommerce platform comes in.
Ideally, you want one that offers quick load times and a stellar customer experience. The easier and faster you can make the buying process, the greater the number of customers who will want to repeat their product purchasing experience.
- Market, market, market
The one fatal mistake that new business owners often make is believing the old adage, if you build it, they will come. Though this would make creating a successful business wonderfully easy, it isn’t realistic. At all.
The only way anyone is going to know that your ecommerce business exists, let alone want to buy from it, is if you do a fair amount of marketing. Digital marketing is probably the best for this type of business, especially since you already know your customers are online. So, take the time to learn and put the top marketing channels into work, and you’ll get your name out there in a way that will draw customers in.
- Make the quoting process simple
The best possible scenario for any business owner in the ecommerce space is to acquire customers who want larger orders of goods. However, with larger orders often comes a desire to get some kind of discount.
Instead of taking the time to create a proposed contract, sending it to them to review, them sending it back to you for changes, you making the changes and sending it back, and on and on, you can take the time delays—and stress—out of the equation by using a quoting software to automate the process. Pick one that works with your current CRM (customer relationship management) system and enables the customer to sign electronically and the quoting process will be easier for both of you.
- Develop a “one more” philosophy
Because there are so many companies vying for your customers’ attention, you have to find a way to rise above the rest. One way to achieve this goal is to develop a company culture that has a “one more” philosophy.
This means always trying to exceed your customer’s expectations by giving them at least one more thing that makes them smile, yet they didn’t expect. This could be a free little gift sent as a token of your appreciation or even a discount on their next order. By showing them that you are gracious for their business and that they’re not “just another customer,” you help nurture customer loyalty that lasts.
Setting up a successful ecommerce business isn’t an easy task as it requires a multi-level approach, but it is possible. Just do these five things and you’ll be well on your way to joining the Amazons and Shopifys of this space.
Who knows? Maybe someday they’ll be looking at your ecommerce business and trying to figure out how to be more like you?