This article is adapted from Endorphin Advisor’s 10 E-Commerce Strategies to Help Grow Your Business in 2020
Online sales represent nearly 11% of retail revenue and it’s predicted that by 2040, 95% of purchases will be made online. And because most online stores have low startup costs and entrepreneurs can easily offer products from around the world, e-commerce has opened the door to business ownership for countless entrepreneurs.
As business owners navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, having an e-commerce strategy has become more important than ever.
To help you round out your e-commerce strategy during this time, Endorphin Advisors shares 10 strategies to grow your e-commerce business. Use some or all to build the e-commerce side of your business step-by-step and continue your business’s growth.
10 ways to grow your e-commerce business
1. Grow your customer list
Email marketing is a powerful tool, with some studies showing a return-on-investment as high as 38-to-1. That’s why websites you visit will often have several points at which you can sign up for their email list and your website should do this, too. Include email signups on your home page, your landing page (if you have one) and at checkout.
2. Personalize communications and experiences
With e-commerce, we’ve gained convenience, but lost some of the face-to-face relationships and personal touches that traditionally helped to build customer loyalty. Through personalization, you can replicate some of that “perfect for you” feeling.
“Personalization” means that you use the data you have about each customer – what they’ve purchased, reviewed, enjoyed or even returned – and develop communications targeted to them. You can personalize onsite browsing, emails, social media and more. And statistics show it’s worth the effort: 80% of customers are more likely to purchase goods from an online store that provides personalized experiences.
3. Leverage social media
Nearly 1-in-4 customers say they’ll follow a business’s social media posts to learn about deals and promotions and more than half of all buyers say that social media influences their shopping. Use Instagram and Facebook to post about new products, sales and special events and targeted ads through Google or Facebook to increase your reach.
4. Optimize e-commerce conversion
You can use free tools like Google Analytics to learn a lot about your customers, like where they’re from, how they found your site and what they did once they got there. Then, you can use those insights to further tailor your website and offerings to meet their interests and needs and convert browsers into paying customers.
The average e-commerce conversion rate is less than 3%. Learning to use data analytics can help you improve your conversion rate and increase sales.
5. Request feedback from satisfied customers
Happy customers who are willing to share their great experiences can provide the most influential – and free – advertising for you. Ask for reviews and testimonials to build brand exposure, interest and loyalty. User-generated content and “micro-influencers” can be the key to brand and sales growth.
6. Get your products directly in front of customers with targeted advertising
With so many online sellers, you have to engage potential customers as early in the process as possible. Google Shopping Ads include product images, pricing and, of course, links to your e-commerce site. Google makes it easy to create campaigns when you set up a Merchant Center data feed, and then automatically directs your ads to people who are already searching for these products.
7. Create subscription programs
Subscription programs enable businesses to create ongoing relationships with their customers and to create personalized programs that meet their needs and wants. On a regular basis, your customers are automatically charged a set fee and automatically shipped whatever it is that fulfills their subscriptions. Subscriptions are an excellent way to consistently reengage existing customers and attract new ones while generating consistent and scalable revenue streams.
8. Use chatbots to improve customer service
Many e-commerce businesses are run by small staff – often, just the owner. For that reason, customer service often takes a back seat to other priorities. Set your business apart by using “chatbots,” which use data and artificial intelligence to provide answers and fill a service void.
Nearly half of online purchasers say that chatbots are their primary choice for customer service inquiries. They can be especially helpful if you have frequently asked questions about products or services. It’s recommended that you have a way for customers to contact your business directly, too, if and when needed.
9. Write newsletters and blogs
Continuously posting new content to your social media channels, blogs and website is one of the best ways to organically improve your business’s search results. Long-form blog posts with informational guides can significantly boost organic SEO over the course of a year. Use your content in emails, too, to stay in touch with current and potential customers.
10. Promote through in-person opportunities
An online store is cost-effective and flexible, and when you combine it with in-person opportunities for people to see you and your products, you can significantly boost brand interest and sales. Opportunities like pop-up stores, special events and customer-education centers create omnichannel strategies (multiple opportunities for engagement). That way, customers have more ways to learn about and buy from your store.
Pursuit can help
If you need funding to help you grow your e-commerce business, give us a call. Every day, we help businesses get the financing they need and we offer a range of additional services to support success.