More than 2.14 billion people shop online on a regular basis. And with the global pandemic continuing to expose more people to the benefits of using eCommerce stores, that number is sure to become even higher in the near future.
But while there’s no denying that the number of opportunities for online sellers is staggering, the same can be said about the competition. With as many as 24 million eCommerce stores operating globally, you will probably face steep competition in most niches, not to mention having to compete with giants like Amazon or Walmart.
However, if you follow a structured approach to building your online business and utilize the best practices of today, you can still achieve success.
Let’s explore five eCommerce success factors that will get you on the right track.
Having a Strong Brand
As a small or newer eCommerce store, you will face a steep challenge when trying to carve out a place in your market. Competing on price isn’t a viable long-term strategy because you can’t operate at a loss forever, but finding a way to lure people away from the more established e-retail options isn’t an easy task.
Luckily, that’s where a strong eCommerce branding strategy can be an indispensable tool.
When you have a strong brand, you can attract the very best customers for your store and get them to connect with what you represent and how your brand reflects on their identity.
Large eCommerce stores can’t match these types of personal connections because they’re trying to appeal to everyone. Meanwhile, you can go all out on giving your brand a strong and distinct personality that will attract only your best buyers and not anyone else.
To develop a brand, you will need to have a strong understanding of what makes your products unique or at least what makes them better than others. You can then build on those unique selling points, making them the central part of your efforts and focusing on attracting the people that care about those features the most.
Finding Your Ideal Customer
If you’re going to succeed as an online business, you need to attract customers that 1) want what you offer and 2) are willing to buy from you. Ideally, you also want customers who will buy from you multiple times and provide you with the highest customer lifetime value.
However, that doesn’t happen on its own. You have to actively work to identify and attract these types of customers to your store with all the tools you have, including branding, marketing, and product offerings.
But how can you find your ideal customer?
Well, if you’re already making sales, the best place to start is to look at your current customers and analyze their shopping habits.
If you use a systemic approach to analyzing retail data, you can better understand who your customers are, where they are coming from, and what customer segments you should focus on.
You can then map out the typical journey your customers take from the moment they’re first exposed to your brand until they eventually become customers. Then, you can also look at which customers stick with you the longest and produce the highest revenue.
If you can identify the unique traits of these customers and get to know them through interviews, surveys, and polls, you’ll have a much better idea why they chose you in the first place, emphasizing those reasons in your marketing and branding.
Social Media Presence
Being present in the realm of social media is no longer optional. With billions of users worldwide, social media platforms have become the perfect tool for engaging your audience, educating customers, and driving more sales.
But building a comprehensive social media strategy is not easy. You need to consider the habits of your audience and also include multiple channels to maximize your presence.
To succeed, you will first need to get organized. Running multiple social media pages is hard work that can be too much to handle manually. Luckily, there are many tools that can automate many of the processes and help you create a more unified approach across multiple platforms.
The team at SnackNation has a long list of powerful social media management software tools such as monday.com, which allows you to use beautiful visualizations to bring your strategy to life, making it easier to stay on top of what you need to post, and when.
Having the right tools will allow you to create a consistent brand voice while also taking advantage of the unique features of each social media platform. You can also utilize the conversational advantages social media offers, interacting with your followers and replying to comments.
Social media marketing also offers unique opportunities to work with prominent influencers with audiences that align with your target buyers. Even though finding the right influencers can take time, a well-crafted campaign can quickly bring a lot of traffic to your online store.
Providing Top-Tier Customer Service
Providing good customer service is an integral part of running a successful online business. But today, it’s no longer enough if you want to sustain growth and excel in your market.
People expect good support; they even demand it. Even if you reply to customer questions relatively quickly, you might still find that they end up going elsewhere to a company that’s more proactive in how they interact with customers.
So, if you want to stand out, you need to go the extra mile in providing top-tier customer support that provides help to your audience wherever and whenever they need it.
For starters, you should make sure that you offer the ability to reach out on any channel your customers might prefer. Having a contact form and a phone number is a given, but you could also consider Whatsapp support functionality and even a chatbot to take over when your team isn’t available.
Many companies have also found success in offering support through their social media channels. Users often find products through social media ads, so answering questions right there can provide a significant boost to consumer trust and conversions.
Finally, continue to monitor how happy your customers are with the support you provide by collecting feedback. This way, you can address issues quickly and continually improve how your support system is working.
Building a successful eCommerce business isn’t easy. With competition rising in most niches, you need to have a structured process to build a loyal following of your own.
But if you consider the factors listed above, you will have a solid foundation for an online store that knows who to target, how to attract them, and how to keep them happy.