With more and more consumers shopping online each year, there's plenty of space for e-commerce businesses of all sizes.
However, it's more important than ever for e-commerce businesses to know their brand, promote themselves fiercely, outdo their competitors and keep their customers satisfied.
These strategies will help you on your way to e-commerce success.
Know your target audience
The key to running a successful e-commerce business is to know your target audience well – including what they like, how much money they earn (and have to spend), where they hang out online, as well as what they value in terms of delivery, customer service and add-ons.
Also, your venture shouldn't be too broad. Specialise – focus on satisfying the wants and needs of a niche market – rather than trying to do the impossible and appeal to everyone.
Promote your brand
You don’t need to revolutionise online marketing to have a successful e-commerce business, but you do need to promote your brand effectively to ensure you have customers.
Find out where members of your target audience are spending their time online – whether on social media sites or news sites – and ensure that you promote your business there.
Get to know your competition
Knowing your competition is as important as knowing your customers. Find out what makes your competitors successful and where they are lacking. You can do this by regularly visiting their website and social media pages, using their services and talking to their customers.
Use this knowledge to improve your business model and avoid repeating their mistakes.
Provide the best shopping experience possible
With so many similar e-retailers out there, you need to provide a good experience to keep customers coming back. Make sure that your website is user-friendly and runs smoothly; provide a search function to make browsing your merchandise quick and easy; and provide online customer support.
You can go the extra mile and personalise the experience by generating recommendations for customers based on their previous purchases and what others are buying.
In this day and age it is important to respond to customer wants and needs and be willing to change your business model if it doesn’t work.
This could mean changing your content, ditching or adding certain products, going mobile, embracing new forms of social media or trying new styles of marketing.
Use customer feedback to improve your business
Don't be afraid to ask customers for feedback – after-all, their opinions matter most! Ask them what they like/dislike about your website, products and customer service, and what you could do to improve their online shopping experience.
You can this by adding a feedback box to your site, posting surveys on social media and sending follow-up emails once customers have received their products.
Use an experienced logistics partner
There’s no point in marketing your products effectively and offering consumers what they want at a competitive price if you can’t follow through with timely, reliable deliveries. The challenge lies in finding an affordable but reliable third-party logistics partner.
Find affordable, convenient e-commerce storage
It's easy to forget about the "behind the scenes" costs if you're running a business primarily online.
However, if your e-commerce business sells physical products, you have to store and manage inventory in much the same way as any other, traditional business – or better, in order to satisfy online customers' demand for fast, reliable deliveries.
Our facilities are conveniently located in major cities and towns across South Africa. That means you can store e-commerce merchandise close to where your customers are located – in effect, enabling your e-commerce business to "go national" without having physical branches in multiple locations.