18 May 2022
What Work Experience at LITTLE is really like (from someone who’s done it)
eCommerce is fast becoming consumers’ favourite way to shop.
Whether it’s for a weekly supermarket haul, wardrobe essentials, or even a new car, more and more people are confident in using online shopping in their day-to-day life. In fact, widespread use of eCommerce grew by over 30% in the last year alone.
With this growth comes opportunity. Accelerated by COVID, and the huge change in consumer behaviour the pandemic brought with it, businesses from large corporations to sole trader startups moved their retail experiences online. New software and third-party partnerships have made it easier than ever before to launch a web-based brand, so now may feel like the perfect opportunity to launch yours.
Despite the latest software, there are still several things to consider before launching your online business.
Here are five things we think you ought to know before building an eCommerce presence for your brand:
Defining your product and your customer base is the first thing to consider before launching into eCommerce. Who are your customers and where will they be? Will the majority of your consumers be domestic or international? How important is delivery time to them?
These aspects will all have an effect on the cost of delivery to you, and potentially your customer, and are hugely important to consider when developing your eCommerce business plan and pricing structure.
The product you are trying to sell will have a huge effect on your delivery and fulfilment. Is it a perishable item? How large and heavy is the item? Most delivery partners use the size and weight of each package in their billing.
Having a clear understanding of who your customer is and engaging them is pivotal to making your eCommerce business a success. Understanding your customer demographics is a great way to start.
Have you met your customer, or have an idea as to who you would like to sell to? How old are they? What is their income? What kind of lifestyle do they lead? These characteristics are incredibly helpful in making decisions on everything from marketing to delivery options. Resources like Google Analytics are great tools for delving deeper into who’s interested in your brand or product, who’s visiting your site, and what else they might be interested in. Analytics provides the raw data that can then be used to make informed decisions in other aspects of your marketing activity.
Strategies such as paid social rely on analysed data to target lookalike audiences, build brand awareness, and drive good quality traffic to your website. Investing in your branding and ensuring consistency across all channels increases the likelihood of converting potential customers into paying ones. Similarly, spending both time and effort on effective SEO and PPC is another tried and tested method of driving traffic to your site, and improving the chances of customers finding you.
Finding the right eCommerce platform to help you sell your products online is essential. Online solutions like Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce are used throughout the marketplace to help people build their own online store, providing tools like pre-built layouts, as well as social media integrations, analytics and SEO help.
Selling the product is half the battle – but now you have to get it to them. There are multiple delivery services to choose from, but you also have to consider what works best for both you and your customer. Is there a next day delivery option for customers, and how easy is it for them to change their delivery date or safe place?
Some eCommerce companies charge an extra fee for shipping, or give the customers an opportunity to choose a quicker delivery option at a higher fee. You may also need to consider where your customers are in the world – international customers and delivery may incur extra customs and tax fees, which may be very expensive. Ensuring you have the correct paperwork and an agreement with your delivery company are great ways to ensure you aren’t paying the maximum for international fees.
Cultivating a loyal customer base that will continue to return to your site is pivotal in eCommerce. Ensuring customers have a great experience from the first click onto the site is key. Your site needs to be fast, functional and most importantly, accurate. Wrong images, incorrect dimensions and inaccurate product information can all lead to return sales and could result in a loss of trust. A poor user experience from a customer could also lead to negative online reviews and poor word of mouth reviews, damaging the reputation of your brand.
But don’t forget, accidents happen! Sometimes things break in transit, a wrong item is sent out or the customer simply changes their mind. These are also grounds for returned products, but keeping your customer happy, up to date and offering hassle-free tools like complimentary return labels keeps customers on-side and makes for an easier shopping experience.
Another way to ensure your customer has a great shopping experience is to make sure all customer service emails are replied to in a timely manner. Delays cause frustration, and may lead to abandoned shopping carts and the customer turning to a competitor.
Keeping your customers, new and old, on a database and sending them coupon codes, access to sales and new or exclusive items is another way to keep customers coming back.