10 Things You Have to Do to Grow Your eCommerce Business in the First Year
1. Research various target markets.
Quite often new businesses can ignore huge areas of potential customers because they only focus on a particular target market. Spend time regularly researching and analysing your data, to see who, why and where your customers are coming from.
Tip: Research who your competitors are selling to. Their social media pages are a great place to start.
2. Set realistic goals.
When starting up your eCommerce business, things are very exciting and most of you will be very optimistic but it's important to have some realistic expectations. Sit down and plan out some realistic goals and how you are going to achieve them; but always be open to change, which I will explain in more detail in the next point.
Tip: Make short and long term goals that can be easily measured.
3. Always learn and evolve.
It is paramount in a new business to always learn from what is happening around you. No matter how much research and time you put into the preparation of your business, things can take a different route, so learn from your data and go with the flow.
Tip: Allocate 1 hour a week to look at what has happened in the last 7 days but change it up. For example: one week, look at the demographic of your consumers and the next week look at the most popular time you site is used.
4. Write high-quality personalised content.
In today's world content is king! The worst thing you could do, for your website is copy and paste content from other sites, There is a very high chance that Google will completely ignore your entire site from its search engine. Spend the time writing high-quality content, that is also personalised for your business's tone of voice.
Tip: Choose one page a day to write about, it will spread out the huge task of content writing, but also help you write more creative and personalised content.
5. Invest in a responsive website.
In 2012 more than half of the local searches were performed on a mobile device, that's a huge amount of potential customers coming to your site from a smart phone! The last thing you want is a high bounce rate coming from a mobile device, you could be missing out on a staggering amount of loss renew. Roger Willcocks, director of Screen Pages, explains, “If mobiles are 10% of your business and conversions are 40% lower, on a site with 10,000 visits per day with a conversion ratio of 3% and an average order value of £50, mobile usage can represent a loss in revenue of over £300,000.”
Tip: read more about what Roger Willcocks has to say in this blog post. Mobile usage of e-commerce websites.
6. Integrate all your sales channels.
Unless you are only selling online, it is important to integrate all your sales channels into one system. The beauty with choosing Evance is that you can have a website and a telephone sales channel. The last thing you want is for multiple sales coming from multiple different sources. So spent the time organising one systematic way for all your sales to come out one end.
Tip: Make a list of things available to customers online and make sure they are available offline, from promotions, company information and return policies etc.
7. Skip the middlemen.
Once you have a good stream of business, don't be afraid to go straight to the manufacturers. With small eCommerce business being a growing trend, more and more manufacturers are becoming keen to work with smaller businesses.
Tip: Figure out one or two of your most popular products to approach the manufacturers with. Start small and then move onto other products one at a time.
8. Learn from the data from your marketing emails.
It is important to always read the data when you send out marketing emails, you must learn from how your customers are interacting with your emails. If your customers aren't clicking your new product calls to action (CTA) but are clicking your sale CTA, it's a way of your customers sayings bring on the sales!!! If you don't learn from what your customers are doing with emails, it can often actually stop customers purchasing from you again.
Personal experience: I once bought a couple of running tops from a local fitness shop and when paying I was asked to join their mailing list. I like to support local businesses so I obliged. I was then bombarded with an email every two days, it won't surprise you that after a couple of weeks I unsubscribed. Email marketing can be extremely effective but you have to get the balance right between giving customers what they want and when they want it.
Tip: If you find a lot of your email marketing is filled with similar content, for example 'sale products', direct your customers' to your social media page to get this content. Then use the marketing emails in a different way to market your business to your customers. It will save you time and get you some more moolah!!
9. Be engaging on social media.
If you have a social media page, it is important to be active and engaging. A single post every three weeks is not enough, but it's also important to post quality content and to not post for the sake of posting. Think of it like a weight scale, you need to keep it balanced between quality and quantity. Also, don't be afraid to share outside content from brands you stock or customers you follow.
Tip: Don't spread yourself too thin, if you are limited for time just focus on one social media and get it right. To find out which social media brand is right for you, read this great blog by Yahoo
10. Plan your day.
The one thing that most new business owners want is more hours in the day, one of the things I learnt that really helped grow my own business, was to plan out your entire day or week right down to the small stuff and stick to it. If you have scheduled 2 hours in the afternoon for processing orders, stop whatever you are doing and spend the 2 hours doing that job.
Tip: Create the plan in a synced calendar with reminders to alert you to move onto or start the next task.