Much like starting a brick-and-mortar business, starting an ecommerce business comes with inherent challenges. From researching your niche and developing an ecommerce business plan to choosing an ecommerce platform and designing a beautiful website, the beginning stages of the process can feel overwhelming.
Once you make it to launch day, the hard work of establishing your online business is over and customers will start flocking to your web store, right?
Well, not exactly.
The ecommerce industry is constantly evolving, which means online business owners must ensure their websites are also evolving to stay relevant and reach their targeted customer base. Fortunately, you don’t have to learn how to grow and maintain your ecommerce business on your own.
With these 15 useful ecommerce tips, you’ll discover how to get organized, stay relevant, and run a successful online business.
Grow Your Online Business with These 15 Ecommerce Tips
1. Develop a Robust Advertising and Marketing Strategy
As an ecommerce entrepreneur, learning how to market your ecommerce store is the first step to growing your online business.
Begin by running ads on platforms such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads on day one and be sure your web store — including individual landing pages, product pages, and product descriptions — are search engine optimized (SEO) to fuel organic traffic. To boost your marketing efforts even further, consider publishing informative, engaging, product-related content regularly on a blog, social media profiles, or via an email newsletter.
2. Expand Presence Across Social Media Platforms
Many new ecommerce store owners focus their social media efforts on one platform, such as only posting on Instagram or Facebook exclusively. While this can certainly capture the attention of potential customers, competitors can easily take advantage of this by focusing their attention on social platforms you’re not on.
Establishing your presence on more than one social media platform may take extra work, but it will expand your brand awareness and customer reach while ensuring you stay competitive with other businesses in your market.
3. Establish Your Business on Multiple Ecommerce Platforms
Online customers are shopping on more digital shopping platforms than ever and developing a consistent omnichannel strategy is key to reaching them.
Outside of the shopping functionality on your web store, you should give your customers the flexibility to shop and interact with your brand on shopping platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Etsy, Pinterest, or even Amazon. But rather than incorporating all shopping platforms into your strategy, make sure you know what specific channels your target audience is using to shop for products like yours.
4. Build Relationships with Influencers
Along with maintaining multiple social media profiles on a diverse group of platforms, building relationships with influencers on these platforms can help you grow your ecommerce business even further.
It can be a challenge to find credible influencers in your market, but once you do, they can help drive traffic to your web store, increase conversions, and lend to better brand awareness.
It’s important not to focus on influencer follower counts, either. If the influencers you partner with have smaller follower counts but are effectively reaching your target audience with relevant posts, then your partnership is successful.
5. Optimize Your Products with Customer Feedback
Your online customers are invaluable to your business, which means listening to their feedback is crucial for your success. Both positive and negative feedback can help you improve your products and product ratings, which will help to boost future sales.
Be sure to encourage or incentivize your customers to provide their feedback, too. For example, following up with a customer after a purchase allows you to ask them how they are liking your product and what could be better about it. If you’re worried you won’t get a response, try incentivizing their feedback with an exclusive discount or free shipping on their next purchase.
6. Provide Consistent Customer Support
Consistent customer support is an important part of running an ecommerce business, as it builds brand trust. Consider that after having a positive service experience, 89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase.
If your customers are reaching out to you via email or social media with questions or concerns, be sure to respond to them in a timely manner (think 24-hour response times or less). Not only will this help answer customer questions and resolve frustrating situations, but it could also lead to more brand awareness and happier customers that provide your business with user-generated content (UGC) or word-of-mouth referrals.
7. Offer a Unique Brand Experience
Outside of listening to your customers and providing consistent support, your ecommerce store should focus on providing a unique brand experience. This encompasses all the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that customers experience in reaction to your brand, but this includes more than just interactions with your web store.
Every customer touchpoint with your brand online — such as your web store, social media profiles, chatbots, mobile apps, and more — play a role in your brand experience. Be sure to think carefully about the overall impression your business gives off.
8. Take Inspiration from Your Favorite Ecommerce Brands
While getting direct advice from your favorite, well-established ecommerce brands might be a challenge, taking inspiration from their web stores is easy. By closely studying your favorite ecommerce brands’ ads, designs, or processes, you can take the elements you love and emulate them on your own web store. In doing so, you can start to explore different approaches and techniques that could set your business apart from your competitors.
9. Pave Your Own Path
Standing out from the crowd is an important way to generate buzz around your business. While taking inspiration from other ecommerce brands is a great way to grow, it’s also important to stay true to your business’ purpose and pave your own digital path.
Remember, the inspiration you gain from well-established brands is meant to be a creative starting point. Always be sure to put your own spin on your products and processes within your niche to distinguish yourself from others.
10. Focus On Your Niche
As a new online business owner, you might be tempted to dive into as many different markets as possible. But trying to break into multiple markets or niches can lead to ineffective strategies or lower quality products. Instead, it’s important to focus on your core niche, as more effort put towards a distinct type of product or service can lead to a higher success rate and help you stand out from your competitors.
11. Experiment with A/B Testing
Experimenting with your ecommerce business may seem daunting, but it's a great way to uncover what your customers are interacting with and what can be tweaked to increase engagement. A/B testing — which presents 50% of your users with an alternate version of a webpage — is an easy and virtually risk-free way to test different variables on your web store to see which has a higher conversion rate.
For example, you can set up an A/B test to analyze customer reactions to different call-to-action buttons that feature unique colors, shapes, and text.
12. Reinvest Business Profits
After all the hard work you put into launching your ecommerce store, it can be tempting to pocket your initial profits. But if you want your web store to grow quickly, you will need to reinvest much of that profit back into your business. This profit could be put toward things like advertising revenue or on technology that could help you automate and streamline your marketing strategy.
13. Utilize Technology and Automation
Time is valuable when you run your own ecommerce business and wearing too many hats could cause you to stretch yourself thin and lead to inefficient decision making. Whenever possible, try to lean on advanced technology and automation to help add time back into your day to focus on your business’ bottom line.
For example, you can use marketing automation tools to help you manage your strategy, or even heat mapping software that shows you how users behave on your web store. If possible, you could also hire an employee to help you handle vendor management rather than hiring a full team of product experts.
14. Provide All the Info Your Customers Need to Make a Purchase
When a potential customer lands on your web store, make sure they have all the information they need to confidently make a purchase. This includes providing clear contact information, shipping and return policies, detailed product descriptions, and more.
For example, if your ecommerce store sells clothes, make sure each garment is described thoroughly and a size guide is provided. The more details you provide your customers on the product or service you offer and the purchase process, the more likely they will be to convert.
15. Create Descriptive Product Categories
In the beginning stages of your ecommerce business, your web store might not feature many products — and this makes it tempting to group all your products into broad categories.
As your store grows and you start to add more products, generic product categories make it difficult for customers to find what they are looking for, and they aren’t well optimized for search engines. By incorporating more specific product categorization, you can ensure your customers source the products they need quickly while capitalizing on granular, long-tail keywords.
Use These Ecommerce Tips to Boost Your Small Business
Starting an ecommerce business is no easy feat. From learning how to attract new customers to your web store to creating an unforgettable brand experience, the ecommerce tips listed above will help you get started on your journey toward a successful online venture.
If you’re still in the early stages of establishing an ecommerce store, deciding which platform to use can feel overwhelming. But rather than opting for pre-made templates that hundreds of other online businesses use, StoreBuilder by Nexcess can help you create a stunning online store with an optimized homepage that’s based on specific insights from your niche market.
Find your footing in the ecommerce industry with help from StoreBuilder by Nexcess. Explore StoreBuilder today to make your online business ideas a reality.