The world of digital and online has changed the way the world works and operates.
Businesses have gone through extreme functional changes and entrepreneurs have been able to launch their big ideas online. And this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Studies have shown that eCommerce is expected to explode over the next decade. It is expected that by the end of 2019, there will be over 1.9 billion online shoppers worldwide. That is in fact, 25% of the population.
For total retail sales worldwide, 13.7% of them will be online purchases by the end of 2019 and in only two years, that is being tipped to jump to 17.5%. This exponential growth has been due to the ease of purchase, convenience of shopping and the developed trust in online purchases by customers. More and more, people are being able to find online products, shop the best price and pay for it, from wherever they are.
So, if you currently have an eCommerce site, and are looking to scale it up in the next couple of years, to actively target the growing number of customers, we have set up some helpful guidelines. Below are some practical tips for you to put in place to see your business expand within a number of weeks.
Automate As Much As You Can
Running a business from scratch is hard work. There are constantly a hundred things that you need to be doing, from managing staff to marketing, fulfilling orders, communicating with customers and managing the day to day of the business. This is why automation in your business is an absolute necessity. Luckily, the world of online has brought together a plethora of online software and tools that allow you to automate as much as possible of your business so that you can get down to the nitty-gritty of growing your business from day to day.
So, what do we recommend? Firstly, automating your business software would be step number one. Get your basic practice management right; things like an automated diary, integrated calendars, instant communication tools and task boards for your teams. In this way, not only is communication instant and easy, but you can also track exactly what each team member is doing, the progress of each project and what needs a bit more attention.
Working on shared and collaborative software is also key. Having numerous eyes on each project reduces the amount of time spent on each project but also reduces the amount of time needed to make changes and complete sign offs. There are a number of options for this, and to fast-track this even further, you can bring in sharepoint consulting to optimize the full process for you to kick it off the ground in a shorter time.
Know Your Customer And Their Needs
This may seem fairly obvious as a second point, but the science going into knowing your customer is not. Customer analytics is one of the most vital processes to put in place in your company. Not only do you need to do this as a startup, but you need to make this an annual exercise for your company. As you evolve, so does your customer, and as your customer evolves, so you have to.
Customer segmentation allows you to map out your target audience and develop your key marketing message as well as a strategy to reach them effectively. One of the key ways of doing this is to carefully track who visits your page, who interacts with you on social media and who is making purchases. Keep all of this data updated at all times and create a detailed map of just who your customer is. You will need to go even further and map out their behaviors, their interests and their buying habits so that you can reach out to them at the right time, with the right message. Luckily, this kind of data is easily available and it’s all a matter of spending some time going through it and mapping out just who your customer is.
The next step of getting to know who is buying from you and what they want is actually engaging with them. This is a key aspect that is often overlooked by ecommerce companies. Because of the lack of interpersonal communication surrounding online purchases, customers usually do not feel a connection with your brand.
This can be easily remedied with a few methods of reaching out.
- Regular email newsletters and communication;
- Live, instant chat;
- After service surveys;
- Social page engagements;
- Personal notes sent with the products.
All of the above are vital to managing your customer and their expectations and needs for your business. Surveys, for example, are key in not only measuring their satisfaction with your products and services, but they also assist you in measuring your NPS score. You need to know, at all times, how loyal your customers are and what their likelihood is of promoting you to others. Once you know what your NPS score is, you will be able to have a firm grip on the overall perception of your brand as well as the predictability of future growth.
Reduce Cart Abandonment
Cart abandonment is one of the biggest hindrances of growth for e-commerce companies all over the world. Cart abandonment is so high for most companies, in fact, that some studies show it to be as high as 78%. This means that over three quarters of your online visitors will pick out a product and change their mind before going through with the purchase. Not only can this be detrimental to your business, but Google also picks up this bounces and reflects it in your SEO rankings.
Cart abandonment happens more frequently on mobile than desktop and even more frequently with slower websites. So, what do you need to put in place to reduce the amount of non purchased products in your store?
- Reduce the number of pop-ups on your site, especially for mobile!;
- Create a mobile-friendly site, or even an app to make purchases even easier;
- Be totally transparent with all associated costs to the purchase;
- If possible, allow for express shipping;
- Offer discounts, free shipping or promotions to new and loyal customers;
- Make checkout as swift and easy as possible;
- Highlight the security features on the payment process as frequently as possible;
- Retain customer data in order for frequent customers to return and have their details automatically included;
- Offer discounts on return purchases;
- Engage with customers who have abandoned their carts, remind them of their purchases and give them a deadline for when their cart will be emptied.
In wrapping up, it is imperative for you to collect and analyze as much data as you can to not only understand your customer but to track their behavior on your site. This will allow you to make their experience on your site special and encourage them to become loyal customers. It is cheaper and easier for companies to maintain current customers than it is for them to reach out to new ones, so spend your time on keeping those who have found your site satisfied, surprised and delighted!