Jumping on the e-commerce bandwagon? Then it’s important for you to know how to take the next steps to help your business grow. Here’s our quick guide on how to bring your e-commerce business to the next level in 2021.
1. Take care of your customers
One of the most powerful tools any e-commerce business can use to gain and keep customers is their customer service. A returning customer is worth far more to an e-commerce business than a new one. In fact, they spend twice as much as a first-time customer.
Think about your own thought process when you come across a new company that you’re considering making a purchase from – do you go in blind, or do you check their score on customer rating sites like Trustpilot? These scores are based on customer experiences, and more specifically, how customers have been supported when issues have arisen. In short, the better your customer service, the better your reputation, the more appealing you are to both new and returning customers.
How to improve e-commerce customer service:
Provide multiple channels of communication
Use e-commerce platforms that support easy customer communication and service
Provide an online FAQ so customers can find answers to their questions
Make sure your site is fully secure with a “https:” address
Make the buying process as smooth as possible, i.e., make sure you accept major payment methods
Ensure physical products are dispatched quickly and suitably packaged
2. Start making content
Things have changed from the days of bricks and mortar. After the rise of social media and the internet, would-be customers are always open to be marketed to, so be sure to get your e-commerce marketing out there. Just look at Instagram. Even if customers have no intention of making a purchase, they’ll still devote hours to looking at product advertising in the form of perfectly filtered images, videos, and status updates from e-commerce brands.
But not all your content has to be about social media. A weekly or monthly newsletter to your customer’s inbox can also remind them that you exist. Essentially, content can help make your brand, not just your products, valuable to customers.
How to make content for your e-commerce business:
Go omnichannel – make sure you’re present in all the places customers expect (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
Create your content around important dates e.g. Valentine’s or Christmas
Make your content relevant e.g. showcasing your new product line
Make your content useful e.g. a blog guide on how to use your best-selling product
Don’t go for the hard-sell – content can help you draw in customers who aren’t looking to buy but who really like your article on how to apply fake eyelashes (for a beauty company)
Consider your customer base – is TikTok the right choice if your target customer is 30+?
3. Know who’s driving your success
Knowing how to grow your e-commerce offering goes hand in hand with knowing precisely who you’re offering it to. Take a deep dive into your customer base and run a customer segmentation analysis to understand all of the following:
How old is your customer base?
What are their values?
What item or service can you offer that they would value?
Where are you customers based? Can you improve services, i.e., delivery, if they are concentrated in a particular location? Could you run a pop-up?
What are their expectations? For example, if your customer base is particularly affluent, they will expect you to keep your online store (and products) looking and feeling high quality
Bottom line: the more you know your customers, the better you can communicate with them. This can also help you form a more effective e-commerce marketing plan. For example, if you know you share a similar audience in terms of age, values, location, and so on, reaching out to an influencer to help bring attention to your brand can be an effective play.
4. Aim international
Your e-commerce business may be based in the US, but that doesn’t mean your customers are too. See if there is a big enough demand for you to start delivering overseas, and if there is, take a shot. It’s 2021, and many customers expect international delivery to be a standard option for any e-commerce business, regardless of the region you call home. If you find there’s particularly significant potential in a certain country, you could also consider a fully localized site in the local language. As you grow, you can add more languages as well.
It will take some effort on your part to turn your e-commerce business into an international offering, but fortunately, many of the best e-commerce platform options will have add-ons to lighten the load. Speaking of…
5. Use the best tools
It goes without saying, but if you want the best e-commerce business, then you need to be using the best e-commerce platform. There are endless options out there, but keep an eye out for platforms that include:
In-built order processing
Online shoppers have certain expectations, so make sure your site can meet them. Look at competitors and the sites you use yourself. What makes you trust and enjoy using them? How can you replicate that in your own site?
We can help
GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.