As we draw closer to the mid-year of 2017, the reality of e-Commerce begins to materialise. Selling things online has now one of the most popular methods of generating a side income in Singapore. From simple ventures of selling handmade gifts on Etsy, to the complicated models of drop-shipping, e-Commerce has certainly come a long way.
Traditional businesses have become weary of the new shift in consumer behaviour, and the fast-growing e-Commerce startups of Singapore have made huge dents in the local retail industry. In the eyes of a business owner, witnessing neighbouring brick-and-mortar stores throw in the towel can certainly be a cause for concern.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel; there is opportunity in adversity. And that opportunity is to move your business forward, enabling it to sustain its longevity. How? Well, with the help of e-Commerce design and development. These 5 actionable e-Commerce strategies that will reduce your risk and catapult your business forward. Let’s dive right in.
1. It all starts with an e-Commerce website
I know what you’re thinking. There’s hundreds of thousands of websites being created every single day across the world – what makes this so important? First off, a website is exactly what you need to position your e-Commerce store as an actual brand. It allows you to:
- Upload your products
- Organise your product categories
- Configure your shipping modules
- Control your payment gateways
- Communicate your brand’s reliability
- Maximise your conversions
- Display your prowess in providing quality customer service
There exists a multitude of online sellers on Qoo10, Lazada, Zalora, and practically every other e-Commerce store out there; few of who have actual proof or intentions of taking what they do seriously.
Sure, they might generate sales for you in the short-run, but without a website, you’ll be lacking trust and the opportunity to present your brand in a trustworthy and professional light. An eCommerce-enabled website can build trust with your potential customers, which will in turn, generate more revenue. It’s all about creating long-term returns for you as a business owner.
The best part? Most e-Commerce platforms (at least the ones that we use) feature incredibly intuitive and user-friendly back-end interfaces. They’re so simple that you could even process orders directly from your phone, but that’s a story for another day. We’ve covered the first strategy, now let’s move on to the next.
2. Know your target audience better than your own brother
Before dumping your hard-earned dollars into any type of advertising, you must know exactly who your target audience is. This includes age ranges, behavioural traits, income levels, preferences, genders, education levels; everything.
Of course, this takes into consideration that your business already has a customer base for you to tap into. That, and venturing into e-Commerce is the next move for your company.
If you’re starting out on a new venture, you might have to burn a few bucks to find your ideal market.
Knowing your target audience allows you to effectively identify the online communities and digital platforms where they spend most of their time on. Guesswork is the most expensive form of marketing, and that’s exactly what we want to avoid.
If you find yourself blindly boosting posts or running Facebook advertising campaigns with poorly written copy, then all your doing is rolling a dice.
Since that’s precisely what we want to avoid, it’s paramount that you research your target audience and recognise what they want, what they need, and what exactly will make them purchase from you. In fact, you can take this strategy a step further by conducting a survey within your customer base.
Only upon knowing where your target audience resides will you be able to move on to the next step: advertising.
3. Hack your social media strategy
Social media is such an overused buzzword, but it works; especially if your e-Commerce store is geared towards targeting consumers (B2C) rather than businesses (B2B). Create a page on Facebook and definitely look into Instagram. But you already know this.
What you might not know, is that your efforts in social media are bound to flop if you don’t have a social media strategy in place. This includes identifying your tone of voice, planning an editorial calendar, actively posting in relevant networks, running contests, and all other sorts of things.
Too many business owners tackle social media with little effort, and then blame it on the entire platform. Social media is a constant and consistent effort; it doesn’t stop at merely creating an account. This is exactly why it’s so important to focus on one, or at most two social media platforms. Anything more than that would be spreading yourself way too thin.
Another other minor tip worth mentioning is to utilise hashtags to the best of your abilities for discovery and be sure to post things that are worth sharing. It’ll be a good idea to make use of great images and put in some thought into your captions, these details go a long way into convincing audiences to purchase from your e-Commerce store.
Get started by inviting all your friends to like and follow your social media accounts. While some believe that likes and followers are worthless, they go a long way in building social proof, which is one of the most important conversion factors in e-Commerce.
4. Build an e-mail list without a newsletter
Think about it; how many newsletters have you voluntarily signed up for? If you’re like me, probably none. We have seen far too many websites with pop-ups and banners asking visitors to “sign up for our newsletter”. Let’s be honest here; no one cares about your newsletter, and that includes your customers.
E-mails are valuable to any business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a jewellery maker or an interior design firm; e-mails equate to dollars, and a full list of e-mails equates to a powerful, revenue-generating marketing asset.
The question is, how are you supposed to get your customers to voluntarily give out their e-mails? Well, by giving them something for free. That’s it. Offer something irresistible, like a huge discount code off their first order or free priority shipping – trust me, their e-mail is worth more than that.
When a customer has purchased from your e-Commerce website, they’ll be mentally documenting the entire process until their item is sitting in the palms of their hands. If they enjoyed the entire process and were impressed with the product and your service, they’ll definitely make another purchase in the future; and having their e-mail allows you to create that opportunity for them to make that second purchase.
5. Devise a content marketing strategy
People tend to go on about how “content is king” without knowing what it really means. Unfortunately, this has led to business owners having misconceptions about content marketing. Too many have told me that when it comes to content marketing, all you need is to “create a blog for your website”.
On the contrary, similar to the social media strategy that we previously discussed, having a blog is merely the first and easiest step.
The crux of the strategy lies in your ability to create and curate relevant and compelling content that will drive traffic to your website. Content marketing is typically associated with search engine optimisation (SEO), but the truth is, it works just as well when used in conjunction with social media.
Boosting an epic piece of content on Facebook can drive an insane amount of traffic to your e-Commerce website. It just has to be truly epic. For instance, if your e-Commerce store was selling watches, a 3,000 word in-depth review of the 10 most popular watches might be something that will resonate with your target audience. Or if you were a web design company, a round-up post highlighting 100 conversion optimisation tips might do the trick.
The harder it is to create, the more epic and effective it’s going to be.
Typically, a content marketing strategy involves:
- Conducting keyword research
- Creating an editorial calendar (regular publications encourage visitors to return)
- Promoting your content (reaching out to relevant authoritative bloggers to share your content)
- Re-purposing your content into different formats (turning blog posts into PDFs, slides, infographics, or videos)
That’s the main gist of content marketing, but there’s a whole lot more that goes into it. There’s so much more that we’ll have to dedicate an entire post for that topic alone. Nevertheless, this should be enough to get you started for the time-being.
Content marketing revolves around one thing: organic growth, and organic growth is exactly what e-Commerce websites need to maintain a sustainable presence. Ultimately, it formulates a brand that your customers know it can trust, it helps you to reach out to new customers, and it helps you to engage with existing ones.
E-Commerce doesn’t have to be hard; not if you know the right techniques and strategies to get started. To re-cap, an e-Commerce website will allow your business to:
- List products and process payments easily
- Identify your target audience
- Devise and implement a social media marketing strategy
- Devise and implement a content marketing strategy
- Build a valuable list of customer e-mails
- Preserve the longevity of your e-Commerce business
Of course, this is all much easier said than done. What really matters is whether you choose to take action with these actionable e-Commerce strategies. Now, it’s on to you. Take charge of your store’s online presence now and implement these 5 marketing strategies. We promise that you won’t be sorry!