Written by: Avni Vyas
Selling online is no longer a luxury that only large corporations like Amazon and eBay, Airbnb or Tesco can afford. Like Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft puts it: “If your business is not on the Internet, then your business will be out of business.” These words aptly signify the importance of eCommerce in today’s world.
However, having their own eCommerce website or online store on marketplaces such as Shopify and Etsy are not sufficient to put your business on the Internet. Indeed, you require proper eCommerce business strategy that defines your success in this intensely competitive online market.
Why eCommerce Business Strategy
Unless you have an eCommerce strategy that leads to success, every effort and expense in online marketing or maintaining an online presence will prove futile. Worse, unless you define success factors of eCommerce business strategy, your enterprise would most likely flounder and fail.
Facts and Figures
Global eCommerce is projected to stand around US$4.5 trillion by 2021, says a report released by Shopify. Over 2.1 billion customers will purchase online by 2021.
Business to Business (B2B) eCommerce worldwide is expected to increase five-fold within the next three years compared over Business to Consumer (B2C) or online retail.
European website Statista projects, mobile e-commerce can cross US$3.5 trillion marks, accounting for some 72.9 per cent of B2B and B2C sales.
Success Factors of eCommerce Business Strategy
These facts and figures aptly prove the importance of an eCommerce business strategy with several success factors, should you be eyeing to cash on this booming market.
In light of the above facts, here are some success factors of eCommerce business strategy that can help your enterprise flourish.
1) Provide Mobile Platforms
Undoubtedly, the future of ecommerce is mobile. Over 72.9 per cent of all eCommerce transactions are projected to occur over mobile, as I mentioned earlier. Hence, the first success factor of your eCommerce strategy should include providing a mobile platform for clients.
Mobile platforms can include apps that enable existing and prospective clients to view products or services while on the move, decide and place orders without waiting to reach home or office. Website of your business should also be responsive for any device such as iPhone, Androids or tablets to provide ease of navigation and instant access to information. Personally, I attach a lot of significance to providing mobile platforms as a success factor for any severe eCommerce business strategy.
2) Global Reach
Global expansion is another success factor to consider while making an eCommerce business strategy. This holds true regardless of whether you are in a B2B or B2B segment. eCommerce allows you to expand operations abroad very rapidly and can net huge profits.
Another key advantage of global expansion is that you remain somewhat shielded from various vagaries that may affect your country’s economy or lower purchasing power of the local populace.
3) Go for a Blog
You may have a fantastic looking website. Great. But that does not necessarily imply people will line up to buy your products or services. Obviously, they would love to read more information about your stuff from independent and reliable sources.
The best way to provide such product reviews and additional information about your products and services is by starting a blog. Opening a blog for your business is also a success factor for every eCommerce enterprise. You can have professional bloggers post content on the blog site of your company. Or, get customers to write genuine reviews that merit posting.
In fact, having a company blog has several advantages. Other than keeping prospective and existing customers updated about the latest developments of your eCommerce business, you also get valuable feedback. Such feedback is essential for rapid innovations or to improve a product or service.
4) Provide Affiliate Marketing
While still on the subject of blogging- another vital success factor of eCommerce business strategy is affiliate marketing. Most major online sellers record significant sales through affiliate marketing programs. Running an affiliate marketing program costs almost nothing. It provides excellent publicity for your business and bags customers.
Thousands of bloggers worldwide look for affiliate marketing opportunities. Bloggers that write about your industry will provide links to your products and services for their readers. This enables readers to take swift decisions and make online purchases. In exchange for their affiliate marketing services, you pay these bloggers a fixed commission.
5) Digital Marketing
Digital marketing ranks among the key success factors for an eCommerce business strategy. According to various forecasts, businesses worldwide are expected to spend over US$291 billion on digital media by the year 2020. This figure would be almost equal to money spent on non-digital platforms such as print media and radio, among others.
Digital marketing has several advantages, especially when you are going global or at least want to capture markets within your country through eCommerce. Digital marketing allows your website to appear in search results whenever anyone looks for a matching product or service. This provides your eCommerce business with an edge over competitors that do not consider digital marketing as important.
6) Plan for Virtual Reality
Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality are the future of eCommerce. In fact, AI and VR are already making deep inroads into the eCommerce industry as companies exert extra efforts to provide a superior experience to customers. Furthermore, AI and VR are also helping businesses save billions of Dollars worldwide.
Reports indicate, over one million VR headsets are sold on average every quarter. The reason: VR is gaining momentum in simple applications like gaming as well as complex needs like surgery and engineering. It also enables shoppers to get a first-hand like feel of your product though you may not have an adequate budget for including AI and VR right now, including this success factor in your future eCommerce business strategy.
That eCommerce is here to stay, at least for the next foreseeable future, is a foregone conclusion. eCommerce is rapidly dissolving trade borders and barriers. The only way to make your mark in this intensely competitive market is by having an effective eCommerce strategy based on various success factors.
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