Originally published on our sister site: Totallyecommerce
Becoming successful in eCommerce is a relative question really. Bearing in mind there are many different types of eCommerce businesses, merchants, employees etc.
I suppose the way we could categorise this is mainly in the most general sense of eCommerce where the merchant has their own website.
The reason why I’m looking at this categorisation is down to the fact that I strongly believe that all merchants, big or small need to be at the very least operating their own eCommerce store/website which means they have a platform that they are in complete control over.
Unfortunately, the truth can’t be said about eBay and Amazon.
With their terms and conditions changing by the hour (yep, an exaggeration, but you know where I’m coming from) the security and peace of mind merchants once had is fast disappearing The world on these two platforms is massively different to how it was just 2 short years ago.
So how exactly can you run a successful eCommerce store/brand effectively?
Take a look at this video by Evan Carmichael who goes through “7 Ways to Make Your E-COMMERCE Business WILDLY Successful.”
I’ve broken his video down into the seven core ideas and written a bit of blurb in case you can’t watch the video.
Table Of Contents
Believe in the product
Have you actually used the products you are selling in your store? Because, if you haven’t, then you can never feel that confident about selling it anyone else. It also helps when writing descriptions or explaining to buyers who contact you the features and benefits your product has.
In essence, use the product to build a personal connection with it. That way it will be much easier to encourage others to buy it from you.
Now, there will be many of you that sell thousands of products and it just isn’t possible to try all of your products. If this is the case, choose your best sellers and get to know as much about them as possible.
Make sure there is demand
Again, this might seem like the most obvious thing, but I can’t tell you how many merchants purchase products in China with minimum order levels without checking to see if there is a demand for this product first.
The best way to list products in your store is to list a small number of them first, promote them and then see if they sell. Don’t just test it out for a few days either. Ensure you run this test for a least a month before you place your order.
Depending on where you get your products from, you should be able to order a small sample first which should give you the numbers you need to try them out with your customers. In fact, if you have regular customers, try introducing them to it first and start receiving feedback.
You’re basically looking for positive feedback. Customers should be holding up their hands asking for the product and even requesting more of them. If you do this, you’ll know if you are onto a winner or not.
If you have built your store on a platform like Shopify, Bigcommerce or Woocommerce, you should have the ability to feature these products on your home page or at the begging of a category or collection so people see this product first before they see any others.
The image below is an example of one of the largest eCommerce stores on Shopify (GymShark) who are promoting the latest product on their front page.
Whenever you introduce a new product, always put in the effort to give it more exposure at the beginning of its sales life. This will really give it the very best chance to do well. If you simply add to your list of products without any form of extra promotion. The odds are, it probably won’t do that well, even though it has the potential to if enough eyeballs see it.
If you’ve been in eCommerce for a while, you probably have this figured out already. However, if you are entering a new market and find that you need a new way of distributing your product, then you may need to think out of the box.
The fastest way to distribute your product is to sell into the channels that are already selling to your potential audience.
This could mean partnering up with an influencer who already has a sizeable audience in your space or running some display ads on a blog, forum or question and answer site like Quora.com that already serves your potential audience.
Have beautiful images
This is eCommerce 101. However, the number of times I have visited a website only to greeted by really poor images is astounding.
We’re not just talking about small players here either. We’re talking BIG multinationals that have the money and employees to get this right each time and every time.
Having beautiful images is a great way to stand out from the crowd and get your product noticed.
eBay is a great example of people uploading really bad images. Whenever you upload an image, make sure that you upload in either Jpg or PNG format. Depending on the platform you use, they may even have an image optimisation tool that helps optimise your images. In fact, here’s a free one from Shopify – Shopify.co.uk/tools/image-resizer. This tool is free to use, even if you don’t have a Shopify store.
These days, having good looking well-optimised images is vital. With the trend to scroll really fast on websites and social media, it is becoming harder and harder to get people to stop scrolling. Having beautiful looking pictures is one of them.
If your store is doing well, I would even consider taking on a professional photographer or hiring a freelance photographer to take your pictures. Not only will this save you a ton of time doing it yourself. But, you are pretty much guaranteed to get the best quality images for your eCommerce store.
Write detailed descriptions
You’ve got the images covered. Now, you just need to have a detailed description of your product.
Now, we’re talking features and benefits here. We’re talking about writing to your buyer persona and explaining how this product will solve their problem.
There is a time and place to go over the features and benefits. However, the description isn’t the place. The description is about telling how the product will solve their problem, the way in which they will feel after they purchase your product.
This all comes back to believing in your product and getting to know it. Only then will you be able to craft a really good description telling a story that resonates with the buyer. If you don’t have the time or skills to do this, then I would recommend hiring a digital marketing agency to do this for you. Not just any agency, but an eCommerce agency that knows the nuances in writing for an eCommerce store.
Of course, I know of a good agency 🙂 But, I recommend using an agency you feel comfortable with and is actually skilled in this type of content marketing.
A lot of stores suffer from SEO because of the short length of time people spend on the site and the fact that their descriptions aren’t comprehensive enough to engage the buyer.
Note: features and benefits can go in the text below your description, or better still in a clickable tab below your description.
Get their emails
This is one of the most important points that Evan makes in this video. Grab your customers email at the soonest time possible. Either via a popup promotion or a link/box subscribe on your product pages.
Did you know that the conversion rates for the vast majority of eCommerce stores are either 1 or below 1%? That means 99% of your traffic leave never to return. That’s why it is vital to collect their email address.
For those that work in the auto industry, furniture or big-ticket items, this really applies to you. This is because the buyer journey is much longer. The chances of someone purchasing the first time they visit your website or purchase within a few weeks is pretty slim.
That’s why you need to communicate with them and hold their hand through the process until they are in the right state to pull the trigger.
By getting someone onto your email list, you have a way to follow up with them. This means you can tell them your brand story, educate them about the buying process or guide them through the many different options available and, yes, encourage them to purchase one of your products.
This one step alone could add up to 30-40% on your bottom line.
The key is to add value emails and not just send them promos. Think of the 80/20 rule. 80% of the emails should be educational and add value and 20% should be promotional.
Depending on your niche, this metric will vary. However, it’s a great starting point for most companies.
This is called permission marketing. By giving you their email address, they are giving you permission to market to them.
We found the best eCommerce email autoresponders were Klaviyo and ActiveCampaign.
Get your tech right
Things like your webpage load time and shopping cart optimisation may not seem that important. However, your buy has become a lot more sophisticated and have even less time than they did a few years ago.
Conversion rate optimisation is key to increasing sales and having a successful eCommerce store. There’s no point in paying a lot of money getting people to visit your store only to let yourself down by having a really slow website or a badly designed checkout process.
Again, if you are not confident doing this, then your best bet is to hire an agency to do this for you.
I’d love to hear from you. Which one is your favourite or which one provided you with the most value?
Feel free to leave your comments down below.