One of the great advantages of the digital age that we live in is that the world is now a marketplace for the goods or services that you offer. Whereas once there were limits to the potential customers that you could reach in terms of geography, borders, opening hours regulations, now customers from around the globe can access your goods 24/7. The downside to this is that you now have a world of competitors that can also appeal to your prized customer base.
You need to stand out from the crowd and give your business the competitive edge. In 2017, retail e-commerce revenue was $409, 208 million dollars, and it is projected to keep on increasing year on in. So how do you develop your e-commerce business and prime it for growth to have a healthy slice of the pie? Here are 3 tips to help your business rise above the competition and thrive.
1. Get Your Ducks in a Row
Taking your time to launch your business will feel counterintuitive to fueling success, however, you only have one opportunity to launch your business and you need to make sure that you don’t jeopardize future success by running before you can walk. You need to make substantial groundwork on your business’s website before you launch: content, SEO, social media, etc.
Your website is more than an area to display the products and services that you offer to customers, it is your opportunity to create the foundations for a thriving and sustainable business. Everything that you display on your website should bring value to you and the customer, and so you need to make sure your website helps you to achieve your business’s full potential. To get a deeper understanding of what you can achieve by implementing digital strategies, read this article about growth hacking. You will be able to identify how best to set up your website in a way that promotes business growth from the outset, rather than having to revisit previous business decisions.
2. Think Like Your Customer
Your business depends on your customers. They are the single most important influence on the success of your business, even more important than the products and services that you provide. While you know your business intimately, the customer does not, and what may seem perfectly obvious to you may not be as clear to a first-time visitor to your site.
The customer experience should be carefully managed to help them on their visitor journey; to convert a visitor into a consumer. You need to ensure that as soon as they land on your site’s homepage, they can find information, products and services with ease.
You don’t need to overcomplicate your pages with excess information, but rather provide information and product details in a uniform and concise manner. Uniform formatting across the pages ensures that the site’s visitor will quickly become familiar how to access the information that they want, and it helps to strengthen your brand: the logo positioned in the same location across pages, brand coloring, familiar font – visitors will know what to expect.
Your customers’ experience needs to be faultless, and so it is a worthwhile investment to get your website tested and retested to ensure that any bugs or issues are identified, and a solution found. This should be an ongoing priority. Customers are not loyal to businesses whose websites keep crashing, or the promotional code is not accepted at checkout. The customer journey needs to be seamless from start to finish each and every time they visit your store.
People want quick loading, easy to navigate and convenient ways to shop online. Think about how your customers access your website. The majority of web users access websites via mobile devices, and so your site needs to be optimized for these users to take advantage of this.
3. Look to the future
Always consider your business’s future when making decisions. You need to ensure that the decisions you make today do not restrict the decisions you need to make tomorrow, next month or in 5 years’ time. You need your business to be agile in the marketplace to respond to changes that will occur to economic, political and even customer demographics. Think about the data that you can collate from customers that may benefit your business in the future; think about the software solutions that you have in the office, are they scalable to cope with growth?
Your competitors will be watching you just as much as you are watching them. It is healthy to have competition, it makes you more efficient and eager to improve your business’s processes and procedures to be the best within the marketplace. By planning your business strategically and understanding your customers current and future needs, you will have a business that thrives and stands above the competition.