PATRICK FOSTER IS A PROFESSIONAL, ECOMMERCE WRITER & MARKETER WHO HELPS PEOPLE WITH HIS INSIGHTFUL ECOMMERCE ARTICLES. Being in the game for ten years now, he has a lot to share about marketing, start-ups and more and he always has something new to share in this industry. Whether you’re primarily an ecommerce store or you’re looking to expand your retail environment to include an ecommerce element, Patrick has some helpful tips for you.
Everyone wants to find success online, but the difference when you sell health products is that you want to make a success by helping others! But the truth is, health products or not, there are certain rules you need to follow if you want to play the ecommerce game and I’m here to share them with you. From your USP (unique selling point) to your social media — here is how to make a success of ecommerce for your brand or business.
Rule Number One: Have a Clear USP
With a clear and strong unique selling point, you’re giving people a good reason to use you next time they need something. You may think to yourself “I’ve got a USP, it’s me!” but I’m afraid you’re going to have to be a bit more particular than that. Why is it that a customer would turn to you, and not one of the many other websites out there?
Think of it like this, if you can offer something that people can get nowhere else, whether it’s a certain type of product, or just the way your service works, then that’s always going to be a reason for people to come back. If you find something wholly unique, anybody who likes your offering will turn to you whenever they need it. But the “unique” thing that you offer might actually be the same service as another site, the only difference being that you do it better. If there are no ‘good’ websites offering what you’re offering, you’re filling an important gap.
Of course, it can be quite hard to think of a USP. One thing you might like to do is read the negative reviews of your competitors. Find out where they’re falling down and where you can step up. Think about what you want, but which you can’t find. One example is the growing interest in veganism in Australia; there’ll be a lot of businesses finding success by offering vegan alternatives to foods which previously did not have any alternatives.
If you’re struggling, check out this more comprehensive USP guide. Read around and give this subject some serious thought. Your USP will be one of your biggest ecommerce success factors because not only does it help you stand out, it helps you create real value for your customers.
Rule Number Two: Make Sure You’ve Got a Good Site
If you’re looking to buy something online, and then you come across a bad and old looking website, are you going to get it from them? As superficial as it may seem, the answer is no. Nobody is. Here a quick list of things that make a site “good”:
● Responsive Web Design
● Easy to Navigate
● Quick to Load
● Pleasing to the Eye (no clashing colours)
● No Blank Space
● Not Too Much Text
Those are probably the six most important things to have if you want a site which most people will think of as respectable. You don’t need something really flashy, just something which looks good and professional — a badly designed site will lead to a downturn in conversions and sales, and won’t help to ‘sell’ your brand.
If you’re worried you don’t have the skills to create that, try something like Shopify, it’s a very simple ecommerce creation tool. Other options include selling through social media, WordPress plugins, or using an open-source system like Magento, which are also viable options. They all work a little differently so it’s important to find out which one works best for you.
Rule Number 3: Be Social
I’m not just talking about social media here (although I am, also talking about social media.) Shops on the high street have the luxury of occupying physical space. People find out about them just because they have to walk past them. For an ecommerce website to reach as many people, you need to be active and get out there. Go to ecommerce events, go to conferences, go to tradeshows – any chance to meet new people (and make potentially useful connections) is a chance worth taking. Check out what events are going on in your local area (you can check out local ecommerce events on places like Eventbrite — here’s what’s happening in Sydney).
When it comes to which social media to use, it’s all about finding the right platform. What are your competitors using? Are they missing a trick somewhere? There are so many sites you could use. Here’s just a quick list:
● Google +
If your research doesn’t really turn up anything that gives you an indication of which site to use, why don’t you just experiment? Try them all until you find your niche. But be sure not to overexert yourself and spread yourself too thin. It’s important that the content you create matches the platform in terms of messaging and call to action — know when to be more visual, and when you need to go in with some witty wordplay. A content research tool like Buzzsumo can help you find out which channels are most popular in your niche.
Rule Number 4: Have Patience
This is something which doesn’t get said often enough. Too many articles paint a portrait of somebody going online, setting up shop, sending a few tweets and then having something to live off. I hate to be a pessimist, but that almost certainly will not happen. The internet is a large place and you can’t expect overnight success. You could be working for a couple of years before it takes off properly. During this time, it’s important that you have funds in place and that you spend time getting to know your customers (and market).
But I don’t want to end this post on a negative. Yes, starting an ecommerce site does take time and it does take money, but if you’re passionate about your idea and you really have faith in yourself, you just might succeed.