There are probably hundreds or thousands of ecommerce sites offering products for same niche, and many more about to make its foray for the same. Going by the numbers ecommerce sales increase drastically every year with people opting for online shopping over brick and mortar shipping.
For entrepreneurs who are just starting up in ecommerce arena, the idea of having an online digital store is so alluring that they simply cannot ignore the idea of digital retail.
The reasons are obvious. A digital store does not need any physical infrastructure, with zero startup costs, and scope for unlimited scaling anytime.
It is such an attractive medium that people simply cannot ignore the power of digital retail, with new e-stores opening up daily. However, with potential comes a point of saturation. This has exactly what happened with ecommerce industry with now thousands of stores operating together sharing the same space.
Such a scenario has resulted in many of them offering same value propositions, making it as the biggest barrier of entry, possible leading in immediate failure.
In such a state, new entrants need to be careful while stepping into this fiercely competitive arena, and our crucial tips help them to emerge as a winner.
1. Focus On Niche Audience Rather Than Masses
It is certainly more profitable to keep as many products possible into your ecommerce store. However, starting off your online shop with thousands of products right away could be dangerous, without realizing the potential of what your store is.
Hence, it is always wise to begin with selected products for a specific audience only.
When concentrating on niche segment, you have very few players actually competing with you.
This is what exactly happened with Airbnb when it first started off. It offered an online portal for space rent on a stranger bed or couch. It came off much later when the site started offering apartmental rentals or homes.
2. People Can’t Feel What You Are Selling
Remember, ecommerce products are virtual initially. They tend to become physical only when delivered.
Hence, people won’t be able to actually experience products firsthand before making a purchase. This can hamper ecommerce sales or revenue since people will have a dual mindset whether to buy products or not without testing them.
Herein, an ecommerce website theme or template comes to rescue, since it is capable of closing the gap between real person and virtual store.
The basic most level contains categories, descriptions, product imagery, navigational elements or components, menus, and lots more, which should be aesthetic and easy to use.
Serena & Lily is a nicely built niche home décor ecommerce store excelling in amplifying virtual experience to give a realistic feel.
This helps users not just to try out different combinations of bedding combinations, but also imagine for a more concrete and touchable experience letting users feel as if everything is surreal.
3. Performance Is Way Important Than Design
Performance always matters. A slow store is bound to lose customers instantly on first visit. In fact, studies reveal that loading time of more than 2 seconds result in an abandonment rate of more than 10%, which increases with increasing loading time.
Rate of conversion increases, when loading time is brought down to 2 seconds.
Hence, when you build a store, ensure that the site accompanies a nice loading speed, and more importantly ease of use.
Design does matter, but more important is the firm understanding of how the performance is impacted through the use of a wide variety of design components or elements.
4. Better Focus On Community Building Rather Than Following Trends
It was 5 years back when Uniqlo’s parent company CEO, Tadashi Yanai quoted “We do not chase trends.” Such a popular e-retail adage set an example for other ecommerce stores to follow.
With every passing year, new trends occupy the ecommerce space. However, not every trend is meant for each ecommerce store.
For example, take gamification. It has been a trend proving useful for most. But for most other stores, introducing gaming mechanics in purchase process without any reason do not help at all.
Gamification flash sales and other related things have enabled stores to burn off revenue in such gimics.
What ultimately matters is how you build a community of members or subscribers, who are bound to remain loyal to your store for a longer term.
In order to cultivate a sense of building subscriber community, you need to integrate social aspects through social media integration.
This helps in people sharing about your products or services on social media. When others read about what customers feel about your products or services, they are surely going to talk about that over social media to others.
This way through word of mouth, the community is only going to extend with more people getting associated.
5. Personalization is the key through data gathering
With a great ecommerce community in place, you have people talking about your products or services leading to more people buying from you and talking about things pre-purchase as well as post-purchase.
There are so many multiple touch points for end users with every interaction leading to an insight.
Targeted campaigns are meant to foster brand loyalty for a longer term, abandonment avoidance, and retention driving, setting user behavior preferences. Amazon is a classic example of how a store shows up the products based on the customer visit every single time, based on what have been searched previously.
You need to get in place a comprehensive plan before the actual launch. Gather data of potential visitors or customers, with extensive data about service / product discovery onsite, spreading across customized campaigns to individual users, taking help from third party vendors like Marketo, InfusionSoft, and more.
6. Money should be a secondary motive
Built a business to help others solve their problems, rather than focusing on making money.
When you have products or services in place that are affordable and effective in problem solving, you will have people automatically flocking to your ecommerce store, making you nice sales and revenue.
Ecommerce business is not a tough puzzle to crack if you know how to crack it as a startup. You need to religiously stick to the above strategies, for surely going to reap rewards in long run.
The author is Harshal Shah, CEO and founder of Elsner Technologies, Magento development company and global IT consulting firm with expertise and delivering IT solutions on Web, Mobile and Cloud. He is a tech evangelist with a reputation to provide optimum solutions for business automation and solving real life problems with the power of IT.