Ecommerce 101, in this guide, we’re discussing what’s working in ecommerce at the moment, where the opportunities and trends are, as well as the most important steps for new ecommerce merchants to get running their stores online.
When it comes to e-commerce, the first thing that comes to my mind is “growth.” Would that be accurate? Seriously, think about how much mobile has grown over the last few years. The majority of the world owns some type of smartphone, 15-20 years ago who would of thought that?
When you look back at the infancy of e-commerce when it first started out to now, that’s exactly what you see, “growth.”
In the U.S. alone, by 2022, growth projections are likely to hit $638 billion! WOW!
Globally, we could see growth over $4 trillion dollars.
Just to grasp the basics before we begin, let’s look at what e-commerce really is.
In April 2020, U.S. ecommerce sales jumped 49 percent.
Ecommerce 101: What Is Ecommerce?
E-commerce, also referred to as electronic commerce, ecommerce or EC, refers to any type of business or commercial transaction that happens electronically online.
As we briefly touched on above, e-commerce is one of the most important and fastest-growing areas of the retail industry. It can be classified based on the type of people involved in the transaction: business to business (B2B), business to consumer (B2C), and consumer to consumer (C2C).
E-commerce 101: Trends For 2020 And Beyond
With e-commerce sales expected to hit nearly $640 billion here in the U.S. alone, it’s e-commerce that continues to lead the way. Businesses that solely depend on traditional marketing and strategies are closing shop left and right. Fortunately for those of you that haven’t ventured in e-commerce, there’s still time to position your company for success, but that window closes more with each passing day.
There’s a number of different e-commerce trends we’re looking at for the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020.
(1) The Growth Of Mobile
The hot e-commerce topic for 2019 has been mobile and it’s continued growth. Consumers are armed with smartphones and tablets, they’re using them every day. Not only that, they’re using them for hours upon hours. If your e-commerce strategy doesn’t include a mobile approach, you’re going to lose out on a major percentage of the market.
The question you need to ask, “how do we leverage mobile in our overall business strategy?”
While every business is going to have unique mobile strategies based on their target audience, there’s a few things that immediately stand out that every business owner should be focused on.
- Mobile Website – Can you provide a great experience for customers on mobile via your website?
- Mobile Speed – Is our website fast enough for mobile users?
- Mobile App – Does our company have a mobile app to engage mobile users?
- Mobile Sales – Is our website and marketing optimized for mobile sales growth?
- Mobile Optimization – Are we optimizing our mobile website for users?
If you haven’t focused on mobile in the past, now is the time to do so.
(2) Ecommerce Shipping
Yes, e-commerce shipping is a new hot button for 2019 thanks to Amazon Prime.
Just the fact alone that Prime added millions of new users holiday 2018 shows you just how important shipping is to online users.
The recipe for success in 2019 is a great product delivered in a fast time. Period.
What’s your e-commerce shipping strategy for 2019? Do you have plans to make shipping faster?
For those of you that are still doing self-fulfillment, is this the year you upgrade to outsource your fulfillment to a 3PL company? Is it time to start splitting inventory through multiple fulfillment centers?
While shipping is one segment of the fulfillment process, there’s also other things you should be thinking about.
Make no mistake, shipping is a big e-commerce trend that’s going to reach expectation levels we once thought were impossible. If you’re ready for it, you can take advantage of it.
(3) Subscription Box Businesses
Another big trend in 2019 is going to be subscription box businesses.
While the subscription box business model has been trending for a few years, 2018 was a huge year and we expect 2019 to be even bigger.
If you have a subscription box business you’re growing, there’s never been a better time to have a big year.
(4) Real-Time Data And Analytics
It’s not smart business to guess and take risk.
When you own an e-commerce business, you need to rely on your data and analytics to tell you what’s working, what’s not working and what needs fixed.
Having data and analytics software is a priority, for many purposes outside of just calculating sales.
For example, take inventory management, a key pillar for any e-commerce business. You want to have the ability to see how your inventory is moving, know when inventory is low, what inventory is being sold.
(5) Ecommerce Seamless Integrations
Some of the most popular e-commerce platforms are Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, Amazon and Ebay. One of the leading reasons why business owners use these e-commerce platforms is because the many integrations that can be integrated for added functionality and benefits.
Our order management software does just that.
- Amazon Order Fulfillment
- Shopify Order Fulfillment
- Magento Order Fulfillment
- Ebay Order Fulfillment
- WooCommerce Order Fulfillment
- KickStarter Order Fulfillment
Your ecommerce order fulfillment process is vital to growth and high customer satisfaction.
(6) Choosing The Right E-Commerce Platform
If you haven’t launched your e-commerce business, choosing the right platform is important.
We just discussed a few of the most popular platforms to use.
Shopify would be at the top of that list.
Shopify was built with e-commerce in mind. Thanks to the many integrations and apps that are available to Shopify users, it no wonder it’s one of the most popular e-commerce platforms to use.
There’s a lot you have to be mindful of;
- What payment processor will you be using?
- What apps or plugins are available for easy functionality and features?
- What type of template will you be using?
- What are the hosting fees?
- Will you need a web developer to help you?
- What will product pages be designed like?
If you’re not a web designer, you’re going to need to use a platform like Shopify or WordPress that has free templates to use.
While it’s much more than just choosing an e-commerce platform, you can never go wrong recommending Shopify.
(7) Engaging With Your Target Audience
While it’s always been important to engage with your target audience, social media has fueled the need for you to engage back. Heck, it’s made it simple and easy to engage, why not harness that power and use it?
Billions of consumers use social media, many of them use social media every day.
Where can you reach them? Social media of course!
While you certainly want social media in your marketing strategy, you have to think about email, your website and other channels where customers can engage with your brand.
If you’re successful using e-commerce, it’s likely because your customers have multiple channels to find your brand.
Take Boston Car Buyers for example, I love their social media. Of course, they want to sell cars in Boston, likely the state of Massachusetts too. The brand is fresh, they have consistent content and that drives engagement from your audience.
Pay close attention to what works, what doesn’t and readjust your branding as needed. If you pay close attention, you’re going to learn what to advertise by paying attention to feedback from your audience.
(8) Marketing Your Ecommerce Store
While we touched on social media, your e-commerce marketing strategy should include a lot more.
- Email Marketing – One of the most effective ways to get back in touch with potential customers is through email marketing. This is when you collect a name and email, often offering them something of value in exchange for their information. Once they’re on your list, you don’t have to spend additional money reaching them.
- SEO – SEO, also search engine optimization, refers to the process of ranking in search engines for keywords. You want to rank for keywords that your target audience search for. If you sell furniture, you’d want to rank high for furniture type keywords. Since millions of people are using search engines daily, it can be huge to grow your e-commerce business.
- Content Marketing – Content is super effective when the right person finds the right content. Content is not just text content or blogs, content refers to many things, like video, audio, even infographics and images. You want to create content that has a purpose versus creating content just to create it. Find out what your target audience likes and deliver that type of content topics.
- Paid Advertising – One of the easiest ways to start getting sells immediately is by using paid advertising, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads and YouTube Ads. This is a great strategy for those of you that are just getting started out, but it’s also a great strategy for companies that have the budget to run paid ads.
(9) Ecommerce 101: Using Best Practices
There’s a few general rules you should adopt to ensure your e-commerce business has the best opportunity for growth.
- Clear Product Images – Take your time on your product images and deliver a great picture. If you want to improve your conversions, make sure the images zoom in. Customers want to know exactly what they’re getting, so give them an accurate picture of the product.
- Easy To Find – Every product on your e-commerce site should be easy to find. Make sure navigating your website is simple and easy. Make sure you’re utilizing your main navigation window, sidebar links and footer.
- Main product Pages – For SEO purposes, you want to make sure you link from your homepage. The most important product pages should be placed on your homepage. If you’re trying to rank for specific keywords, make sure you’re using that keyword in your internal links.
- Shipping – Make sure you have multiple shipping options and that customers can see what these options are. You already learned shipping is a big e-commerce trend in 2019, plus it’s great for improving conversions. Even if you’re offering free shipping, let it be known!
- Give Clarity On Products – While FAQs on products may not seem like a big deal, a customer that is not clear on what they’re buying may not buy from you at all. Plus, adding FAQs improves conversions.
- Amazon Example – If you want some ideas of what to do for your product landing pages, just visit Amazon. Amazon has likely put millions into testing product landing pages and you see the design they have running right now. It’s probably a great idea to add the same features to your e-commerce store.