If you have any doubt that e-commerce is where to be as a business owner, read this:
- According to NASDAQ Inc, by 2040 95% of all purchases will be thru e-commerce.
- 59% of millennials go to Amazon first to purchase a product before anywhere else.
- US e-commerce sales grew 14.9% in 2019.
- Amazon accounted for 49% of all online purchases in 2019.
- The current pandemic increased 49% sales during April.
- And over 70% of commerce startups failed during the first year.
While the opportunity is there, how can you make sure your e-commerce company succeeds?
As a studio who has worked with and helped launch countless e-commerce businesses selling through pretty much every platform, from Amazon to Etsy we have learned a lot about the e-commerce world.
Here are 5 things to know before you start an e-commerce business.
1. Understanding failure can lead to success.
One piece of advice I once was given by a successful business entrepreneur was that if you want to avoid failure at the onset, it is better to understand what drives companies to failure to begin with. In this way you can be aware of those mistakes so as to not make the same errors.
And while there are many so-called gurus who want to sell you thousands of dollars worth of courses and claim to have the perfect formula for e-commerce success, we often see, thru working with clients who have gone through these courses, that these gurus unfortunately do not always have that winning formula.
They will explain that in order to create a successful e-commerce business you have to find the winning products, price strategy, keywords strategy, supplier strategy, and the listing strategy.
And while there can be many reasons why an e-commerce startup fails, there will always be common underlying reasons for this failure. Here are the top 10:
- No Market Need (consumers are not looking for your products in the marketplace)
- Ran out of Cash (not enough money to invest in supply and future products)
- Not the right team (bad partnerships or not hiring professionals that enhance your business)
- Get outcompeted (another company takes on your customers due to a better product, brand or customer service)
- Pricing/cost issue (maybe you priced it too high and your profit is negative or very little)
- Poor Product (the quality of the actual product is not good)
- Lack of business model (you don’t set up your business for success, but rather have yourself doing everything and never delegate)
- Poor Marketing (you haven’t found what problem you are solving for others and don’t advertise this correctly)
- Ignore customers (you don’t listen to customer reviews and adjust accordingly)
- Mistiming product (maybe your product was trending 5 years ago and now there is no product demand)
Studying each one of these points will help you to understand what not to do.
2. Brand your company at the onset.
Brand loyalty is your most powerful tool as a business owner. If your intention is to create an e-commerce brand, and not just selling a single product, then a tailor-made brand identity is what you need to have. I will not get into all the reasons why, because I already put up a video that describes branding and why in order to succeed you have to have a visual brand strategy. I will will link the video below.
3. Collect identities ASAP
If you don’t start collecting e-mail addresses from your customers when you start selling, you will never be able to have a real business. While selling through Amazon has made this almost impossible, there are ways to work around it. And there are many strategies out there which will allow you to grow your customer list.
61% of customers prefer to be contacted by brands via e-mail If you are going to do this for a living, do not depend only on Amazon. Grow your business independently.
4. Customer Service is your #1 priority
Customer loyalty is born out of trust. Quality customer service will allow brands to achieve a higher customer retention and the acquisition of new customers.
When you buy from a company and something goes off such as shipping delays or a product is damaged, do you expect the company to take responsibility for this? How would you feel if they ignored your e-mails or calls and then you were stuck with a damaged or lost product? You probably would never buy from this company again. Now imagine that you contacted customer support and they offered a full refund, sent out a new product and gave you a 15% promo code off of your next purchase. You would be much more likely to return for more business in the future, right?
That is the power of customer service and is really how Amazon has grown so large. They take customers service to a whole new level with free returns, fast shipping and easy check out experience.
5. The most powerful form of marketing
Do you know what is the most powerful form of marketing?
Word of mouth. Nothing else is as powerful as this. One person telling another person about your product or service, will give you competitive advantage. This goes hand in hand with customer service and ensuring your products are of a high quality. A form of word of mouth is a good review on Amazon. Those providing a great product review are worth more to you than gold, as people do trust other’s opinions. This also will be greatly enhanced by a good brand identity. Someone is much more likely to recommend a memorable brand than someone who has no real look to them.
That is all of the 5 things to know before starting your e-commerce business. I really hope you take these points and create a business that will continue to grow from this point on.
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