If there ever was a perfect time to take a leap into the e-commerce world, this would be it. With social distancing and various lockdowns restricting our movement, businesses that lack an online presence have taken a massive knock.
And while the opportunity is huge, in and of itself, layering the Ask Method on top of an ecommerce store can enhance its results even more.
As Certified Ask Method Consultants, Fusion Results have worked with clients to enhance their results using the Ask Method.
While the Ask Method works with businesses of all sorts, online and offsite retailers can benefit in big ways. And given that consumers are showing more dependence and trust towards e-commerce retailers now more than ever, there has never been a more important time to understand our customers even better than before. This is important.
It is estimated that US consumers will spend $709.78 billion on e-commerce this year (it is anticipated that global retail ecommerce sales will reach a collective $3.914 trillion in the same period), which represents an increase of 18.0%. Brick-and-mortar retail spending, however, is expected to decrease 14.0% to $4.184 trillion.
What this means is we will see e-commerce reach 14.5% of total retail sales this year, which will make it an all-time high – and the biggest share increase in a single year.
Benefits of e-commerce
As we have pointed out here before, investing in an e-commerce store offers myriad benefits, such as:
- Not only do your customers have access to your business 24/7, but you also have access to them.
- Opening an e-commerce store will save you shop front costs and help you provide individualized customer service.
- Of course, you can decide to manage your online business from anywhere in the world.
- Customers expect to see businesses online and become suspicious if they don’t.
- You don’t need to convert your entire business to work online. To simply have a website with an email address and social media pages could be all you need.
- Finally, conducting your business online allows you to build relationships with your clients in ways you would not be able to in person.
But how does one go about building and launching an e-commerce store?
According to Foundr Magazine, the global media and education company that connects millions of people with some of the most successful living entrepreneurs, there are 8 crucial steps to follow in order to launch a successful e-commerce business.
This is a truncated outline of Foundr’s e-commerce masterclass:
1. Choose your product
The question isn’t, “What can I sell to make money?” The question is, “What do other people need that they will pay money for?” Switch from me, me, me to them, them, them. That’s how you’ll win.
2. Make your e-commerce store a reality
This involves settling on a brand persona (how people see and think about your business), choosing a name and making a logo, and creating a domain name to help buyers find your store online.
3. Manufacturing, packing, and shipping your e-commerce product
The majority of the costs will come from manufacturing your product and it is recommended that you find a local manufacturer, which is logistically manageable. When it comes to packaging, you need to see your product like a book – the packaging is like the cover. Customers will judge it. In terms of shipping, do some research specific to your product idea to find out if there are any unique restrictions or regulations which could hinder your shipping products. Do countries have laws about transporting the kinds of goods you want to sell? Are there customs regulations about international shipping of a given product?
4. E-commerce customer service
When you launch your store, problems will pop up. You should be prepared to deal with those issues proactively and to have clear communication with customers. Failure on this front could give you a bad reputation immediately.
5. Launch your e-commerce store
A successful launch can help to generate a strong base of customers to start, so make sure you pick a launch date and stick to it – making sure you will have products in stock upon launch day. Don’t forget to build buzz for your products on social media – making sure you can provide people with a glimpse of the products on offer.
6. How to build your e-commerce brand
It doesn’t end after the launch. Now you need to work on building the brand and luring buyers back time and time again. Instagram is a great way to help do this – retailers who carefully pick what to post and the right type of social media influencers will see success.
7. Scaling your e-commerce store
You must be prepared to grow the operations side of your business to meet the needs of an expanded customer base. Ultimately, the question is:
8. How can you grow your e-commerce store to meet ongoing demand?
A key step is to keep tabs on your key performance indicators (KPIs). The more stats you track, the more data you’ll have to draw on as you make important choices about the future of your store.
9. Sustaining your e-commerce business
To do that, you must communicate clearly. Strong communication means pouring your all into customer service. Listen to your customers. Really, really listen, and then act quickly to express your empathy, explain the situation, and fix any harm that’s been done. You must also track everything – good decisions draw on data. The more stats you track, the more data you have.