Starting an E-Commerce store is easier than ever before. Thanks to several user-friendly E-Commerce platforms like WooCommerce, Magento, Shopify, Amazon seller, etc., you can now start selling your products online within a few days.
But, the biggest challenge is – to make your E-Commerce store stand out from the thousands of others selling similar products. To help, we've reached out to the top small business experts in E-Commerce, collated their favourite E-Commerce strategies, and compiled this guide on how to grow a small business online.
Irrespective of whether you’re just getting started with online selling or have years of experience selling your products via a digital storefront, the tips on this page are sure to benefit all.
Ready for the best small business growth tips? Let’s get started.
Tip #1: Re-Engage with Lost Customers and Abandoned Carts, and Translate it into Sales
"The average conversion rate for an E-Commerce store is just 2%. So, it's incredibly important that you don't miss out on conversion opportunities."
You need to subtly nudge customers who have expressed an interest in your products and redirect them to your site to complete the purchase. You can achieve this by using,
- Retargeting ads
- Push notifications
- Facebook/Instagram ads
- Facebook Messenger
Remember that the average customer goes through a minimum of 6 touch-points before making a purchase. So, it's a smart move to convert lost leads into sales. Read up on retargeting (remarketing) campaigns to understand how to use this tactic to convert leads into paying customers. After all, these are people who have expressed an interest in your product – by landing on your site. So, it makes sense to give them an added incentive to complete the purchase.
Here are some other tactics to pursue beyond retargeting ads:
- Order emails – Send an order completion email to customers to remind them to complete the purchase.
- Display a special promo code/offer to give customers the added push to checkout.
- Encourage email sign-ups by offering a welcome bonus.
Tip #2: Educate and Guide Customers to Make an Informed Purchase
“Nurture customer loyalty and trust to win sales.”
The top small business marketing experts agree that online shopping is no longer impulse buying. Today’s customers want to make an informed purchase after considerable research. So, you need to provide customers the time to introduce, educate, and highlight your products. Work on nurturing a relationship with the customer and win their trust before you nudge them towards the purchase.
Email marketing is a great tactic to build customer trust. Whenever a potential customer arrives on your site, get them to sign up for your email marketing newsletter by offering a welcome bonus. Once they sign up, don't push them to complete the purchase. Instead, warm them up by sending a series of welcome emails introducing your brand, what you do, your speciality, and more. Once you've warmed them up, you can work on moving the customer to the next step of the buying journey.
Tip #3: Prioritise Online Customer Support
"Fast, hassle-free customer service is critical for establishing brand trust. Ensure that you respond to customers quickly, irrespective of the channel they use."
When you prioritise customer support, you can turn unhappy customers into loyal customers. By responding quickly and working on the issue they face, you can deliver them with an enhanced purchase experience.
When customers feel that your brand will respond to their issues and pain points, they are more likely to recommend you to friends and family – both online and offline. This is incredible to build brand awareness and trust, all of which translate to sales and revenue.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Try to respond to customer queries within 10 minutes during office hours.
- For times when you’re away, send an auto-responder letting the customer know when you will be available.
- Try to provide customers with an online chat option on your E-Commerce store so that you can respond immediately if they face any troubles.
Tip #4: Always Use High-Quality Images & Professional Videos
"To grow and expand your business, you need to showcase your products in the best possible way."
Whether you're selling products via your website, your Instagram page, or an online marketplace like Amazon, Flipkart – the product images you use play a crucial deciding factor in influencing customer decisions.
All other efforts you put in – description optimisation, landing page design, product promotion, etc. - become wasted if you don't have professional, high-quality images for your products. Here are a few product photography tips from small business experts:
- Give plenty of detailed, close-up shots of your product.
- Keep it clutter-free – while creative backgrounds look good on your Insta feed, the actual product photos should have a clear background without any distractions.
- Use a photo editing program to adjust the light levels and white balance to make your product images as appealing as possible.
- Use 360-degree product photos to help customers look at the product from all angles.
- Better still, include short product videos for a more detailed look.
- Get a professional photographer to shoot product photos if your budget allows it. Remember, this is not an expense but an investment.
Tip #5: Deliver Quickly
“We live in a microwave society where everyone wants to get everything with a push of a button.”
The faster you ship out your products, the more quickly you satisfy your customer’s buying “itch”, making them come back to you.
To ensure that you provide your customers with a seamless delivery experience, you need the right courier partner. Remember that customers equate the shipping experience to your brand and not to your shipping partner.
Here are a few questions to ask while choosing the right courier partner:
- Are you getting the best prices?
- Is your courier partner providing you tracking numbers and timely delivery updates?
Weigh the different courier partners available in the market. Compare quotes, delivery times, and other features to pick the right logistics partner. Look for a courier partner who provides on-time tracking and delivery updates. This way, the customer stays in the loop every step of the way.
Tip #6: Know your Metrics for E-Commerce Success
"The key to E-Commerce success is to be aware of your metrics."
Generally, E-Commerce store owners shy away from analytics data, thinking that it's too complicated, overwhelming, or irrelevant. This is a huge mistake. To ensure that you're not losing money, you need to understand the metrics of your store.
A few metrics to track include:
- CAC (Cost to Acquire Customer) – The money you spend to onboard a customer.
- ACV (Average Cart Value) – The money the customer spends at your store.
Broadly speaking, if the average customer spends more than what you spend to acquire the customer, then you make a profit. So, find ways to reduce the CAC and increase ACV (by offering bundled offers, one-time-offers, etc.) to increase profits.
The one common advice that all E-Commerce small business experts give is - not to be afraid to experiment. There is tons of E-Commerce advice, tactics, and success strategies out there. But, it doesn't mean everything applies to your business.
As a small E-Commerce seller, you need to find out what works for your store and spend your time fine-tuning strategies that click for you. Focus on the right tools, track your metrics, and map your customer funnel, and soon you'll be on your way to success as an E-Commerce entrepreneur!
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Q. What are some great E-Commerce tips for small businesses to increase conversions?
Ans. Running a loyalty program is a great way to increase customer spends, encourage repeat purchases, and improve conversions. Something as simple as rewarding customers for a second purchase will help retain existing customers and convert them into repeat ones.
Q. Is it necessary to invest in high-quality E-Commerce software?
Ans. Yes, you don't get a second chance to make an excellent first impression. Studies reveal that the average customer needs only 50 milliseconds to decide if they like your site or not. You need to be creative and hook in the customer as soon as they arrive on your site. Investing in high-quality E-Commerce software like WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, etc., makes your site appear professional and trustworthy.
Q. Which is the best CMS for my small business?
Ans. There is no CMS that suits all. It all depends on the features you need and your budget. Here are a few points to keep in mind while choosing the suitable CMS:
- User experience
- Ease of use
- Availability of integrations
Some of the popular CMS to choose from include: WordPress, BigCommerce, Drupal, Shopify, Joomla and Magento.