The term ecommerce is often associated with large retail brands, but the accessibility of digital shopping platforms is opening up opportunities to smaller firms – as new statistics have proven.
According to a new report, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Turkey increased their profits by 30% between 2013 and 2014, by investing in the user experience customers receive through their online channels.
It’s not just Turkey where ecommerce investment is having a positive effect; across the world, online shopping is increasing, spurred on by the growing use of smartphones and tablets for retail purposes.
For small businesses in particular, ecommerce levels the playing field between established brands and market newcomers. To give an example, most SMEs can’t afford the rents on the most desirable bricks and mortar retail locations. Online, however, growing organizations can project the same, polished image as major retailers.
The important factor for SMEs to remember when they’re setting up an online presence is to get the basics right – and this means having an effective portal for doing business. Investing in a slick looking website that can reliably process transactions, is an absolute must for success in ecommerce.
There are other considerations to take into account, too. For example, operating online creates potential for limitless SKUs – so what is the optimum range? In this case, variables such as storage space come into consideration, as does the ability to pick, pack and ship volumes of goods following an order.
Another important element is how to spread the word. It’s true that anyone can set up an ecommerce website, but how many consumers find and use that site is a different matter altogether. Even for start-ups with a modest budgets, it’s important to use the marketing sources surrounding you – word of mouth, social media, blogs, forums – to spread the word about your new venture.
Once the task of tempting customers to your site has been achieved, the next step in a successful business journey is to navigate them through the site to checkout. Abandoned baskets are one of retail’s biggest headaches, but ensuring the digital journey is clearly mapped out and your site is easily usable from any device will reduce the chance of losing shoppers along the way.
One final thing to remember is not to forget customers once they’ve made a purchase. Loyalty is an incredibly competitive battleground in 2015, so nurturing the business of existing shoppers can prove extremely lucrative. Keep in touch with those who have bought items from you via e-marketing and social media, encourage them to give you feedback and use that information to do business better.
Listening to your customers and learning from their experiences is the foundation of successful ecommerce – just ensure any correspondence is fed back into the business so further improvements can be made.