Guest Article by Sagi Stunis, CEO of Stunis eCommerce Agency
Times are changing, and more businesses are turning to the web, opening online stores in order to sell their products. This trend didn’t come out of nowhere, rather it’s a direct response to the rise in the amount of purchases conducted on the internet, often via mobile. Recent research shows that 70% of teenagers shop online. This extensive activity on the web has a lot to say for itself – while in the past you could only find online stores for the big brands or rich resources, today small businesses are also jumping at the chance to open an online store, after realizing that web activity makes them more relevant, brings in additional income, and is often a substantial source for profit.
But there’s a catch – despite the rapid influx of business owners to the web, many of them find it difficult to establish and manage their online stores successfully without spending a lot of time and expensive resources. You can find information about eCommerce on the web, but not enough information, which makes it hard for beginners to succeed – it’s not easy to decipher between what’s correct and what isn’t, what’s recent and what’s not, which platforms are recommended and which are old news, how to conduct an effective market survey, and which advanced tools to use. All of these different aspects are very important and have the power to influence the level of your success.
The result of this information gap is a pool of online stores that don’t fulfill their sales potential, and often even find themselves with an operating loss.
So what is at the core of an online store? Lucky for you, it’s all laid out below. If you’re the owner of an online store, this really is a mandatory reading for you! Even if you’re a retail seller that doesn’t have an online store yet, it is recommended that you read up on the topic, in light of the new commerce world that is being built before our eyes.
1. Building a Business Plan that Stares the Truth in the Eye
An online store’s business plan needs to reflect how the project would look like in the future from all aspects: marketing, economic, technological and operational. You must make sure that the plan includes both a text section that discusses the store’s activity and a financial section that can provide answers to questions such as: What are the net profit margins each year? What is the return rate on investment? These are critical questions for every business owner in the midst of planning this investment and can even indicate whether or not the investment is worthwhile.
2. Content and Design that Give the Buyer Confidence
When discussing online purchases, one of the major roadblocks is the shopper’s fear of the unknown. Just as you would not buy anything from an offline store that doesn’t look credible, online shoppers won’t buy from you if your website doesn’t look trustworthy. So how do you do it? How do you make your store look credible?
Remember – the content and the descriptions on your website are your “salesmen.” Invest your time on the content and descriptions and it will prove itself worthwhile when the conversion rates on your website will rise. There are many well-designed websites that have worthy product images, but that lack a sufficient product description, thus leaving shoppers with important questions regarding it. Do you sell clothes on your online store? Write a worthwhile description answering questions such as: what material is the article of clothing made out of? What is the best way to wash it? What colors do you have in stock?
The more prospective questions you answer, the higher the chances are that you’ll successfully sell the product and the lower the chances are that it will remain in your customer’s cart without ever actually getting purchased.
3. Advertising and Marketing that Don’t Play Make-Believe
It’s important to differentiate between sales advertising and image advertising. Think about your own business – do you find yourself advertising different promotions only to find that they aren’t actually increasing sales? Maybe you’re not even sure how to know whether or not they are? From a marketing strategy standpoint it’s important that each advertisement will lead to sales and not only to increased awareness. It’s also crucial that you know how your promotions are doing at all times. How do you do that? By using result-based tools that enable variability, data monitoring and budget control.
Remember – your customers don’t do “quick fixes,” rather they search for information and compare prices in various channels. When we fail to understand our buyers’ activity and the specific sales funnel that they experience in our store, then we also fail to build an appropriate purchase process that our campaigns will be built on. .
4. Every Business Owner’s Treasure: The Database
A database that includes customers’ emails and additional data that the website provides for us on web surfers is one of the most significant assets for our conversation with our customers, without media cost. As business owners we constantly strive to succeed in two main aspects:
- To constantly grow our recipient pool.
- To use this communication channel in order to connect with our customers in a continuous and calculated manner, and to offer them additional sale pitches.
5. The Triple Threat: Trial, Error and Measurement
The key here is to find the formulas that work for your business and protect you from losses. From a marketing strategy standpoint this requires us to use as many new advanced tools as possible, backed by exact daily measurements. To try at all times new variations of the sales process – keep what works and give up what doesn’t.
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