There were projected to be over 2 billion e-commerce consumers in 2021, serviced by millions of e-commerce sites and businesses. Buyers make purchases for an array of reasons, including positive reviews, marketing and great customer service, but are fickle, abandoning carts and dismissing businesses for anything from a poor mobile experience to surprise charges and fees. The pandemic has made e-commerce one of the fastest growing market segments in the world, and if you are excited to enter the fray, it’s important to consider the most current e-commerce trends when planning your grand online-opening.
Research E-Commerce Business Models
It’s time to explore e-commerce business models. Drop Shipping is the simplest business model, with the business acting as a storefront for a supplier, with less stress on the business owner, but less control over the product. The wholesale or warehousing business model lets you fill warehouses (that you purchase or lease) with inventory, gives you control over the entire process (shipping, storage, etc.) of selling to both individuals and bigger enterprises. The private labelling & manufacturing e-commerce business model is for sellers with a product design and manufacturers, while white labelling means you work with an established company with white label options, allowing you to put your own label on the product and sell it independently. Finally, a subscription model like meal kit delivery promises regular orders and sales and ideally, long-term customers.
Choose a Domain Name & Website
Your domain name and website says a lot about your business and product. For example, a website designed to help you find a therapist should not use the name “therapistfinder.com.” Also, while some domain extensions (.com, .net, .org, .co) are cheaper than others, or may have your favourite domain name available, many consumers don’t trust a domain extension that they don’t know, and won’t even click on your link for fear of virus or unsolicited content.
Know your Niche Market
You are not Amazon…yet! E-commerce sites with an array of products, but no cohesive theme, turn off customers and rarely succeed. Choose your niche market space based on customer demand, lack of market saturation and lack of big-name brand products. Don’t be afraid to get specific with your first products, and if you find yourself in a wide open e-commerce space with no competition, you’ve either sited a unicorn or you have stumbled upon a non-starter market.
Confirm Target Market & Product Ideas
You’ve chosen your business model, purchased the perfect domain name, and know your niche – now what? It’s still not time for the big reveal. Use social media to test out your product with different target markets. Find out who your customers really are, what trends they are following, how much they earn, and what their ideals are. For example, if you find your product is wildly popular with ages 13-16, but your prices are high, assume you are at the mercy of parents, who are decidedly not attracted to your product and unlikely to spend big.
Simplify the Process
You are now ready to sell to the right niche market with the right site and business model. Now simplify the shopping and shipping process. Prepare by researching how to ship a package, and the customer service you will offer. Almost all consumers have decided to abandon a purchase over poor customer service, and the average American tells around 15 people about a bad service experience. Don’t underestimate the power of personality, flexibility and compassion in your new e-commerce business.
Watch Market Trends
Watching the latest trends goes beyond seeking out social media influencers. Many e-commerce businesses employ marketing firms for outreach and branding, and third-party shipping companies to simplify the delivery process. Are businesses in your market trending toward sites like Shopify.com, or are they more successful with their own websites? Do you feel comfortable with data and analytics, or do you need an independent company for CRM? Making the right choices here will set you up for long-term success.
Differentiate your Product
You’ve done the research and it’s time to make some money! Not quite yet, I’m afraid. Yes, you might have everything you need to launch, but now it’s time to evaluate what sets you apart from other e-commerce vendors in your space. Unless you are hoping to trick buyers into purchasing a copy-cat product, you will want to differentiate your product in a creative way. Some enterprises use social causes and charity, while others focus on creating a brand that resonates with a specific market, like gamers or travellers. E-commerce is exciting and offers a world of opportunity for those who respect the process. While the big brands make it look easy, to compete you will need the planning and flexibility to navigate any situation and weather any storm.