Over the past decade, the eCommerce industry has expanded from something novel to a driving force of our economy. eCommerce activity accounts for trillions of dollars’ worth of economic activity every year, and as time goes on, the digital economy is expected to continue its steady growth.
Depending on the current nature and structure of your business, moving into the eCommerce space might be the best opportunity for your business to increase its revenue streams and, ultimately, improve its bottom line. Around the world, more than 2 billion people participate in the competitive eCommerce sector, yielding more than $4 trillion of economic activity.
Because the eCommerce industry has become so competitive, it is crucial for aspiring business owners to carefully plan their movement into the eCommerce sector. Addressing each of the many moving pieces in your campaign—financing, marketing, infrastructure, and more—can help your business position itself for long-term success.
Is your business considering a pivot into the eCommerce space? Be sure to keep each of these essential components in mind:
eCommerce Essential Planning
Before your business can sell anything online, you will need to come up with a detailed plan. Begin by identifying who you are as a business.
- What products or services do you plan to provide? What makes your product or service different from your competitors?
- Who is your target audience, and what are their primary motivators?
- What is the overall mission guiding your business? Do you simply want to make money, or do you aspire to achieve something deeper?
- What advantage do you hope to gain by moving your business (or at least some of your business) online?
Once you have been able to answer these questions effectively, developing the branded components of your business should become significantly easier. Keeping these things in mind, the next thing you’ll need to do is come up with a company name, product name, logo, and a messaging plan. The images and words you choose will help set your business apart from your competitors. The more time you can commit to thinking about these elements of your business, the easier it will be to coordinate your broader campaign.
Infrastructure is key to running an eCommerce enterprise. Working with an experienced eCommerce financial partner, such as Idea Financial, can help your platform get off the ground and running and also ensure that your business is in a position where it can be financially stable.
There are many different components of eCommerce infrastructure. Shipping and fulfillment, for example, help ensure that your products end up where they need to be and are delivered on time. With a well-developed fulfillment program, your business can minimize operational expenses and decrease average delivery times.
Your business will also need to make sure it has the capacity to answer questions from your customers, handle returns, and effectively develop long-term relationships. As you quickly discover, repeat customers will likely account for a significant portion of your business. Having the capacity to work productively with these customers will help generate long-term revenue growth.
Furthermore, your website will play a critical role in your eCommerce business. In fact, it is fair to say that without a high-performing website, your business will not be able to succeed. Taking measures such as optimizing the website—removing malware, increasing page speed, creating a user-friendly interface—will help direct each of your potential visitors to where they can actually make a purchase.
Building your eCommerce Store
Your eCommerce store (or eStore) is the portion of your website where your prospective customers will become actual customers. It will be crucial for all digital businesses to test the performance of their eStore on a regular basis and ensure that anyone hoping to make a purchase will be able to do so.
Many different platforms can be used to create an eCommerce store, which is something that your financing partner may be able to help you with. Usability, intuitiveness, and security will be three of the most important things for you to keep in mind. You’ll also want to think carefully about the relationship between the digital “storefront” and the other components of your website.
- Does your website feature multiple calls to action?
- Do you provide content that can be funneled into conversions?
- Do each of the products or services you are offering include a quality photo and a detailed description?
Remember: Most of your customers will never speak with an actual person in your company. Because you will not have an opportunity to sell to them verbally, you will need to create a store that can do the selling for you.
Expanding your Digital Footprint
Developing an effective digital footprint requires much more than simply building your eCommerce storefront. You’ll also need to make it possible for the site to be easily reached, which means you will need to create multiple different paths to the store.
Creating engaging social media content—especially on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram—will help your storefront gain visibility. Furthermore, conducting a link-rich digital marketing campaign will help your store land on the front page of Google and other major search engines. Eventually, you will be able to create a self-sustaining content funnel that will attract new visitors for years to come. But in the meantime, you’ll need to be willing to do the work upfront.
Financing your Future
Lastly—and perhaps most importantly—your eCommerce business will need to consider how you plan to finance your campaign. An Idea Financial line of credit, for example, is a simple and versatile financing option that can help your business grow now and pay later. The line of credit is notably different from what you might find with other sellers, such as Amazon and Walmart, because it enables you to access funds immediately and pay these funds back once you have gotten paid.
Be sure to ask plenty of questions and choose a financing plan that works with your needs. Understanding the typical payment cycles, costs of financing and infrastructure challenges associated with your industry will help make it much easier for you to find the perfect fit.
Once you have been able to secure financing and develop a strong plan, you will be well on your way to eCommerce success. By continuing to adapt your campaign, invest in the essential components of your business, and find new ways to generate customers, you will be able to achieve your long-term objectives.