The eCommerce revolution is here. More than 80 percent of American adults routinely shop online.
This has led to the opening of more than 4 million online businesses in the U.S. and over 30 million globally.
As an entrepreneur, there’s no doubt that you’ve made a savvy decision to start an eCommerce business.
You need to be where the customers are, and as things are going, that place is on the web.
However, building a successful eCommerce business isn’t a walk in the park. With an 80-90 percent failure rate, your business is far more likely to collapse than succeed.
That shouldn’t deter you, though. There are many successful eCommerce enterprises, and yours can be one of them. But for that to happen, you must focus on growing it.
Read on for a handful of strategies that will bring your business growth this year.
1. Optimize Your eCommerce Website for Search
A whopping 46 percent of product searches start on Google. This means if your eCommerce website is higher up on Google’s search engine results, you’ll get a decent share of organic traffic. The more traffic your site gets, the more online sales you’re likely to make.
Yet, some eCommerce website owners don’t give search engine optimization the focus it deserves.
You might have outsourced the development of the site to an expert, but that alone isn’t enough to guarantee a high search ranking.
Besides web design, there are several factors that go into SEO, including blogging and link building.
In 2023, go all in on SEO. Hire a digital marketing agency that specializes in eCommerce SEO, such as Grizzly New Marketing, and let them develop and implement a suitable SEO strategy for you.
Keep in mind that it can take several months to see the results of an SEO campaign, so you need to enter into a longer-term contract with the digital marketing agency.
2. Diversify Your eCommerce Channels
About 27 percent of small businesses sell on their website. Indeed, setting up an eCommerce website is the first thing that comes to the mind of any entrepreneur who wants to sell online.
It gives you complete control of your operations and you get to sell directly to the consumer, thus eliminating the middleman.
However, while selling on your website is advantageous, it’s not the only eCommerce channel you should have.
You can also sell your product on marketplaces like Amazon, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of eCommerce traffic in the U.S.
Setting up a store on Amazon opens up your business to a broader customer base. You’ll also have an opportunity to make use of Amazon’s elaborate shipping infrastructure.
There are other eCommerce channels you can explore depending on the nature of your business.
Social media networks like Facebook and Instagram give you the tools to set up online shops. So, if you’re running a fashion brand, you’ll feel at home selling on Instagram.
Although diversification of your eCommerce channels can increase your sales, ensure you’re strategic about how you go about it.
Ensure your business has the capacity to handle a surge in sales that might occur when you open stores on other marketplaces.
3. Embrace Affiliate Marketing
When browsing the web, you’ve probably come across blog posts that have links to product pages.
Perhaps you’ve even made a couple of purchases off of those links. Did you ever wonder if the owner of the blog gained anything?
Yes, they earned a commission for every sale. That’s how affiliate marketing works.
Imagine a blogger with lots of traffic posts a link to one of your product pages.
A good chunk of the traffic will end up on your product page and some visitors will make a purchase because they trust the blogger.
If you’ve never tried marketing with affiliates, this should be the year you give it a go.
And don’t worry about getting started if you don’t have relationships with top bloggers in your niche.
There are platforms like ShareASale that will connect you with a network of affiliate marketers.
4. Speed Up Your Deliveries
The average shipping time for eCommerce businesses is 2-3 days.
That’s respectable, but, believe it or not, it’s not fast enough for today’s modern consumer.
According to a recent survey, 65 percent of online shoppers are willing to pay more for faster (same-day or next-day) shipping.
Therein lies information you can use to increase your eCommerce sales in 2023. If your customers have been getting their packages within three days, try to speed the deliveries to within a day.
Of course, there are important things you must change. For example, you need to find a shipping services provider offering same-day and next-day deliveries.
The service will cost you more, but if you will gain more customers, the return on investment is worth it.
Plus, since most customers are willing to pay more for fast shipping, you can push on some of the shipping costs to them.
5. Ease The Returns Process
It’s inevitable that some of your shipped orders will be returned, due to damage, incorrect item, or another reason.
Returns are inconvenient for the customer and costly for your business.
It’s in your best interest to reduce returns from a cost perspective, but the bigger loss will be losing the customer. Some customers will abandon the order and move to a competitor.
To reduce the chances of frustrating the customer, make the returns process as smooth as possible.
To start, if an item meets the requirements of a return, you shouldn’t ask any questions or try to push the blame on the customer.
Once it’s clear, an item needs to return, organize for a pick up as soon as possible, and replace it quickly.
The customer will develop renewed confidence in your brand and keep coming back for more.
6. Focus On Customer Retention
A bird in hand is worth two in the bush, so goes an old saying. Nowhere are those words more apt than in the business world.
Acquiring a new customer costs you more than retaining an existing customer.
This does not mean you ignore new customer acquisition. That still must be one of your key priorities as a small business, but don’t lose focus on retaining existing customers either.
Some business owners assume that once a new customer has made a purchase, they’re more likely to make a repeat purchase, especially if they love the product or service.
Well, they might have the intention of returning, but your competitors are eyeing the same customer, and they may get to them with a more enticing offer.
This is why you need to be intentional about retaining your existing customers.
Find strategies to hook them in and keep them there, such as running an effective loyalty program.
Maintain an open line of communication so that the customers feel closer to your business.
7. Expand Your Product Line
You hardly hear of a wildly successful business that only sells one kind of product.
Over time, even businesses that started with a sole product add more products to their lineup. This is important because it helps with new customer acquisition and retention.
As a small eCommerce business looking to grow, it’s probably time to bring another product to the market.
But, don’t just introduce any kind of product; you need a product that compliments what you’re already selling.
If you’re selling sneakers, for example, a good complimentary product can be socks or even sneaker cleaning supplies.
This way, instead of an existing customer going to another business to buy cleaning supplies for their sneakers, they’ll come to your business.
Though, be sure to research the market and understand your consumers before introducing a new product.
This will help you come up with a viable product idea, as well as know how to price the item once it’s up for sale.
8. Influencer Marketing
Did you know 61 percent of U.S. consumers trust recommendations made by influencers?
It’s no secret that influencer marketing works. Yet, a good number of small businesses are yet to give it a try, largely because they’re over-focusing on other marketing methods.
This is not to say influencer marketing is for everyone, but if you’re in one of the niches that do well with the strategy, don’t shy away from using it.
For example, let’s say your business is a skincare brand targeting millennials and Gen Zers.
Your target market comprises people who’re active on social media. These people follow their favorite beauty influencers on various social sites, often trying out the products they recommend.
If your business can partner with some of those influencers, you can bet your product will get good exposure and perhaps go viral.
Soon after the orders will start coming in. Just ensure you have plenty of inventory since some businesses have run out of stock after running a viral influencer marketing campaign.
The key to being successful with influencer marketing is to work with the right influencers. Evaluate an influencer’s reach and the quality of content they produce before making any commitments.
9. Improve The Customer Experience
Consumers have nearly unlimited choices when shopping online. There are lots of businesses offering quality products in your niche.
So, if product quality alone can’t be the reason your business attracts a customer, what else must you do?
It’s simple. Offer the best customer experience.
Many business owners confuse customer experience with customer service. The latter is just a part of the overall experience customers get with your brand.
There are several elements to take care of when you want to elevate the customer experience.
Ensure your eCommerce website is secure, responsive, and easy to use. If it doesn’t load properly on mobile devices, you’re literally chasing customers away.
Also, take measures to reduce customer wait times when they contact your business, and provide multiple communication channels.
10. Keep An Eye In The Economy
Fears of an economic recession are rife in 2023. Certainly, there are signs that the economy is headed in the wrong direction.
What has this got to do with you as an eCommerce entrepreneur? Well, when the economy isn’t doing well, most consumers will cut their spending, especially on non-essential goods and services.
No one wants to run out of money when there isn’t enough money going around!
Therefore, if the economy dives into a recession, you’ll see a significant reduction in sales. This isn’t the outcome you want when your goal is to achieve business growth.
Keeping an eye on the economy will help you to make appropriate adjustments in your business.
For example, you could implement specific strategies designed to stimulate business growth during a recession, such as increasing your spending on advertising.
Make 2023 the Year Of eCommerce Business Growth
Although eCommerce sales are a small portion of all retail sales in the U.S., the industry will only move in one direction: upwards. However, new online businesses are setting up shop every day, making the industry more and more competitive.
To achieve eCommerce business growth, you must find ways to stay ahead of the competition.
This article has fleshed out some of the top strategies you can implement this year. The ball is now in your court!
All the best and keep reading our blog for more business advice.