As a follow up to the webinar Small Business eCommerce Readiness Guide | 7 Essential Requirements to Succeed in eCommerce we are posting this blog to recap key features and the Q&A session.
The 7 Essential Requirements to Succeed in eCommerce:
1. Taking a customer-centric approach
One key component to the customer-centric approach is paying attention to the different ways customers shop and making sure you cater to those options. Multi-device compatibility & screen shifting allow your customers to have a seamless shopping experience regardless of their shopping channel. Multichannel selling is equally important, as Gartner predicts that by 2017 about 70% of eCommerce sites in North America will be dependent on services from Amazon or eBay
2. Social Media
There is a continued shift towards social media. This helps companies complement and enhance their (SEO) search engines optimization strategy. Social media enhances search engine relevance and organic growth. This is free advertising – customers and shoppers give you positive or negative ratings so you need to manage it closely. In some instances social media is a very powerful tool that shifts control from the retailer or service provider to the customer! Think about what you do when you review a product, a service, a restaurant, or a hotel…. Companies react and they react fast!
3. Product Imagery & Videos
You want to have:
- Rich imagery and content: detailed product descriptions and specifications
- Short concise value-add videos where appropriate
- Alternatives options to display products – thumbnails vs. larger images
- Refinement options and guided navigation to narrow your search
- relevant content on blog
Mobile friendly sites are no longer enough. As m-commerce continues to grow in popularity, websites must be optimized for mobile. In addition, take advantage of mobile marketing and advertising and the reach it has.
5. SaaS Trend
Cloud computing technology has lowered the barriers to entry and enables SMBs to compete with larger companies.
A SaaS solution provides you with:
- Affordable monthly subscription fees vs. a large capital expenditures and a yearly maintenance fee for service and support
- You get access to the latest technology on the market
- You will have Real-time information about your business
- It is much easier and faster to implement that traditional software – think about it; your SaaS provider has already done the homework!
- And the best part, it is managed by someone else – you don’t need to hire technical and support staff
6. Integration and Automation
eCommerce retailers can scale their business while remaining lean when they integrate their internal systems. A survey conducted by Forrester Research found that EDI can speed up your business cycle by 61%. The goal of automation and integration is to reduce touch points, lower cost per order, and allow you scale
7. Always Evolve
- Analyze your data—what’s working, what isn’t
- Pay attention to Customer feedback
- Approximately 89% of consumers trust online reviews
- Stay informed!
- Keep an eye on new technologies and trends
- What are your competitors doing?
- Are search engines changing their algorithms – if so how does it affect you?
Q & A
I have an established business and I am looking to sell online for the first time. What do you recommend as the first steps?
- Take a look at the competition—what is working and what isn’t. Mimic what is working to get up and running faster and then figure out ways to differentiate yourself. How can you market your products on Amazon and eBay? Take advantage of this free marketing, as Amazon has many viewers
What was the percentage of buyers that will rely on Amazon or eBay?
- Gartner predicts that by 2017 about 70% of eCommerce sites in North America will be dependent on services from Amazon or eBay.