8 Tips on Building an E-commerce Website

Building an eCommerce site from the ground up is not an easy process no matter where you fall on the spectrum of technical skills. In this blog, I’m going to walk you through 8 tips that I learned along the way of building several ebsites from small to enterprise. Are you ready? Let’s go.

Build Partnerships with Vendors

As you set up your eCommerce business, you will need to establish partnerships with vendors to help you along the way. This is a crucial link to your success. When you partner with the right tech vendor, they become an asset to you in the future as you grow alongside each other. For instance, you can offer a case study, and they can utilize your market to help you create your brand.

Choosing the Right Tech

They say the best diet is not the most popular one, but rather it’s the one that you can stick to. The same is true for technology. Just because certain hardware, software, or online platforms are popular may not mean it’s the best fit for you. Do your research and compare tech against the points that matter most to you. If possible, see if there is a free trial period to test something out before committing.

What’s Included

Make sure that whichever platform you choose for your eCommerce site has plugins and integrations for all the tools you need. This means everything from tracking your inventory to setting up a seamless checkout process for clients online. Having everything connected, tested, and working is critical before you launch your site.

Product Content Strategy

You’ve got your software picked out, your site up and running, and a workflow established. Awesome, now you need to make some sales and run your business. How? By having a solid product content strategy in place. This is how you will establish your brand and market your new business. Establish a presence on social media and if you need help, hire someone to manage it for you. They can create a brand and posts and help you get the word out. This will build your following, email list, and overall conversions aka sales.

Roadmap of Releases

Next, you’ll want to create a roadmap of releases. You can create this for the whole year at once and break it down quarterly. This way you know when you’ll have sales and what you need to prepare for in terms of ordering inventory and getting the word out. You can prepare to release new features and alternate ways to deliver and differentiate your business from the competition

Tech Integrators

Hire people who not only know what they’re doing in terms of tech but ones who are as invested in your project as you are. If you hire someone who’s only in it for the money, chances are you won’t be able to rely on them when you have an issue or really need help. Be sure to fully vet all potential prospects you hire in terms of outsourcing help.

Negotiate

Negotiate everything. Don’t be a pushover when it comes to establishing partnerships, cost, price, and more. If you’re going to be successful in eCommerce, knowing how to negotiate is an important piece of the puzzle. If you’re new to it, do some research online and practice with a friend or yourself in a mirror before in-person negotiations take place.

Conclusion

There you have it. The above is what I learned and employ in my journey of building and running an eCommerce business. In a world that is progressively moving online, I hope this helped you to establish your corner of the market.

The Importance of Private Label in Retail

A private label brand offers a merchandiser the opportunity to sell a product without the worry of manufacturing.

Private labeling occurs in a wide variety of industries from cosmetics, clothing and accessories to household cleaners, furniture, and foods. When creating a private label product, it puts you, the merchandiser, in control of your branding, marketing, and customer experience.

When you create a unique, reputable brand you create endless opportunity. Branding, marketing and establishing a loyal customer base is just the tip of the iceberg.  

The Power of Branding

A private label product offers a merchandiser the opportunity to create and cultivate a strong brand. A recognizable and reputable brand will be what sets your company and product apart from your competition.

With a private label, merchandisers can obtain higher profit margins all while offering cheaper alternatives to brand names. In most cases, a private label product provides the consumer a very similar item to that of a brand name. Whether the similarities be in ingredients or quality, private labels stand up against their branded competitors. Herein lies the importance of branding and showcasing similarities and benefits with your private label.

In a world where anything can be purchased online, a distinguishable brand that resonates with your target audience and provides value to your customers is a distinct competitive advantage.

Your company/product name, logo, vision, tagline, and overall aesthetic are all crucial pieces to creating an unforgettable brand. This brand image provides consumers with their first impression of your offerings. It provides a glimpse of who you are and what you offer. And your outward-facing brand persona may be what entices a customer to make their first purchase.

Marketing = Growth

By creating a private label, you are establishing your brand in the marketplace.

Once your branding has been created for your private label, you can begin executing strategically crafted marketing efforts. Even a simple marketing plan will enhance your image through cohesive output targeting your ideal audience. Utilizing digital marketing mediums with engaging marketing collateral is proven to be one of the most effective ways to generate leads with first-time purchasers.

It takes a minimum of seven times for a consumer to remember a message/product/service. I would even dare to suggest that with the micro-consumption of content and shortened attention spans, it might even be more. What does this mean to you? Having a private label brand that you can promote to your target market offers you the opportunity to be memorable and incite action—and action = sales.

Establishing a Loyal Customer Base and Beyond

The hardest sale to make is the first one. However, it takes more than a good product to create repeat purchases and a loyal customer base. Establishing this loyal customer base is simple but not easy. It requires a reason to come back, and more so, a reason to choose you over your competition. You can begin this process by implementing a customer relationship management strategy.

Creating customer lists and serving personalized content has shown to be a sound method to retaining customers. By capturing your new and existing customers information, you are able to analyze that data and provide valuable content straight to their emails. This content could be a coupon, trial options, FAQs, customer testimonials, new product information, and so much more.

There are numerous CRM and email management platforms that offer streamlined services for simple implementation and maintenance. Properly utilizing these types of platforms will not only build your reputation and customer base but take your brand to the next level.

Start That Private Label Today

Branding, marketing and customer engagement tactics work together to enhance your image and reputation. The resources involved in successfully implementing each of those strategies will be worth every penny and second. Those pieces coupled with perceived value and satisfactory customer service set you up for a successful business venture.

Minimizing eCommerce Returns

The eCommerce boom of 2020 also means a surge in returns. UPS Forecasts is expecting to see a 23% increase over last year. Returns are inevitable. However, by analyzing your industry and product, reducing the amount of returns is possible.

Returns are heavily based on industry and type of product. It is less likely for food or household items to be returned. On the other hand, it is more likely that apparel, accessories, and similar-type items will be returned. Herein lies the issue for merchandisers operating in those industries.

Let’s take a look at a couple of ways to prevent returns or reduce the number of returns your company is receiving.

Detailed and Accurate Product Descriptions

The product description for your item is an extremely important component to the listing. A detailed listing offers the potential customer all of the features and specifics needed to make the buying decision.

If you are a clothing merchandiser, one of the most common reasons for returns is the fit of the item. Although you cannot solve all of these issues with a description, it can help. In addition, elements like a fitting and size tool are essential. Clearly and specifically describing your product and offering tools to help with sizing will reduce the returns for things like fit, color, material, and quality.

To take your product listing up a notch, add an FAQ section with a few commonly asked questions. This can assist customers in making their decision and alleviate the need to make returns.

Customer Reviews

Honest reviews of your product by real customers are crucial in an e-commerce world. They might even be your best defense against returns. It is no secret that potential customers are much more likely to trust the word of a purchaser than the company itself.

You can offer a reward to entice past customers to leave a product review. This reward could be a small discount or entry into a raffle. You will be much more likely to receive a review with an incentive. This small incentive’s cost will be well worth it for a large quantity of quality reviews. Encourage those customers to leave reviews with photos or even videos.


Customer Service

An opportunity to answer customer questions, complaints, or issues is a preventative measure through proactive customer service. Simple options can be put in place such as email or phone. More advanced options like text messaging or live chat are robust service offerings that provide extreme ease of use for customers and real-time help, reducing the possibility of needing to return. 

A strong customer service offering provides customers with the confidence in your company—the confidence that you will right a wrong and/or work with the customer to come to a solution. Building this trust creates repeat customers, and less of a need to return items.

What Next?

Merchandisers need to understand the many reasons that consumers make returns, and specifically, why their customers make returns. Receiving and analyzing this data should be your first step. Once you have the main sources you can then begin working towards minimizing returns.

If you are just starting out, make sure to implement the aforementioned tactics. Returns harm profit margins, and therefore overall company profits. 

There are many returns that you cannot prevent. Learn from your data to implement fixes to what you can prevent.

Adapting to a Post-Pandemic World of Commerce

The world of commerce is constantly changing, and this year may have sparked one of the biggest changes in commerce the world has ever seen. The economy took a massive hit around the world during the first and second quarters of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Millions of people lost their jobs, which resulted in a huge decline of discretionary spending, and millions of shoppers who would have been flooding the streets of malls around the world opted to stay home.

Many businesses, who traditionally did business in person, scrambled to find ways to keep their doors open. When physical locations had to be closed down for safety, consumers were left with online shopping as their only way to buy what they needed.

Throughout the last few months, e-commerce has exploded and has shown no signs of slowing down. Online companies have experienced huge successes during the pandemic, but there are challenges that each company continues to face today, and important steps the companies should take to ensure that their business continues to thrive.

New Demand for E-Commerce

Even now, six months into the coronavirus pandemic, less and less people are shopping in person, and the demand for e-commerce continues to increase. Stores have taken proper precautions and experts argue that it is now safe to shop in stores as long as protocols are followed, so why does e-commerce continue to grow?

We believe that as more and more people discover just how easy and convenient it is to shop online, the industry will continue to steadily grow even as the pandemic ends. E-commerce has made significant improvements over the years, and many shoppers were not aware of just how easy it is to online shop.

Once a person transitions over to online shopping, many hardly ever return to crowded malls or tiny stores to make their purchases.

Distribution Challenges

The growth of the e-commerce industry has not been without its challenges. For one, many online companies are now being faced with the need to expand their distribution.

Growth is almost always positive, but when companies aren’t prepared for the amount of growth they’ll face, they end up selling out of products and leaving customers to shop elsewhere. In Q2, from April to June, for example, consumers spent $200.72 billion dollars with online US retailers.

That number is 44% higher than it was during Q2 of last year; this is evidence that online retailers must anticipate unprecedented sales and quickly expand their distribution centers. This might mean that companies need to adjust their capital budgets and make new sales forecasts to keep up with the growth they could have as the year progresses.

Delivery Challenges

When purchasing a new product, especially technology-related products that are being used to work from home, many people need their products extremely quickly. Companies are now spending a lot of time and money to develop ways to effectively deliver products without huge wait times.

Amazon, for example, has spent billions of dollars developing its own network of delivery drivers so it doesn’t have to go through 3rd parties like FedEx, UPS, or USPS.

While this won’t be the possible option for smaller companies, each e-commerce company must consider whether it’s in their best interest to work with Amazon or if they should continue to use their own website for sales and then ship and deliver through a shipping company.

Supply Chain Challenges

The coronavirus did a huge number on international supply chains, and online retailers are forced to examine different ways to fulfill the demand of the market. The tech industry has had particularly high demand due to the shift of many workers from office to home.

On the flip side, the tech industry has faced particularly difficult shortages and other problems with their supply chain. To understand these shortages, you must understand just how much the demand grew for certain tech products – compared to last year, Q2 saw needs for notebook computers increase by 45%, tablets increase by 37%, monitors increase by 87%, printers increase by 54%, and keyboards and mice increase by 62%.

These huge, unanticipated increases in demand were challenged by the fact that mega-factories in China, like Foxconn, were forced to shut down for a period of time. Due to the huge amount of shutdowns in China, some retailers are searching for new places to manufacture their goods, and it would be smart to consider finding various countries that could manufacture goods in the case the one country faces future shutdowns.

Going Forward

As the world continues to evolve through the pandemic, e-commerce businesses should anticipate more and more growth to their sector. Consumers are finding out just how easy and convenient shopping from home is, and it will only continue to get better.

Companies need to make sure they have solid supply chains and reliable manufacturers; they should look for multiple manufacturers to import products from in case shutdowns continue in different parts of the world.

There is no doubt about it: e-commerce is the way technology shopping will continue into the future.

4 Tips to Establish a Unique Approach to E-Commerce

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, it quickly became clear to retailers around the world that they had to change their strategy if they were going to continue having success. Those who were unwilling to adapt were going to go out of business, since no one was leaving their homes to shop at brick and mortar locations.

Smart retailers are quickly turning to the internet to create another outlet to sell their products, but with hundreds of thousands of new websites popping up every year, you might wonder how your business can compete with everyone and actually get sales; don’t worry, despite the competition, it’s absolutely possible.

Differentiate Yourself

If you’re going to stand a chance in such a competitive industry, you have to find a way to differentiate your website from the rest. You need to spark an emotional reaction from your consumers that will evolve into brand loyalty.

One important aspect of differentiation is personalization. You need to personalize the content that each consumer sees on your website according to what they are looking for. Use solution-based machine learning technology to drive personalized promotions and unique content to every consumer that visits your website.

Making a unique brand for yourself will bring your company sales.

Find Exclusive Products

One of the biggest reasons that customers buy products from specific e-commerce websites is because they’re looking for a specific product. Some companies opt to sell their products on all different platforms, but the issue with this is that big companies like Amazon and Wal-mart will take a cut of the profit and make it more difficult for you to make money.

Instead of selling your products all over the place, you may try selling your products exclusively on your website. This will drive traffic directly to your website from those who want your specific product.

Learn to Drive Traffic

You’ll never get a sale on your website if no one ever sees the content and products you have available. Learning to drive traffic to your website is the most important way you can get sales; there’s nothing that’s more essential to selling products.

Take a look at every aspect of your marketing strategy; don’t just focus on one way to advertise. Establish social media accounts on every platform for your company. Use SEO keywords to rank in Google searches and establish a blog to build your search engine presence. Find influencers to market your products for you.

There are tons of different ways to market your products; use them all and see what works for you.

Create a Customer Experience

Amazon is a huge powerhouse in online retailing, but one of the thing you can capitalize on is the fact that Amazon is almost completely a self-serve consumer experience.

You must create a consumer experience with online assistance that will help guide your customers to high-margin products.

Final Thoughts

Despite the huge amounts of websites popping up every day, there’s no reason why you can’t transform your brick and mortar store into an e-commerce site and find consumers to purchase your products. Find the way to create a unique customer experience and you’ll find success.