You study any successful business during its start-up days, usually the first 2-3 years of incorporation and you will easily spot a trend, a pattern of few simple principles they follow. From my experience with several successful businesses and a lot of failed ones, I believe there are 4 fundamental principles that can guide any starter to join the highly successful eCommerce merchants.
First & foremost – Successful businesses understand their target-customers better than anyone else.
Because no matter what you do, what you sell – if it doesn’t resonate with your customers, you will fail. And 9 out of 10 ventures are failing, as you read this
If you have an eCommerce website or online store, how should it help you there?
To show your customers that you understand what they need, your online store/website should allow you to talk your customer’s language. It can be a combination of: Ease of designing your Website pages as per your audience persona. A well-designed landing page gets 28% more visitors to take the desired action. Flexibility of displaying products and offers that gets better click-through rates. Most studies indicate 60-70% higher conversions when products/offers are well displayed.
1st Principle of eCommerce success – Understand your customers better than others.
Second – Successful businesses are able to reach where their potential customers are.
Because if your customers cannot find you, they cannot buy from you. And chances are, your customers may not find you easily from the more than 50 Million e-commerce websites on the internet.
How should your eCommerce website/online store help you there?
It’s a must today that your store lets you define your product details in a way that Search engines understand. 80-85% merchants are not aware of Meta tags, H1 tag, Title, Image alt tag, etc – which, unfortunately is the only language that Google would understand to show your products in search results. And thus their products never appear on any search results.
On top of this, your store should make it easy for you to also put your products on Google Feeds, Shopzilla, Amazon, eBay, etc which are great & under-utilized ways to increase visibility on the web.
Hence, 2nd Principle of eCommerce success – Reach where your future customers are
Third Successful businesses maximize the conversion of all the traffic & visitors into buyers.
Because you may do a great job at attracting prospects, but if they are not taking the next step and not buying from you, it’s a waste of time & money.
How should your eCommerce website help you there?
Your online store needs to be your best sales person. Because small merchants are getting more than 60% of sales from online stores. And it will only grow from here. So, your store should give:
A simple checkout process to minimize abandoned carts. On an average, 35% of carts are abandoned during the checkout reducing sales in that proportion. Auto-responders to further follow-up with abandoned carts and make an offer. This feature can increase conversions by another 21%.
Flexible & easy ways to add ‘call to action’ items to convert your traffic into buyers. A well-placed CTA can get you 42% higher sales.
So, 3rd Principle of eCommerce success – Maximize visitors into buyers
Fourth – Successful businesses create the circle of business with their customers.
It’s 5-6 times more expensive to acquire new customers than retaining a customer. So, what works very often for the winners is to get your first time buyers to buy from you again and again.
How should your online store help you there?
Should have simple-yet-indispensable features like in-built email marketing, discounts, promo codes, coupons and gift certificates. More than 90% repeat business is generated by the successful stores with these 5 features.
Should be easily configurable to show – Recommended products, Customers who bought x also bought y, ‘Buy x – get y free’ and Free shipping based on amount purchased. These 4 options can give another 30-35% boost to the volumes.
Your store must have simple ways to ‘remember’ customer’s contact details, their preferences, their favorite choices and their topics of interest. So that you can reach out to them with new offers – that are most relevant to them.
Those who are able to build such a relationship are able to make 8-10 times more sales from the same number of customers.
4th Principle of eCommerce success – Create a circle of business with your customers