By 2023, e-commerce retail purchases are expected to rise from 14.1% to 22%; the online shopping market is growing, and it’s growing fast. With the switch to everything digital over the past few years, we’ve seen more and more entrepreneurs setting up their own online store. An e-commerce store gives you the opportunity to reach more of your customers than ever before, without the costs and limitations of running a brick and mortar store.
However, that being said it can be difficult to know where to start when setting up an e-commerce business. It’s easy to get bogged down by branding, logos, your website and your social media profiles. Whilst these elements are all important, it’s important to look at all the aspects that are key to running a successful e-commerce business. If you’re struggling with starting your e-commerce business from scratch, this blog is for you! Get some inspiration on how to start your business, and on which areas you should focus on in order to boost your success.
Research research research…
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’, the same applies to starting an e-commerce business. Without undertaking proper research beforehand, you’re limiting your chances of success. Reading this blog is your first step in your research process! But what else should you be looking at?
You need to research your customer, and learn everything there is to know about them, from there you can create your buyer personas. In doing so, you will have the insights in orders to tailor your marketing mix and the rest of the decisions that you make in order to appeal to your customer.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, in this case, your enemies apply to your competitors. Keep track of their online activity; look at their marketing, their clients and their processes such as returns and customer service. Use what you learn from this process as a benchmark to build upon; what can you do that will position you above and beyond your competition?
Your online shop is one of the most important aspects of running a successful e-commerce business. After all, without it, there is no way to connect with your customers. At this stage, it can be tempting to spend way too much time on the aesthetics of your website, which can help you to lose sight of the functionality. It’s important to strike a balance between creating an online store that looks great, and one that serves a purpose.
At this stage, you may be deciding between creating a website yourself and working with a professional web developer to do this for you. This really depends on the budget you have available, how bespoke you’d like the website to be, how much time you have available and how much support you would like going forward. Weighing up these factors will help you to make the right decision for your business. When starting an e-commerce business, some people decide to set up their own website to begin with, and invest in a bespoke website later down the line. Whatever you decide, the goal should be to create a website that is easy to navigate, pleasing to look at and is easy to purchase from.
Delivering goods to your customers
Ecommerce fulfilment is the process of delivering goods from your online store to your customer, involving the entire process of receiving, packaging and shipping of orders. Getting the fulfilment process right is key to creating happy customers. After all, nobody wants to receive the wrong goods, or wait a long time to receive their order. In fact, according to research the two main reasons people won’t buy online include wanting to see and touch the item before buying and delivery taking too long.
In failing to choose the right e-commerce partner, you’ll be faced with an uphill battle in growing your ecommerce business. You might initially be thinking that you can handle the delivery process yourself. However, you’ll quickly find that the time it takes to manage orders, pack orders, ship and sort out tracking will soon add up, impacting you as a growing business. Find out more reasons to outsource your fulfilment service.
Your customers are the single most important aspect of your business, so you should put them at the forefront of what you do, and the decisions that you make. It costs upwards of 5-6x as much to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. So when you’re thinking about customer care, think about what you can do to make them as satisfied as possible. Are you providing an excellent user experience on your website? How will you ensure the accuracy of orders and timely delivery? Do you have a straight forward returns process? Something as simple to fix as an inconvenient returns policy deters 80% of people from making a purchase.
There is so much to think about when it comes to keeping your customers happy… Luckily, you don’t have to handle all of this alone. An experienced fulfilment service provider such as UK Fulfillment Service provides the following:
- Pick & Pack – Picking and packing the right item quickly and accurately at our e-commerce fulfilment centre according to your instructions.
- Deliver – We ensure that customers receive their orders quickly and accurately.
- Returns – Should your customers wish to return their orders, we will visually inspect the item, update your inventory or scrap the item, depending on your choice.
Leaving you with more time to work on your business, rather than in your business.
Growing your customer base
In order to grow your business, you need to grow your customer base. Something which can be easier said than done… With an e-commerce store, taking time to focus on your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is really important. Being present on Google has allowed businesses to be judged on the value that they can provide to their customers, rather than this being based on size.
Investing in your SEO is your opportunity to be seen by as many as your potential customers as possible. There are plenty of free resources out there to get you started; we’d also recommend installing Google Analytics on your website to get a better idea of who is visiting your website, and how you can build on these numbers, and optimise that experience. Some of the key areas to work on in SEO are improving your service page content through on-page optimisation, blogging and making website changes to increase your customer base. Carry out some research into other online channels, such as social media, guest blogs and other PR opportunities. Get in front of your potential customers wherever possible!
To summarise, use the following takeaways from this guide to help you in starting an e-commerce business:
- Carry out sufficient research first,
- Create a website geared around your customer,
- Find a fulfilment partner to ensure accurate and timely delivery and easy returns,
- Gear your decision-making process around your customer, and
- Use SEO and other online channels to grow your customer base.
If you have any questions about our e-commerce fulfilment process or are interested in finding out how we can help your new e-commerce business, speak to our team today. We offer a trial period, letting you try UK Fulfillment Service for free to see if we are the right partner for you.