COVID-19 has had far-reaching effects on dozens of industries and millions of businesses around the world. Industries like entertainment, tourism, and hospitality are in tatters, while others are trying to remain buoyant during the trying times.
There is one industry that has absolutely thrived during COVID, and the series of lockdowns faced by communities globally. Online retailing and eCommerce businesses have reported unprecedented growth over the last year, with some companies going as far as to describe sales equivalent to that of Black Friday, for weeks on end.
This has resulted in the industry having to rapidly grow to cater to the increase, other industries evolving their operations, and new players entering the market. If you, like others, are either looking to join the online community or need some guidance in growing your business, we thought we would help out. Here are some ways for you to transform your business into an online empire.
Automate As Much As Possible
One of the first things that you will notice about running your eCommerce store is that it takes a lot of work. Not only do you have to concentrate on the functionality and smooth running of your site, the marketing, and the customers, but keeping track of your inventory and products can take hours out of your already short day.
This is why we encourage you to automate as much as possible. Everything from social posting, emails, and even inventory management can be perfected and then managed with online platforms and tools especially for you.
Whether you are working from your own website or using a platform like Shopify, there are thousands of tools online that can help you cut down your workload by simply using the solutions. Take, for example, your emails. Once you have your database set up and a generic email that you want your audience to receive regularly, you can get the rest established on a platform like Mailchimp. Here, your templates can be uploaded and adjusted according to your needs, the emails scheduled and sent to mass audiences and their success rates tracked.
The same goes for your inventory management. Even if you are looking for something specific, like a Shopify inventory management solution, you will surely find the perfect automation tool for you. There are great tools for you to choose from to manage everything from your order management to warehousing to shipping, all on one platform.
Get Your Landing Pages Just Right
One of the secrets to eCommerce success is the product and landing pages. Your customer will only get to know you and your brand through the content and images displayed on these pages, so make sure you get them right from the get-go.
Keep in mind that you have to create a customer journey for your customer throughout your site. So, from the minute your customer lands on your site, whether it be the homepage, a blog or a product page, each one will need uniformity in reflecting your brand messaging.
Let’s take a look at the product pages, in particular. These pages need to give your customer all the information they need about the product for them to convert. They cannot physically touch or see the item, so simple, yet descriptive content is needed to define the product. Keep in mind that you will need the relevant keywords included organically in the description for SEO purposes.
Add in several high-quality images for the customer to get a good idea of what it looks like. Various angled and close-up imaging will allow the customer to make a decision on their purchase.
Lastly, add in all of the vital information they will need to actually make the purchase. Cart abandonment is highest when retailers do not indicate extra fees like shipping and add-ons on the product page, so make sure you include that here.
Concentrate On Your Content
We cannot express just how important content is for an eCommerce site, and if you are not budgeting for a content strategy for 2021, you will definitely be losing out on paying customers. If you have not started that blog, or if you haven’t kept it up to date, get on that immediately.
It was mentioned earlier that product descriptions need keywords for SEO purposes. If you don’t know already, Google scrapes every site created to get an idea of how to categorize it and where to rank it. It does so by picking up keywords on your webpages. You can do keyword research into your industry, find out what is trending, and what your competitors are using, and include those on your site.
Make sure your landing pages have relevant keywords for your industry, but, do not stuff the pages, as Google picks that up and penalizes you. It is also important to know that every time you make a change to your site, Google will re-scape the page to know where to place you. So it will be worth your while updating your pages frequently to keep up in the rankings.
Lastly, keep your blogs informative, educational, and entertaining for your audience. You will be sharing the articles on your emails, through social and affiliate sites. So, providing information that your audience actually wants to hear will make you more trustworthy and will drive organic traffic to you!
Measure, Monitor, and Test Everything
This, for us, is the holy grail of eCommerce. If you are just starting off, we cannot encourage you enough to perform these steps. Look at A/B testing, for example. You are able to put out two different versions of something to ascertain which drives a higher conversion rate. Anything from your images to your CTAs to your content can be tested. Just remember to not index that page as Google will think that you are duplicating pages.
Then it is up to you to track the performance of your pages and efforts. Google Analytics is a great tool to use to keep an eye on your site traffic. You will be able to see where your traffic is coming from and how much of it actually converts to leads and sales.
Say, for example, you are an organic food retailer and you have written a great blog post on 5 ways that your audience can slim down in 2021. You can monitor the traffic to the blog post and see how much of that is converting from the post. You can also track where it is coming from. You will want to post the article to your socials, on the emails, and to affiliates at the same time, so you can track how well each channel is performing.
If your post performed well, and you gained tons of traffic from it, as well as a number of sales, you will know that that is what your audience wants to hear. So duplicate the process repeatedly until you have built up a strong brand.
The one thing you will need to keep in mind at all times during your eCommerce venture is to keep the customer journey in mind at all times. You will want to continually surprise and delight your customer, as well as keep them informed, educated, and entertained at all times.