In 2020, E-Commerce sales rose 44% and are expected to continue to grow this year. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown shoppers that walking into a brick-and-mortar store is not their only option, and now many prefer to shop from the comfort of their homes. The E-Commerce marketplace saw the demand and responded quickly. Today, there are an estimated 12-24 million E-Commerce sites globally. However, before you get discouraged from creating your own online selling platform, know that less than 1 million of these sites make more than $1,000 a year. There are also countless shopping platforms that fail at some of the key components of online sales that would make their site stand out.
1) Take a Look at Your Product
The very first thing you can work on improving is how you present your product. This is one of the most crucial aspects of an E-Commerce site and something that can send customers away if done incorrectly. As many as 44% of shoppers will tell their friends about a bad experience online, so starting off on the right foot is key.
To start, make sure the photos on the site are high quality and represent your product accurately. Whether it’s proper staging, renting a nice camera or lighting, or researching the best ways to take product shots, make sure you are putting in the work to have a great final product.
Along with the photos on the site, the next most important thing is the description. There are literally millions of competitors in the E-Commerce marketplace so you have to make your product stand out in a very short amount of time. People’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter so make sure your message is concise and intentional. Include measurable qualities within the product description, have a commonly asked question section, and respond to any messages quickly so your buyer feels adequately informed about the purchase they are making.
Remember, we don’t have the luxury of in-person sales pitches in the E-Commerce industry. You can’t flash a nice smile and convince someone to buy your product, your site has to do the selling for you so make sure it is accurately representing your brand and message.
2) Branding and Storytelling
When you go to buy a pair of shoes, there are thousands of options, and many look and perform the same way. So why do you choose Adidas or Nike? Most likely, it is because you have preexisting knowledge of this company and its brand. The brand tells a story about the product and creates an experience for the buyer. It is also what helps your product stand out from its competition.
Brand loyalty is a fickle thing. Most consumers stick to what they know, but a significant 42% of global consumers say they love to try new things by switching, and almost a further half (49%) say that, while they prefer to stick with a brand they like, they can still be persuaded to shift in order to experiment. Moving to Asia-Pacific specifically, 42% of buyers opt for superior quality, while 47% are willing to try out new brands and switch. So what makes them switch? What does superior quality actually mean? Is it the durability of the product, the material it’s made of, the packaging, how it’s packaged, and its condition upon arrival? While these elements are a part of quality, branding also affects quality.
These statistics are a double-edged sword. On one hand, there is the potential that you can break through a crowded marketplace and sway a consumer away from a competitor to your shop. Or, the opposite could happen. To be transparent, there are many situations where products are manufactured in a similar way and made of similar materials. However, they are branded differently and that is what guides the buyer to their final decision. Having your product branded in a uniform, high-end way can make or break your sale. As well, how a product is packaged and the condition it arrives in makes a difference too. Remember, as the seller, it is your responsibility to give your audience every reason to buy your product.
A brand is created through the style of photos on your site, the color pallets used, the wording in your description, and other elements throughout your online presence. It is then carried over into your packaging, customer service, and more. The best way to have a successful brand is by making sure it is integrated into all aspects of your business. Identify how you want to be known and your goals early on can help you achieve a successful brand image.
Before you really dive into your E-Commerce business you first need to go through the process of branding. This involves researching and developing the identity of your site before you start building it. But don’t worry if you accidentally skipped this stage, it is never too late to reassess your brand image and integrate it into your business plan.
3) User Experience!
The public is drawn to online shopping because of its convenience and constant availability. If shopping on your site is not a convenient and easy experience, you will not make sales. No one wants to wait around for your site to load or to have an order go through, especially when someone else is doing it more efficiently. More likely than not, a consumer will look to Lazada, Shopify, or Amazon the moment they get frustrated with a smaller retailer. Do not send your consumers away!
A great way to keep your site up to date and efficient is by having a mystery shopper go through the buying process, or you can do this yourself. By performing the same steps a customer would in order to make a purchase, you will come across anything that might deter them such as broken links or slow loading times. It is much harder to catch these issues by just scrolling through your site so make sure you are being thorough.
Your site absolutely needs to be responsive to all different devices. Three billion people worldwide have smartphones and 79% of them have made an E-Commerce purchase using their phones in the last 6 months. You will be doing yourself a huge disservice by limiting your site to desktop devices.
Another aspect of the user experience is your return policy and shipping times. If your product will take 14 days to arrive and another site can get it to the buyer in 2, guess which one they will choose? Utilizing hyperlocal fulfillment, or the use of many smaller, urban sites instead of one large distribution center could shorten shipping times and decrease costs. When the inevitable shipping delays do occur, having a painless return policy is a huge plus to consumers and could result in a return buyer.
4) Social Media Integration
Social media integration is the process of using social platforms to extend your marketing practices and your business’ exposure. Using social media is a great way to be seen by consumers that may not have known about your business and to direct them to your website. In the same way, you can direct current customers from the website to your social media. In today’s market, social media is a critical way to get free marketing and customer interactions in an organic way. You can utilize it for marketing, branding, customer service, and more. With over 800+ million social media users in the Asia Pacific, if you’re not utilizing social media to its fullest potential, you’re hobbling your business.
Social media is also a great way to implement your branding guide onto another platform. 3.6 billion people are using social media worldwide and Asia-Pacific is known for having some of the most active users; spending close to 10 hours a day online. Leveraging social media is a free way to start conversations about your products and interact with feedback from your customers. You can also utilize influencers and bloggers by sending them products and asking for posts or reviews in return. Another extremely popular platform in Asia-Pacific is the live shopping network. Try out some of the shopping sites such as TalkShopLive, ShopShops, and apps like NTVRK.
Leveraging social media will help you to build online communities and relationships with your customers. Even in a completely remote setting, it is so important to create these personal connections in order for buyers to trust your business.
Create a Simple Supply Chain
After your product is presented perfectly, you have created a solid brand image, utilized social media, and created an amazing user experience, you have to make sure you can deliver on your promises. LOCAD can help you ensure that your products will be delivered safely and efficiently once the purchase is made.
We can offer a flexible supply chain as a service platform for multi-channel fulfillment, on-demand warehousing, and distribution. Our services provide you with a simple technology platform that will manage the backend infrastructure of your E-Commerce store. This platform provides information on your inventory in order to help you store, store, and ship products.
Our solution offers access to a global distribution fulfillment network that will help you localize your fulfillment strategy through a customizable supply chain, made to fit your unique goals. LOCAD gives you access to a hyperlocal distribution warehouse network that shortens the last miles between you and your consumers. Along with creating the most efficient shipping process possible, LOCAD will save you lead time and shipping costs.
Let’s face it, you could have the best E-Commerce site available but if you cannot deliver your products efficiently you will lose revenue. Supply chain management is our specialty, let us help you so you can focus on growing your online business to its fullest potential.