First, Some Well-Deserved Applause
I know we tend to focus on our service-based businesses, but this one goes out to all you product-based businesses out there!
And I have to give it to you guys…the additional complexities of what you do and how well you have to do it astounds me. Let me say that again–ASTOUNDS me!
Inventory, sales taxes, brick-and-mortar, constantly fluctuating retail markets, returns, refunds, customer service, I mean man. If anyone deserves a much needed pat on the back it’s you guys.
But the E-Commerce World is Changing
Can we all agree that the way that product-based businesses operated before the pandemic is a totally different business model than what is required today? If you didn’t have an e-commerce strategy before, we’re definitely heading into hostile territory.
And now with the advent of AI technologies making drop-shipping accessible to anyone and everyone, how are you supposed to compete?
Let’s start by accepting the hard reality that commerce in a post-Covid world will never be the same.
It’s time to adapt to compete with the times, and preserve the spot in the market that you’ve worked tirelessly to claim.
So here you are, friend. Grab a comfy seat, use this as an excuse to splurge on a coffee, and prepare to take notes, because this article is loaded with practical insights from someone who works with a number of fellow e-commerce businesses.
5 Ways to Compete in the World of E-Commerce
1. Embracing Mobile Commerce
The future of e-commerce is m-commerce (mobile commerce).
With the increasing use of smartphones and tablets, consumers expect seamless and user-friendly mobile experiences. In fact, if I just use my own clients as a case study, the average percentage of sales from a mobile device was 73% this past year compared to the 17% of sales that were completed on a desktop device.
Of course, this number fluctuates depending on the age range of your target customer, but the reality is that the majority of your customers may never see what your website looks like on a desktop device. Their only experience with your site will be on a mobile device, which means the mobile design and compatibility needs to take priority over your desktop device.
So what does this mean practically? Optimize your website for mobile devices, ensure fast loading times, and implement responsive design principles. Consider developing a dedicated mobile app to provide a personalized and convenient shopping experience. By embracing mobile commerce, you can tap into a growing customer base, enhance engagement, and drive higher conversion rates.
2. Embrace Personalization and Customization or Prioritize Exclusivity
The Personalization & Customization Route
Say it with me, personalization and customization in the e-commerce landscape are your friends.
So many print and drop shipping companies are making it extremely easy for customers to go online, upload their own designs, names, or logos, and whamo! A fully custom t-shirt, mug, or pair of shoes is on its way.
If this is how you want to play the game, then you need to tailor your marketing messages, product recommendations, and user experiences based on customer data and preferences. Leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to deliver personalized product suggestions, dynamic pricing, and targeted promotions. Invest in customer segmentation strategies to identify distinct groups and create tailored campaigns for each segment. By providing personalized experiences, you can build stronger relationships with customers, foster loyalty, and increase customer lifetime value.
This goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. If you’re wanting to pursue this strategy of e-commerce, don’t skimp on the web development! This is not something you want to DIY or seek out the most affordable option for. This much complexity requires a hefty amount of time and investment to develop a compatible site, so be sure to find a developer you trust and plan ahead.
The Exclusivity Route
If you don’t feel you have the financial ability or capacity to handle that much technology, the other side of the coin is to play the exclusivity game.
Limit the number of new items you have available to increase the value of each item. Focus on branding and making your brand something truly unique that clients are eager to get a hold of. Set new release dates and focus on building anticipation by leveraging social media and your email list.
Personally, while I enjoy the perks of both of these strategies, the brands that consistently have a hold on me play the exclusivity game and they play it well. If you do’t have a budget to compete with the big-box stores, this might be the way to go. And if so, investing in a solid brand identity is the key to helping you achieve success with this strategy.
3. Enhance the Online Customer Experience
Delivering an exceptional customer experience is crucial for the future of e-commerce. This is especially true for clothing brands since you’ll need to convince a customer that she will have a decent only experience even though she would traditionally want to try the clothes on prior to purchasing.
Intuitive navigation, easy-to-use interfaces, and streamlined checkout processes go a long way in limiting the number of support questions you might receive. Incorporate live chat or chatbot functionalities to provide instant customer support. This might sound like a hefty investment, but not having a chat function is much like having a brick-and-mortar shop without anyone on the floor to help customers or manage questions.
Leverage virtual reality or augmented reality technologies to enable virtual try-on experiences for products like apparel or home decor. Collect and analyze customer feedback to identify pain points and continuously improve your online shopping experience. By prioritizing customer satisfaction, you can differentiate your brand, earn customer loyalty, and foster positive word-of-mouth.
4. Develop Social Commerce and Influencer Partnerships
Social media platforms continue to play a significant role in the e-commerce landscape. Social commerce and influencer partnerships are incredibly beneficial and build anticipation for your coming releases.
Leverage social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok to showcase your products, engage with your audience, and drive traffic to your online store. Collaborate with influencers or brand ambassadors to reach new audiences and leverage their influence and credibility.
By combining social commerce and influencer partnerships, you can amplify your brand’s visibility, generate buzz, and increase conversions.
INSIDER’S NOTE: A trend I’m absolutely LOVING these days and seeing wild success with my clients for is including diverse sizes and races in your imagery. The Barbie and Brittany Spears physique of the ’90s has gone away. Today, customers are wanting to see real people so that they can relate to the brand and feel like they can visualize your products in their homes.
5. Streamline Logistics and Fulfillment
Efficient logistics and fulfillment are crucial for successful e-commerce operations. Optimize your supply chain, inventory management, and shipping processes. Implement inventory management systems, track packages in real-time, and provide transparent communication regarding shipping updates.
If necessary, explore options like dropshipping or partnering with third-party logistics providers to streamline your fulfillment process. By ensuring fast and reliable delivery, you can enhance customer satisfaction, minimize cart abandonment, and foster repeat purchases.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of Shopify for this reason. The free WordPress + WooCommerce option can work as well, but ultimately, most of my clients, once they’ve reached 50 SKUs, opt to transfer their business to Shopify for it’s ease of use, and the tools available to help them manage both the e-commerce and brick-and-mortar branches of their businesses hand in hand.
Ready to Up Your E-Commerce Game?
The future of e-commerce presents exciting opportunities for businesses willing to adapt and embrace emerging trends. By booking with Amanda Doherty Press for your e-commerce website or brand, you can position your business for success, gain a competitive edge, and thrive in the dynamic digital landscape.
Want to discuss your goals and vision for your business over a cup of coffee or a beer? I’d be thrilled to extend a free consult so that you can see for yourself whether ADP is the right team for the job. Click below to book your complimentary consult!