Are you planning to launch a startup e-commerce business? If so, this is undoubtedly the right time to plunge into it and here’s why. Experts estimate that by the end of 2021, about 27% of the world’s population would shop online. The COVID-19 and its infectious nature have indeed changed consumer behavior, bound to have lasting effects.
Consumers in the US alone spent over $861 billion on online purchases, reflecting the generous growth this sector has experienced. Despite all the good stuff, there are a few things you should know before venturing into the e-commerce business. Although lucrative, there is intense competition in this sector, with small e-commerce businesses on one side and well-established online marketplaces on the other.
Competing with Amazon’s unlimited resources can be difficult for even the most organized startup e-commerce business, but don’t let that bog you down. Despite the stiff competition in the e-commerce landscape, there are ways to penetrate this densely populated marketplace. The e-commerce market is humongous, and there is no shortage of opportunities for those willing to work in the right direction. Below mentioned are some powerful techniques that can help your business hop into the profit zone much faster.
1. Create a Powerful Website
In many ways, e-commerce websites are pretty similar to brick-and-mortar stores. Both operational models must create an enticing environment that reflects their business model, offering, mission, and vision. Now, this does not mean that you opt for a complex web design that comes with a ton of code because that could kill your website’s page load time. Instead, opt for one that is simple but interestingly conveys the message.
This is essential because over 79% of mobile users have made online purchases from their mobile devices, which indicates a pattern. So, you need a website that loads fast both on PCs and mobile devices as well. Apart from the design, ensure that your website is easy to navigate and use separate subdomains for payments, login, and other sections that involve the exchange of sensitive data.
2. Use SSL for Better Security and Enhanced Credibility
For quite some time, e-commerce websites have been a hot favourite among hackers and why not? There’s so much sensitive data piled up in one place — credit card info, personal details, login credentials and more. As e-commerce websites have a lot at stake, even the slightest neglect could lead to a security breach that results in consumer lawsuits and loss of online reputation.
Thus, e-commerce startups must always comply with PCI DSS, GDPR, and other applicable data privacy and consumer laws. One of the standard requirements stated by most regulatory guidelines is the HTTPS protocol, which triggers encryption. This protocol, which is activated by an SSL certificate, uses cryptographic keys to encrypt the data exchanged between the server and the client.
Despite the increase in e-commerce security breaches and financial cybercrimes, many startup e-commerce businesses overlook this critical security measure. While some neglect it entirely, others opt for an ineffective free standard or domain validated SSL certificate, which in most cases is inefficient.
Unlike a blog or a company website, e-commerce sites make use of multiple subdomains for security purposes. This is where the convenience of a cheap Wildcard SSL certificate comes in, as it secures not only your chosen primary domain but also multiple first-level subdomains.
3. Plan a Powerful Marketing Strategy
Most startup e-commerce businesses struggle to get even a small slice of the enormous e-commerce market solely due to an inefficient marketing strategy. The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and the key to success is to uncover opportunities by keeping pace with the changing consumer behavior.
The next step is to create powerful buyer personas and map out each persona’s customer journey based on varying needs. Forget the one-size-fits-all approach because that no longer works, and therefore your sales and marketing strategy needs to be more dynamic and positioned for growth.
4. Data is the new oil.
Most startups assume that Big Data and Data Analytics are meant for established businesses which cannot be farther from the truth. Over 67% of small businesses currently use data analytics for their companies and have experienced immense growth. So, the size of your business does not matter when it comes to adopting a data-driven approach. The challenge here is to find professionals adept in pulling out valuable insights from large data sets, which can be difficult. If that’s taken care of, it can optimize the e-commerce startup’s sales processes and significantly increase ROI.
5. Provide Exceptional Services
Amazon is the undisputed master in the e-commerce industry, with a whopping 40% market share. If Amazon’s tremendous growth has taught us one thing, it’s the power of providing prompt and timely service to consumers. In the e-commerce business, this is only possible when your logistics, customer support, technical services etc., are synchronized. As a startup business, you cannot take this lightly because your service would be judged from the very first day.
As discussed earlier, competition in the e-commerce space is stiff, and therefore startups need to compete based on the service they provide. So, please don’t keep your customers waiting for clarifications and provide them with quick and easy resolution through multichannel support using chatbots, live chat, phone-based assistance, etc. This is essential because while Millennial and Gen Z prefer non-verbal modes of communication, the older generations like Gen X and Boomers still prefer phone-based assistance.
According to surveys, nine out of every ten e-commerce sites fail in less than 120 days from its launch. By following the techniques mentioned above, e-commerce startup businesses can increase their chances of being the 10% that survive.
As discussed, the only way to make that happen is by focusing on innovative techniques to optimize sales and provide impeccable service to your customers. So, don’t think twice before deploying advanced tools from the very beginning.