Failure To Launch: Looking At The Real Reasons Why Your Ecommerce Efforts Are Going To Ground
This past year has brought the most significant business challenges we’ve faced in a generation, causing companies to shut their doors (both permanently and temporarily,) and calling for fast-fire solutions that stand to save entire industries.
For obvious reasons, eCommerce has provided just such a solution for countless companies, a fact that’s led to increases of 46% in this area alone, despite decreases of 1.9% in retail sales on the whole.
Unfortunately, while the vast majority of businesses already had some form of online sales plan in place, the scope and sudden need for wide-scale eCommerce capabilities has left many falling behind. If you’re one of them, the chances are that online sales right now are barely keeping you on life support now, let alone into the future.
Here, we’re going to look at where you could be going wrong, and what exactly you can do about it as we move into a future that’s undeniably set to keep eCommerce at the forefront for a long time to come.
Problem # 1 – Your web presence isn’t up to the challenge
Given that your ability to sell online largely comes down to your ability to tailor and perfect your website and online presence, this is the first area for consideration if things aren’t going quite right.
In many ways, this is a tenfold issue, so let’s start with the root of the (potential) problem – your website.
The simple fact is that, if your website design is all over the place, your sales likely will be too. After all, competition is fierce, and if your customers have to go around the houses to find your ‘buy’ button or even just the sales section of your site, they’re unlikely to stick around. Instead, you need to make sure of intuitive, well-thought web designs, either implemented in-house or, even better, developed by experts like those found at Yankee SEO & Web Design. You need to make sure, too, that you’re pairing a reliable shopfront with that more tailored web space for easy shopping experiences, guaranteed.
It’s also vital to note that you need to make sure people can actually find that newly-tailored website over, say, the pages of your competitors. Spreading the message yourself can help here, as we’ll discuss in a little more detail later. But, from a web-specific angle, improving your rankings in the search ratings is the single best plan of action here. SEO is your best chance at doing that, especially considering that sites ranked on Google’s first search page garner around 92% of the clicks.
The good news is that improving and simplifying your web design can help a great deal here, but SEO success is about more than that. You may also find it beneficial to implement content methods such as videos or blog posts, and even to get your head around backlinks, image use, and a range of other methods that could see your site gaining an edge on its competitors at last.
Problem # 2 – You aren’t spreading the message
As mentioned above, spreading the message about what you’re doing online is also important, especially considering that this is likely a new undertaking for your business. The sooner people know about what you’re doing, the sooner they, and you can start enjoying the benefits it stands to bring.
So, far from the fairly passive selling methods that may have used in-store before now, it’s vital that you get proactive. Remember, all your competitors are likely doing the same thing right now, meaning this is very much a case of ‘you snooze, you lose.’
First and foremost, spread the message of your new eCommerce focus across as many relevant social media platforms as possible. This could be through a general post, or you may prefer to make use of more immediate sharing methods such as stories, reels, or similar.
Once you’ve garnered general interest, it’s time to keep up with spreading awareness of what you’re doing when you do it. Shop updates, new products/selling avenues, and generally any eCommerce news needs to go on your social media feed in some form or another. Pair this with SEO fundamentals such as keywords and hashtags, and you stand the best chance of spreading a message that all potential leads are far more likely to hear.
Problem # 3 – You haven’t diversified your product line
2020 has been a year of business change in every sense and, more recently, the changes that the pandemic has wrought have seen more businesses than ever-diversifying their product ranges with shifting eCommerce marketplaces in mind.
The fact is that, as every retail business moves online, the eCommerce marketplace has become the most commoditised industry of all, leaving price comparisons as the only thing driving sales from one standard online store to another.
For retailers just now breaking into the eCommerce market, this makes it incredibly tricky to find an edge and secure sales in the long-term, especially against experienced eCommerce leaders like Amazon.
To counter these issues, companies are instead turning to diverse and unique sales propositions that take them out of the race they can’t win, and instead set them up on their own eCommerce steam. Subscription boxes have proven especially useful for this purpose, providing an ongoing source of income, and a personalized approach to an otherwise impersonal industry. Equally, personal shopper-style recommendation services could see more shoppers coming your way. Even something like well-packaged products could see you securing sales over similar retailers who simply use things like package boxes.
Even if you’ve never thought to diversify in these ways before, you can’t afford not to right now. So, alongside your standard shop setup, take this chance to think about what you could offer that few other shops do, and don’t hesitate to get started making it happen.
Problem # 4 – You’re totally out of the competition loop
Speaking of competition, this, in itself, may be where you’re falling down. After all, while you’ve always been able to see your competitors up close when you were trading from a physical store, there’s a lot more smoke and mirrors regarding what other companies are doing online. You certainly can’t sit back in your home office and assume that your eCommerce offerings are competitive enough.
Instead, you need to get a little more proactive in this sense, too, by going out there to find your competitors and thinking practically about how you can stand apart from their offerings. Note that, much like in a physical store, simply stealing their ideas isn’t going to serve you here. But, taking a look at the kinds of things that work for other companies in your field can prove surprisingly useful for giving your store a boost. At the very least, you may be able to get ahead of the trends this way if you’re up to date enough.
It’s also worth mentioning that, while physical stores typically act as standalones, the online sphere has a far more communal focus. In fact, interactions with other companies (though perhaps not direct competitors,) can have a huge impact on things like SEO and audience reach.
So, as well as keeping one eye on what other businesses are doing, it’s always worth reaching out/sharing information about brands whose audiences you think would appreciate what you offer, too. In true ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ nature, this should soon see you enjoying the success that you’ve been struggling to find until now.
Problem # 4 – You’re not thinking long term
The speed with which we’ve all had to implement eCommerce focuses also often means that long term trajectories are sorely lacking right now. But, as we move ever further into this ‘new normal,’ it’s quite possible that this lack of future focus is the very thing that’s setting you back.
After all, an online store or service that’s set up ‘just for now’ is never going to be the tailored, finished product that you need right now. Instead, it’ll have a temporary feel which, honestly, is never going to win you sales against a more serious online competitor.
What’s more, there’s no need to keep one foot out of the door where your online sales are concerned. Whatever happens, physical stores have taken a hit that’s going to last a lifetime, and consumer habits have changed in ways that are unlikely to revert to type, even once the option is there.
As such, far from treating eCommerce as a temporary sideline, you need to prioritize this on the business front both now and moving forward. Stop using a substandard shopfront and invest in quality software that you can trust. Tailor your product lines with wider, global audiences in mind, and finally get a courier service behind you that you can rely on.
While this isn’t to say that you need to take your eye off physical sales altogether, eCommerce is largely the way forward, and you need to realize that before you can feel its benefits at long last.
Categories: Outside Contributors
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