The e-commerce sector is evolving, faster than ever, driven by technological advancements, now by AI, and ever-changing consumer behaviors across an ever-increasing number of touch points and sales points. To navigate this omnichannel commerce world, businesses need to adopt a multifaceted strategy, not just customer-facing but also deeper back-end issues of logistics and inventory management.
Let's dive into 23 ways your e-commerce business can not only survive but thrive even in this treacherous and constantly shifting terrain.
1. Prioritize customer service: In a PwC survey, 73% of all respondents point out that customer experience is an essential factor in their purchasing decisions. Ensuring that experiences are good ones should be your business priority.
2. Personalization closes deals: According to Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. That often means using cookies intelligently and with proper permission. So bake them into your e-commerce strategy.
3. Loyalty programs can increase a brand's market share by 20% and increase profit margins by 5%. 70% of consumers say they are more likely to choose a brand if it has a loyalty or rewards program. Have you implemented one yet?
Robust Digital Marketing
4. SEO today is a one-horse race: Google accounted for over 70% of all global desktop search traffic in 2020, underlining the need for successful SEO. No competitor comes close. If you’re not on their first page, you barely exist.
5. Content Marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates 3x the leads. 70% prefer to learn about a company through articles rather than advertising. Content is king: become a loyal subject. 72% of marketers believe content marketing is the most effective.
6. Social Media Presence: HubSpot reported that 71% of consumers are more likely to make purchases based on social media referrals.
Optimized User Experience
7. Mobile-Responsive Design Drives Sales: According to Statista, Mobile e-commerce sales accounted for 53.9% of all online sales in 2021. 54.8% of web traffic worldwide is mobile. Mobile-first strategies are therefore in the driver’s seat.
8. Easy Navigation: Stats assembled by HubSpot reveal that 76% of consumers say the most critical characteristic of a website is ease of use. 38-39% of users will stop engaging with a web page that loads too slowly or incompletely.
9. Fast Load Times: Google suggests that as page load time goes from 1s to 3s, the probability of bounce increases by 32%. However, there are significant improvements: the average load time of mobile pages has dropped by 7 seconds.
10. Don’t neglect the About Us and Contact pages. Research shows that 52% of users of e-commerce sites check out the company’s About Us and 44% will leave a site if there is no phone or email to contact.
Product Differentiation & Branding
11. Product Differentiation carves out a unique space in a crowded market. When products are well-differentiated, they reduce consumer price sensitivity and command loyalty, often transforming customers into brand advocates. An iconic example of successful product differentiation is Apple, which distinguishes itself with a unique combination of sleek design, user-friendly interface, and seamless integration across devices.
12. Unique Selling Proposition (USP): The USP is the distinct proposition that sets a product or service apart from its competitors, creating an unrivaled niche. Rosser Reeves famously posited that for any product to be truly successful, it should have a USP that stands out and grabs attention.
13. Brand Building means more than having a catchy logo or slogan. The aim is to create a consistent image, experience, and promise that resonates with consumers, fostering loyalty, offering a competitive edge, and boosting profitability. Maintaining brand consistency across all touchpoints reinforces recognition which, over time, builds trust and deeper emotional connections. David Aaker created a model to underscore how these qualities come together to shape a brand's overall value.
14. Unified Retail Experience Across Channels Boosts Loyalty: Harvard Business Review reported that 73% of consumers use multiple channels during their shopping journey. Integrating offline and online sales channels in look and feel to provide a seamless customer experience can foster loyalty and increase sales.
15. Competitive Pricing: Regularly assessing and adjusting product or service prices based on competitor benchmarks ensures businesses remain favorable within the market. According to McKinsey, competitive pricing strategies can significantly influence customer preferences and purchasing behaviors, especially in saturated markets, increasing purchases by 2 to 7%.
16. Dynamic Pricing: The rise of digital platforms has given businesses the capability to adjust prices in real-time based on various factors such as demand, supply, and competitor actions. A Harvard Business Review article emphasized how companies, especially in the e-commerce and travel sectors, leverage dynamic pricing for maximizing profits and staying agile in fluctuating markets.
17. Price Promotions: Discounts, coupons, and other special offers have always been potent tools for attracting and retaining customers. Promotional strategies can be a driving force behind both immediate sales spikes and sustained brand loyalty, especially when combined with effective digital marketing techniques.
Supply Chain & Logistics Optimization
18. Inventory Management: The use of advanced systems and software solutions in inventory management helps businesses maintain the right stock levels and significantly reduces the risk of stockouts or overstocking. Cloud-based apps like BoxHero, can produce a sharp reduction in lead times and help you accurately gauge reorder points for each product.
19. Efficient Fulfillment: In an age where consumers have come to expect rapid delivery, streamlining order processing, packaging, and shipping processes is crucial. According to Deloitte, companies that prioritize efficient fulfillment not only meet delivery expectations but also experience a notable reduction in operational costs and errors.
20. Returns Management: An effective returns process not only plays a pivotal role in building trust but also significantly impacts customer satisfaction and loyalty. A report from the National Retail Federation indicated that almost 73% of consumers stated that their overall returns experience influenced their likelihood of shopping with a retailer again. According to Readycloud, 92% of consumers who had a good returns experience said they would buy again while 84% who had a bad experience said that they wouldn’t return.
Legal & Ethical Compliance
21. Platform fraud is on the rise. 52% of corporate respondents surveyed by PwC say that they have encountered fraud on commerce platforms, the highest level in more than two decades. Make sure that your platform is not being exploited by bad actors, and familiarize yourself with common scams to avoid being a victim yourself.
22. Ethical business practices and ESG: Ethisphere's World's Most Ethical Companies have historically outperformed others in the stock market, showing that ethical practices lead to trust and better financial performance. While there is a healthy skepticism about trendy Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) ratings, these indices are increasingly used to rank businesses.
23. Data Protection: GDPR non-compliance fines can go up to €20 million or 4% of a company's global annual turnover, whichever is higher. It’s a pain, but better to comply now with EU dictates or pay later.
Key Takeaways for Q4 2023
We hope this list of tips, tricks, and best practices provides you with prods and prompts to up your e-commerce game. Remember to incorporate new strategies while keeping a keen eye on the future, as the e-commerce landscape continues to evolve at a break-neck pace, driven by AI and other tech innovations. Always be prepared to adapt and stay ahead of the curve to ensure your business not only survives but flourishes. That’s applicable not just on the flashy front end of sales and marketing, but in the heart of your back-end logistical and warehouse operations.