While many businesses around the world felt the massive impact of COVID-19, one area that particularly thrived was eCommerce business. Already focused on delivering products and services at doorsteps, the limited movement of people due to the virus meant that online businesses boomed, with global sales rising to $26.7 trillion last year – 19% of all retail sales.
The trend seems to be taking a permanent shape with an 18.3% CAGR. This means that in the next few years, the competition in the eCommerce industry will become intense as more and more firms, startups and small businesses will compete for the same space. The growth and increased competition is something to closely look at. The online nature forgoes the traditional brick and mortar existence, giving small setups to compete with larger ones even at a global scale.
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One such person is Can Mandir, who had quickly understood the importance of eCommerce roughly 4 years back and was able to quickly build a small yet extremely successful dropshipping empire. Mandir is very vocal of the importance eCommerce has gained in our lives, the need fueled especially due to the coronavirus,
“The sector has received a huge boost from the current crisis. Sales have increased enormously with more and more people shopping online. The upcoming future is all about online sales. It is especially true about 2020, as it was the most decisive year. The next decades will mark an enormously high sales volume for everyone involved in e-commerce.”
How to Compete And Improve Your eCommerce Business
With cutthroat competition, eCommerce is more than just delivering products and services to customers to be successful. Certain areas tend to be ignored or given a lower priority and the push is on sales volume.
Always do your homework
eCommerce or drop shipping is not just about using couriers to send products to demanding customers. Knowing your target market, location, couriers to select, balancing delivery times, expectations, new products etc, is extremely important.
Flatten your order processing
The more steps you add, the more time you waste. Looking into powerful order forms, for example, can help you automatically place confirmed orders to your shipping partners in advance. They will know how many packages they have to pick up, saving you time on coordinating. If you are doing dropshipping, you can simply auto-forward the confirmed orders to the stock managing company and they can prep the package and ship it out without you even being involved.
Technology is your friend
Invest in different tools of the trade. Using advanced analytical software can help you determine which products are the best selling, broken down by location, time of the year etc. This can help you predict demand in advance and prepare for it. Use automation as much as possible as it reduces time and effort.
Treat people working under you not as employees, but as partners.
Ecommerce setups require very little manpower and each person’s importance is amplified. A strong and understanding manager can make all the difference. Listen to your employees, understand that they are humans and undergo stresses and other ups and downs just like you. Build trust and confidence. If someone makes a mistake, try not to blame the one making the mistake. You will only be attempting to cater to a surface symptom, not the root cause.
While you are looking at the back end of your e-commerce business, don’t forget to keep an eye out on the front end, the part which interacts with your customers, namely your website and app.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and look at your website or app.
Is it easy to navigate through and find the item you want? Your opinion will always be biased since you will have knowledge of your platform. I would be prudent to ask someone, a family or friend who have not interacted with your business before and ask them to navigate to a page or a product/service that you pick out randomly. While on it, ask them if they are comfortable with the layout and look.
Ask them to place an order and see if they can check out items from their cart with ease and are satisfied with the different securities involved. Don’t forget to advertise the different securities you use. This can help earn the trust of visitors and lead to an increase in sales.
Talking about sales, it is always good to have reviews that can attract customers.
The rise of social media has given an unprecedented awareness to people as they can quickly go online and check different videos or articles on the items or services your give. Using services like Trustpilot to ask for feedback can be a very organic way of creating original customer reviews which you can showcase to tell potential clients how good you are. Combine it with reviews directly within your website or app by asking people to submit reviews and you can have others read up on it directly and influence their decisions.
Do a quick research and see if data loading is slow.
It can point to a number of issues such as heavy images/graphics, slow bandwidth or server speeds etc. ask your hosting service to know exactly where is the server physically. See if there is an option to upgrade hosting from a standard hard disk to an SSD which can considerably increase speed.
In the end, it is you who can make all the difference. People can be hired, technologies used and efficiencies increased, but you cannot replace experience, afford to use the wrong tools or spend time experimenting to find the best formula for success. A little effort from you can go a long way in expanding your eCommerce business.