Online E-Commerce! Before I give you all the Gyan, let me ask few questions. On an average how much time do you spend online, through what channel do you interact with your friends, what excites you the most, how active are you in the digital world? Let’s peek into some stats, Social Media Today clearly says that, the total time spend on social media alone outpace when compared to a cumulative time spent for socializing, grooming, eating, and drinking. The study also clearly says that on an average a teen spends around 9 hours a day on social platforms. Hope you got the point, and now you know where to find the right audience.
Millenials are smart, they are well aware of the need to have a holistic presence. Even before they establish an offline presence they crave to draw the digital attention. They ponder and strategize marketing efforts to persuade an audience to interact. Making sure they slowly convert into a profit machine. The digital era presents with diverse challenges, the high competition with Waverly customer allegiance is one among the few, the high channel hopping makes it much flinty to attract and retain customers.
Digital Entrepreneurship, Data Becomes the Strategic Decision Maker
Planning to compete in the digital world. Prior to the start, have a vision. Not the vision of shifting your status from millennial to that of a millionaire. The first step in being a digital entrepreneur is that you have a vision, a crystal plan of action, and acknowledging the fact that every step in the journey will add value to the end user. Technology has a gifted plethora of options, tools when integrated, and data when analyzed comprehend, churns immeasurable value to a business.
We dwell in a world, where technology has provided ubiquitous connectivity. If plotted, we all are part of some network. Every network we interact, grasps bits and pieces of us, creating a virtual avatar and synchronizing it with a label, a label when fired can give partial to full information about us. Intelligent systems are widely gaining its prominence in terms of disseminating and analyzing data to reach an inference. Matrix/ algorithms are created by great minds, to predict future, extrapolate on past and current data, providing near to precise outputs.
Trim Down to a Smaller Niche
As a business entity, it becomes obligatory to run a pilot test to identify and define the target market. Data collected through this activity helps gather crucial insights about the niche in totality. Gone are the days when a startup entrepreneur, manually collects data and mulls over to collate it with a view to reaching an arbitration.
When you start running a business and interacts with people, every activity will generate a huge amount of data. Data is an asset when a business starts to structure it and ponder over to find patterns and relations. Digital entrepreneurs should have a holistic approach towards data. When metadata helps you get descriptive analytics, the big data help plot an affinity category by grouping multiple assets. As an entrepreneur you need to have the required skill sets or resources to structure the data, giving it a purpose based on the context and relevance. When you correlate data from bits to textual chunks and textual chunks to strings of information, it helps identify the taste and preference of your target customers. Giving you a competitive advantage.
E-Commerce Stores are Easy to Create. But Hard to Sell.
Trust me on this. Head to Google search and trigger a search query, “Top E-Commerce Platform”. I am pretty sure you will be flummoxed with the callosal alternates presented. Every E-Commerce platform provider, endorsing itself as the top E-Comm store creator, offering huge discounts and multiple features at disposal. Most startup entrepreneurs make the mistake of leaping and converting to a paid customer, even before they try the alternatives or making use of the trial period. Never fall for it. Understand your need and make sure that the E-Commerce platform provider has the bandwidth to meet your requirement. For eg: If your business is targeted for an Indian audience, does the service provider has payment gateway/ shipping options enabled to meet your audience needs. Is the price reasonable? Additional to the platform, what extra features do they provide to help grow and expand your business.
When I say E-Commerce stores are easy to create, I am damn serious. Most platform providers have redefined the concept of owning a digital identity (online store). The customer-centric approach made it simple and easy for people to jump in and create E-commerce store of their own. In most cases, 30 sec and you own a digital store.
Working as part of a leading E-commerce platform provider, I had direct experience interacting with people who seriously want to create an E-Commerce store and still fail to take the initial step. Even though the brilliant strategy of owning an offline store and catering to a niche segment of loyal customers works, the propensity towards online could gradually break down these bonds, paving a way to a customer-centric digital platform. That’s the kind of impact digitization have on businesses. There is one striking finding I made, a good number of my loyal customers have a strong offline presence.
How to Sell with an E-Commerce Platform
Most crackheads fail to realize the fact, that an E-Commerce store is just a digital space where you can display your products. Unless and until you put the effort into creating a decent store, and initiates strategies to market your store, you are doomed to fail. Your store is your digital identity, it should reflect the entities personality. A poorly designed home page, randomly placing 50 different products tends to confuse the customers. Plan and build your store, so that it invigorates a sense of credence among visitors. Remember you only have 5 sec to convince a visitor. Be creative, but don’t be crazy, know where to draw the fine line.
Tell a story, and sell the story. Instead, most people I came across sells their “store” not the story. Hear me out, as a startup nobody is interested in your store, but they might be interested in the story you tell. Your store is just costing you if you are not marketing it meticulously. Over the decade, digital space has evolved into a complex marketplace where everyone fights to get the customer attention. Without marketing, your store is like an image stored in your mobile with the filename 00124687.jpg. Nobody sees it unless you go back and search for it. Even if you find it will be stacked under a pile of data, costing you immense time to dig in and find it, not adding any value to anyone. Promotion plays an important role in building your online brand.
Create an online marketing plan. Follow best practices suggested by experts, create an action plan for individual marketing channels. Be consistent in what you do, every activity you do should have a clearly defined objective. For eg: If you are planning to do SEO, know what you want to achieve. What pain point are you going to solve? How the article will help the end user, how your activity will motivate the visitor to land on your product page.
Trust in E-Commerce. Me VS Amazon
Trust is built over time and people buy from websites they trust. That being said, the biggest challenge for a startup will be to create trust in the niche segment they cater. Spending relatively shorter time as a digital marketer I had opportunities to work with a handful of startups. As a startup, the biggest concern my target audience had was the authenticity of the E-Commerce entity. Why should I trust the entity?
Going to the initial days when I started working with a client, the first thing I noticed was that, being a luxury provider they failed to reflect an opulence personality on their website. The templates were old, the images look blurry, the mobile version was a mess, so on it goes. The first question I asked myself was, If they cant reflect their value proposition on their website, how are they going to convince a customer to engage with the online store. Creating an E-Commerce store is easy, maintaining it and making sure that it’s better than your competitors, is a game changer.
Amazon, need to admit the fact that Jeff Bezos had a great vision and he executes it right. Amazing brand with great marketing strategies to capture and retain customers. In the initial stage, competing with Amazon was kind of tiresome. Slowly we started to gather pace, sales started to spurt. Then encountered another problem, the conversion through the website seems low, most purchases happen when via telephone. People are happy to buy when they interacted with the sales team and found that there is a dedicated team working to help them. Know that you too will be facing these problems, prepare yourself to meet these challenges.
Be Creative, the Rest is Mediocre. Emulate and you Fail
With “n” no: of online store selling the same products. It becomes a question of how you are going to differentiate yourself. Even something like your brand voice matters. If the majority of your target audience is teenagers, make sure your brand voice is refined to meet them. What can you do to make it stand out, think out of the box, create multiple tags that resonate your target customers, if need be a little quirky, your objective is to grab the audience attention. Videos are an amazing way to display your creativity. Create an animation slide that portrays the crux of your brand. Following the same old strategies will only result in mediocre results.
The practice of following an epoch is not going to yield. Change is an uncompromisable factor and the world have changed a lot. Following genuine practices are good, but emulating someone’s idea is not worth an effort. The best are the ones who are brave enough to bring novelty to the market.
Engage and interact, your presence is felt. Broadcast & you piss people off
Social networking comes with enormous possibilities, as an entrepreneur you need to get active on platforms where your target customers interact and engage. Try to position yourself as a thought leader, help solve their pain points. People are awesome when they are ready to extend a helping hand, be there for your customers. Once your presence is felt in a constructive way, slowly you could see how your brand value is building up. The second you see social media as a broadcast media that’s where exactly your social strategies crumble. Don’t Believe! Try to engage with multiple social groups.
Never wait for the right moment, there is no such thing as the right moment, if there exists, “Now” is the right moment. Don’t waste your time dreaming about success. Start small, Improvise, Do it – learn it and Excel. Why second thoughts, find the right E-Commerce platform provider and create your online store. Strong determination and consistency will help attract immeasurable value to your business.