The beginning of 2020 will be remembered forever, as a time of rapid and dramatic shift in the way we do business, sell, and purchase products and services. Now, it’s the right time for eCommerce companies. The COVID-19 crisis has significantly accelerated the development of digital solutions, tools, and services, thus speeding up the global transition towards digitization. In such scenery, eCommerce is your obvious choice. However, this begs the question–what can you do to build a crisis-proof eCommerce business?
The fact that COVID fuels eCommerce is out of the question. As Forbes reports, there's been a 129% year-over-year growth in US & Canadian eCommerce orders as of April 21 and an amazing 146% growth in all online retail orders.
When you look at the map provided by Emarsys, you can see eCommerce revenue growth all over the world, with just a few exceptions (i.a. Poland, Brazil, Ukraine, Spain, and China).
Map generated on June 4th, 2020
Does it mean that eCommerce is currently a money-maker and all you have to do is to start a new eCommerce business and you’re good to go? Unfortunately not. Although eCommerce is flourishing right now, you still need to put a lot of effort in order to succeed in this competitive market.
So, what should you do to build a crisis-proof, successful eCommerce company? If you want your store to thrive on the market and endure various critical situations, you should take care of three vital elements:
- Smart marketing strategy
- Supply chain diversification
- Efficient logistics service
Each of these elements is crucial! Why? You’re about to find out!
1. Smart marketing strategy
Although it may sound like a cliche, today, there is no sale without effective marketing. The good news is that the internet offers a lot of resources and types of ads that are specifically tailored to the needs of the eCommerce companies. However, before you deal with the promotion of your store, you should take care of the basics, and that’s Customer Journey analysis and adapting your store to the requirements and needs of the modern consumer.
Know Customer Journey of your customers
Customer Journey is a term that describes the way that your customers have to go to place an order in your store. Customer Journey begins in various places–social media, Google, price comparison websites. Each of these channels should be properly taken care of. That’s why you should start analyzing your customers and their behavior as quickly as possible. This will give you a priceless insight into your target audience, which will help you serve customers better and improve your offer.
Today, consumers pay a lot of attention to high-quality service. If you want to keep your customers by your side, you have to go one step further and amaze them with the service you provide. According to Gladly’s 2019 Customers Expectations Report:
As you can see, you can’t afford any mistakes. How can you enhance your customer service?
The report cited above states that 75% of surveyed customers are more likely to purchase if a store provides personalized recommendations. Today, it’s one of your must-haves. Product recommendations should be tailored to the given client, which means that they ought to be based on their previous activity and purchases.
Your customers should feel welcome from the very first moment. When they enter your website, welcome them using their first name. When you’re writing an e-mail, start with “Hello [first name]”, not “Dear Sir/Madam”. Communicate with the not-too-official language. Remember, still almost 70% of customers feel they’re treated like a ticket, not a person. Don’t let them feel that way in your store!
The customers can’t forget about you. Constantly remind them about your offer, but don’t be too pushy. No one likes high-pressure salesmen! The non-aggressive ways of reminding about your store are:
- Interesting blog posts
- Social media activity
- Discounts and special offers
Take care of CX in your store
CX stands for Customer Experience, and it comprises the comprehensive impression your store makes. CX is based on:
- Customer service, claim and complaint policy, return policy, and shipping
Naturally, someone might say that there are tens of stores that don’t pay too much attention to this question. And that’s true. However, such an approach effectively blocks their growth. You can invest thousands of dollars in ads, but if your store doesn’t work properly, you neglect unsatisfied customers, and your offer is poor–it’s all in vain.
Now, what can you do to improve your CX?
- Successful eCommerce companies ship their orders within 48h and less. If you’re struggling with shipping, perhaps it’s a good moment to think about outsourcing? Omnipack offers order fulfillment services that take all the logistics processes off your head.
- Make your store as easy to use as possible. Let nothing impede the purchasing process. Take care of the legible menu, product categories, and search engine. Provide your customers with all the data and advice they need (reviews, thorough product descriptions, helpful blog posts).
- Did you know that in September 2020 Google starts its new searching algorithm called Mobile-First Indexing? This means that Google bots will index the mobile version of your store, not the desktop one. And given that more and more web activity happens via mobile devices (in the recent study, over 60% Poles indicated that they purchase products via smartphones), your site has to be mobile-friendly.
Performance marketing and multichannel
You have to reach new customers every week if you want to grow your eCommerce business. If you want to scale your business, performance marketing is your best bet. This strategy is strictly calculated to increase sales and attract new customers. Two channels play the key role in performance marketing. Combined, they give you access to the vast majority of network users. These channels are Facebook (primarily through FB Ads) and Google (primarily through Google Ads and Google PLA).
Facebook gives you access to 2.6 billion active users globally. If you run an eCommerce business, you should consider using Facebook’s carousel ads and dynamic ads. Both of these formats allow you to present your offer. With carousel ads, you can show the entire groups of products in one ad. And dynamic ads allow you to present different formats of the same ad, based on what customers are most likely to respond to.
Google Ads & PLA
Google Ads are the most popular form of promotion in the biggest search engine. It allows you to present ads according to what each user searches in Google. But what you should be interested in even more, is Google PLA. PLA stands for Product Listing Ad. They are used by eCommerce brands to display products and acquire potential customers through the search engine (on computers and mobile devices alike). Google PLA ads are displayed in the Google SERP (Search Engine Result Page) along with the product:
- Store name
- Link to your website
When it comes to performance marketing, there are various settlement models. All of them, however, have one thing in common - you pay for the result. The most popular models are as follows:
- CPS (Cost Per Sale) – you pay every time someone places an order
- CPC (Cost Per Click)–You pay every time users clicks your ad
- CPM (Cost Per Mille)–You pay for every thousand impressions of your ad
- CPA (Cost Per Action)–You pay every time user takes another action, for instance, signups for the newsletter
This concept is very simple, yet very effective. Simply put, you should use different online promotion channels. Even if you have been only using Google Ads so far, and you think it works great, it's worth thinking about implementing more channels and forms of reaching customers into your strategy.
First of all, you ought to think about social media (aforementioned FB Ads), but think also about:
- The price comparison websites (Ceneo, Nokaut, Skąpiec, Okazje.info)
- Marketplaces (Allegro, OLX, Amazon, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, there are also many marketplace operating only in a specific niche)
2. Supply chain diversification
You can't (at least you shouldn't), rely on just one supplier. This is a recipe for the disaster, because when it turns out that your supplier has problems with cash flow or is short of goods–your store automatically stops making money. Many companies had to shut down altogether because they used the services of just one supplier.
You should make sure that there are at least a few companies that deliver wares to your store. Here’s what you should do:
- Conduct regular market research. Read trade media, attend fairs and other business meetings, send inquiries to wholesalers.
- Look for suppliers abroad. When you manage to build a store that cooperates with wholesalers from around the world, the chances that all of them will be in dire straits at the same time are minimal.
- Expand the offer. If your store operates in a very narrow niche and finding a second supplier is challenging, consider expanding your offer. This will allow you to reach new customers, but also to become independent of your current supplier. For instance, if you operate in the health and safety industry, consider extending your offer with fire-fighting equipment.
3. It’s time to outsource your logistics!
This is the last element you should consider. You may be wondering, "What for? I can handle this myself!" And that's probably true! But as your business grows, you face more and more challenges, and logistics will become more and more time-consuming task. If you’re shipping at least several hundred parcels a month, it’s definitely time to think about order fulfillment.
It’s a service based on outsourcing of all the logistics processes in your store:
- Storing products
- Packing and managing orders
- Shipping and complaints
This is exactly what we do at Omnipack. You cooperate with our order fulfillment center and we are responsible for dealing with orders on your behalf. The products are sent to the customers directly from our logistics center, where inventory is packed, labeled, and shipped.
This solution allows you to:
- Change fixed costs into variable costs: You only pay for the used storage space and the number of parcels sent–when you sell less, the costs also decrease.
- Focus on business development: You leave the logistics operations to us, and you can fully concentrate on sales, marketing, and customer service.
- Achieve unlimited scalability: When you grow, we grow with you–both in Poland and abroad!
- Expand sales to the foreign markets: Our infrastructure and contracts with local courier companies make the trouble-free international expansion accessible.
- Keep full control over your logistics: We will give you fresh insight into our operations–you can see exactly how many wares are currently in stock, and you also have full control over returns and payments on delivery.
If you’d like to find out more about this solution–go to the contact section and drop us a line! Our experts are always happy to show you how order fulfillment can enhance your eCommerce business. See you soon!