What you need to know about eCommerce today.
Mobile is the Future (Near Future)
Mobile communications and mobile technologies are the biggest growth areas on the web. Imagine having your store in someone's pocket; that's what mobile commerce can do for you. It is estimated that by 2014, mobile consumption of the web will outpace laptops and desktop computers. Today, smart phones are only used for telephony about 30% of the time! The rest of the time people are tweeting, texting and browsing the web. Mobile is personal, convenient and efficient for consumers.
Mobile is being integrated in all facets of online commerce, including but not limited to: customer reviews, text messages, promotions, consumer research, payment processing and of course buying. An amazing statistic: Over 3/4 of smart phone owners have used their phone to research a product while shopping in a retail bricks and mortar store! As a merchant, are you prepared to take advantage of this?
Doug Mack, CEO of One Kings Lane says, "Whatever you are doing in mobile today, it's not enough."
Bottom line is that if you are not in mobile today, you are already behind.
Customer IntimacyWith an explosion of channel partners and comparison shopping engines, more and more companies have felt the need to compete primarily on price. This is a sure fire way to continually lose profit margins and go out of business. Instead focus on the soul of your website and engage customers in ways your competition is not. Personal, one to one attention and customer service will drive brand loyalty and long term business. If you are new to eCommerce or have limited budget, this sweat equity approach can pay huge dividends.
Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of WineLibrary.com, best selling author and consultant says "Treat your customers like your parents treated you as a child."Provide unsolicited support, service and expert knowledge and your customers will reward you for it.
Tips to create incredible brand loyalty and drive sales
- Engage with customers 1to1. Call them, email them, tweet with them and write thank you letters. Get creative and outsmart your competition!
- Provide expert knowledge and personal product reviews on your site. You probably know more about the products you are selling than anyone else.
- Send recommendations to customers on a personal level about the product. Tell them about unique uses, complimentary products, custom installation instructions... Get creative.
- Say thank you and ask how you can be better. You will build customer loyalty and learn about your business and your competitors.
- Stop selling. Start engaging. Pushy people and pushy marketing turns people off. Start helping and others will help you back.
Metrics and Analysis
Sebastian Gunningham, Senior Vice President, Seller Services, Amazon.com says, "If it can be measured it should be."
Almost every aspect of your online commerce business can be analyzed and assigned a metrics based approach to helping you do business better. Whether it is SEO, conversion rates, average order value, shopping cart abandonment or some other quantitative value, base-lining and measurement can help you grow faster, smarter and more efficiently.
When considering all of the ways to grow your online business, social communications is the one component that threads through all of the others. Social is big and it's here to stay. I'm going to go out on a limb here, but if I had to focus resources on mobile technology or social communications, I'd go with social. Reason being is that while mobile is growing rapidly, there is still a relatively large investment in technology and a strong social strategy can be implemented cost effectively. Social communications flows through all aspects of the buying and selling process.
What can you do to strengthen your social media strategy?
- Immediately go out and register your business in the major social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, and YouTube.
- Use the Twitter search feature to find conversations about your product or services and interject yourself into the conversation. Just don't be a pushy salesperson.
- Turn on ratings and reviews on your website and monitor.
- Allow for negative reviews.
- Track your baseline metrics and work to grow upon them.
- Get creative in how you communicate and what you communicate. Pay attention not to sell or be pushy.
- Educate, inform and as Hubspot says, make your content "Remarkable".