Key Insights for New E-commerce Businesses - Improve your Customer Engagement and Generate Traffic

It has taken years for Shopify to grow to its current level, and now is the dawn of fair competition in e-commerce. Shopify is more principled than most people would think, it is in many respects a driver for social equality. It has made e-commerce more affordable, more accessible and more competitive than ever before. It is become a serious contender in the industry for its ability to give newly found businesses access to the global market with its comprehensive platform.

E-commerce: A Solution for Businesses and Consumers

The Internet is with out any doubt the premier method used by businesses to connect to their clientele and market their product.

As the industry matures and people grow more accustomed to online shopping, society is in turn becoming more accepting of the risks involved in financial transactions over the internet. This is an important step for the industry as it normalizes online retail and allows for the benefits to shine through, in an environment that was once polarized.

From the business side of things, it gives you the ability to scale your business with low overhead costs, while also giving you an unprecedented scalability with access to the global market. In any case, online marketing is the modern standard for any growing business. An online presence is often considered to be an excellent investment as it drives substantial traffic to your business and can be a major portion of your revenue. In fact, there are many brands out there that rely heavily on their online presence.

This is new mode of trade is quickly becoming a new norm for people to share their hard work and dedication. Many who have tapped in to this new online market for its earning potential will agree just how valuable of an asset a website is. Just like any other venture, all business has a degree of persistent risk that must be addressed in order to succeed.  Understanding the weaknesses of this business model is how we create value and correct these risks for good.

Every New Online Store Faces the Same Challenges

If you are reading this, then you are more then likely set on opening your first website. Your online store at first launch has the same characteristics as any other store. The average store faces limitations in functionality in its base model characteristics. This is an important observation because it will helps us understand the core issues surrounding e-commerce. We need to know how we can actively seek and permanently resolve these problems systematically. The concept of the standard model poses the situation in equal terms whereas all stores face the same issues. This means that our store is without any integrations, apps or special functions. This observation helps us to compare in common terms and then to diversify our business from our many competitors.

We use diversification to describe how unique our product is but in our context we use it to describe technical features, and not branding or the product itself. This article will compare the standard model to draw technical contrast against competitors. Consider the idea of how we can turn our basic store into a sophisticated selling machine, and base your site on that one idea.

People tend to use successful stores as an example for success, but there is a valuable lesson in the stores that are no longer around. The initial stage of any online business is especially critical because that's when many managers are facing the most hardship. How do we diversify our store enough to sufficiently reduce the abundant unsystematic risk in the market?

At the most basic level, we need to ensure that we have:

  1. Clarity of Information
  2. Clear Site Structure and Organization
  3. Search-ability through Search Engines
  4. Speed and Performance of the Site
  5. Integrations for Increased Functionality

Communication as a Primary Business Risk in E-commerce

Businesses have come and gone over the years without as much as a peep and main reason has to do with our method of communication. When dealing over the internet we are faced with particular problem that is best categorized as communicative, or having to do with communication. Its important to bear in mind, that there is a fine line between clients reaching your store and total obscurity. Something that is primarily dictated by search engines, data suggests that just over 50% of all online traffic is generated through search engines. The battle is typically won or lost on the first page of popular search engines. Our success is contingent on SEO results but one shouldn't go as far as to "stuff" your page with key words. It should be a balancing act with a focus on accuracy of information, with the end goal of conversion.

Remember that every website starts as a blank page, and every little aspect has an impression on your clientele. Remember this previous statement when we say "communication", because our website is our focal point of communication where as even a color or font can impact our clients impression of us. When we draw our clients into a physical store we are able to utilize our experience and knowledge of the product in order to influence the customers decisions. When dealing over the Internet, our communication is limited to our messaging, this disconnect only worsens when money is involved. The anonymity associated with our business and the presence of financial risk has caused the death of countless businesses. Actively searching for ways to improve our user experience and trust factor is very important. One does not kindly request to be trusted, but rather demonstrates trustworthiness through practice.

The intention of this article is not to give you a gloom perspective on the industry, it is intended to give you a cold hard glimpse as to what it takes to stand out in the crowd. Communication and trust are the sustenance of any business and understanding this is fundamental to success. The future is bright for e-commerce and taking advantage of its potential is key as we have stated earlier. 2021 Figures suggest that E-commerce generated nearly 4 trillion USD in sales with expectations that it will further expand by 50% in the next 4 years.

A Major Hurdle for All Stores – Generating the Very First Visitor to your Shopify Store – Search Engine Optimization

There is no more satisfying feeling then punching your stores name into Google and finding the intended result. Search engine optimization is an important part of any online business. The main point here is to ensure that when people are searching for related topics and products that they are finding our store. Having a clear message will make it easier for your intended demo to find your store. The engine is smart enough to understand what you are trying to say but there are limitations which are generally caused by poor SEO practices.

SEO Inforgraphic

The “silence” is also a very plain way of realizing that our current strategy is underperforming and in need of serious revision. Organic traffic and consumer interaction with your store rely too heavily on pricing and the uniqueness of your product. Connectivity is the bloodline of e-commerce so it is the only natural that we barter for connections.

Rationalizing the Concept of Market Saturation

A particularly complicated element of e-commerce is saturation or otherwise the availability of substitutes in the competitive environment. There are a growing amount of stores available online, Shopify alone has north of 1.7 million stores. The market has an abundance of substitutes and this is has been tokened as being market saturation. If we are faint of heart, then this element of saturation may seem like we are in a losing battle. We all have heard this statement on mainstream social media but this news is intended to discourage and does not depict the industries potential accurately. This issue has less to do with “saturation” and more to do with competition, which is an objectively more accurate description. How we interpret this information important, after all there is no prejudice in business.

Although it may seem like this saturation is a negative market condition, this reality seems to be changing. The abundance of alternatives and substitute products creates an element of perfect competition which places greater focus on market forces and less on the product and its brand power. This takes the emphasis away from subjective factors and places them on the availability of supply and the products sustainable qualities. Contemporary manufacturing techniques create increasingly similar products whose underlined macro-economic objective is to simply fulfill mass demand. Our best assurance against market risk is through innovation and sustainable practice which yield higher quality goods and technical product differentiation.

Using the Marketing Funnel to Target Specific Demographics

The Marketing Funnel is a marketing diagram used to organize our objectives, allowing us to categorically target our customer base according to their current position in the purchasing process. As an excellent way to conceptualize your long-term goals, is to be customer centric and following the customer journey through the funnel. Specifically thinking about how you can help set strong objectives per section of the funnel.

It begins with initial exposure of your store to the client and follows the psyche of the consumer through their decision making until purchase or loyalty. It is common that the proportion of customers that move lower down the funnel begins to diminish naturally. The main objective of the marketing funnel is to maximize total customer value over time. There are three main stages in the process; before purchase, during purchase and after purchase. Actively focusing on this process is becoming increasingly relevant in modern business, most notably in the sphere of online marketing. As we bargain for attention in e-commerce we try to make the most out of your investment, strong retention strategies tend to maximize the life time value of stores and provide a stronger customer experience. If done correctly then these steps can lead towards a fast scaling and efficient stores.

1.     Lead Generation

     a. Search Engine Optimization
     b. Paid Advertisement
     c. Affiliate Marketing
    d. Influencer Marketing

2.     Lead Conversion

     a. Maximizing your UI and UX; Page Gem, Page Fly, etc.
     b. Social Proofing, with reviews like Growave.io
     c. Maximizing speed and efficiency of your store
     d. Branding and Site Structure
     e. Content and Blogging

3.     After Conversion

     a. Email, SMS automation
     b. Loyalty programs, sales promotions and re-engagement
     c. Integrations for Data Base Management
     d. Delivery Speeds
     e. Return Policy
     f. Packaging and Product Quality

Paid Advertisement and Understanding the True Value of a Loyal Customer

There is a clear battle for the first page of Google's search engine results. If you have a strong product and a well built store then it is advisable to use the second most prominent source of traffic for any online stores right after organic traffic, paid adverts at around 40% of all traffic sources. When in the beginning stages of our business, paid adverts can be an excellent way of generating those early leads. They can give major leg up on your competition, putting you straight in their direct feed. You should know, that the major advertisers such as Facebook or Google cannot guarantee that after advertising expense are incurred that visitors will ever materialize into sales. In general conversion rates are <3% as an industry standard and because of this we must pay extra attention to our secondary marketing efforts.

There is a common saying in Digital Marketing, which goes, finding new leads is incredibly expensive and communicating with existing clients is cheap. When dealing with potential customers over the internet we incur an extra degree of difficulty because of the small conversion rates found through out the industry. We should have an active strategy to motivate repeat purchases. Why worsen your store performance by neglecting to interact and retain these important customers? Consumer engagement should be part of the overall strategy. This is where Growave falls into the mix, with its all-in-one marketing platform specially made to manage the diffusion between clients and store owners. Making the most out of your advertising budget means that we are deriving the maximum total benefit from each individual shopper.

How do we implement strategy and manage our store with limited control?

What may seem like a minor problem, could become our defining weakness. All store managers must have the ability to reach-out to their clientele, to promote their product, to demonstrate authenticity and support the customer decision. Without a means of exercising strategy we are essentially maneuvering without a joystick. Strategic tools are key components to overcoming the many problems inherent in e-commerce. There is an entire booming sub-market for apps and integrations that add value to your online store and give you that all important element of control. Information is another important element that helps us understand consumer sentiment and build our market strategy. The Shopify app-store has an extensive selection of apps that can fulfill your specific needs.  

A Successful Marketing Integration will:

1.    Increase Total Sales Units
2.    Average Order Value
3.    Increase traffic through; referrals, gift cards, social media, UGC.
4.    Higher rates of conversion, through incentive based marketing
5.    Generate reviews and social trust
6.    Generate a manageable customer data base for re-engagement
7.    Automatically provide follow ups with email notifications and re-engagement campaigns

Realistically we can only anticipate a finite amount of visitors over the life time of a store, we need to treat these visitors as a scarce resource and attempt to maximize their total value. Realizing your stores life time value is important way of weighing the pros and cons of your decisions. Focusing on customer loyalty and building a customer database are fundamental to a campaigns success. You should be able to make the process of user interaction as advantageous as possible, which includes sales promotion and contact details.   

Understanding the Financial Effects of Marketing Integrations for Shopify Stores - Loyalty Programs

Growave is an All-in-One Marketing platform that is built around Shopify which maximizes customer value. Our platform is designed to give you an affordable way to market your store and achieve the full potential of your store. Save yourself the time needed to install and manage 5 different apps, with Growave an inexpensive and highly rated alternative.

If you were to have fixed number of 100,000 visitors over a period of time, and an example purchase rate of 5%. Strategic marketing tools can increase the number of unique visitors to your store and improve your conversion rates, potentially raising this figure. If Growave successfully increases your conversion by as little as 1% that could result in as much as 20% growth in revenue. No one can guarantee a specific figure, but we can break down our services so that you can observe how much of a difference is possible. On average our clients see an instant increase in store performance, stemming from our marketing platform. The main take away from this example is that during the life span of your store only a finite amount of visitors are possible. Making the most out of this visitor count is a world of a difference, accumulating the maximum value for each customer encounter should be your primary goal. Imagine increasing repeat customers by 20% with a loyalty program or re-engagement email reminders that can produce 10% growth in orders. Even a $5 increase in Average Order Value can have a substantial impact on a business, especially in growth stages. These are only a few out of many features that a marketing platform can offer you, and in the long-term they can be a leg up on your competitors. The early stages of any business really heavily on cost effective tools that can bring in cashflow, and Growave is that perfect tool for you.

In Conclusion

We must also be able to interact, communicate and incentivize our shoppers into engaging with our store. We can only reach a select group of people with our marketing efforts and so we must make the most out of our limited window. The right customer engagement strategy and the right tools can expand your reach and amplify your reach. With a plethora of new options available and substitutes galore, retention and customer engagement are vital for the growth of any business. For many online businesses, customer engagement can be the difference between survival and redundancy. E-commerce shows no sign of slowing down and it is becoming more and more apparent that the future is online. Having the best strategy is the way to succeed in the competitive environment.