Marketing and luck alone are not enough to make a store a success. Online retailers are the best at selling high-quality products at affordable prices, delivering quickly and rewarding customers for making the right choice. It takes a lot to do this in areas that most people don’t notice.
1. Suppliers and supply chain management for Marketing
In a highly competitive marketplace, you are or intend to become a retailer. It takes a lot of effort to create a great idea and drive traffic to your site. However, you need the right products to sell the right products at the right price to the market.
When ecommerce wasn’t around, suppliers were a huge part of the economy. Even more now. Suppliers can not only provide the merchandise you need, but can also help to take the stock burden off of your shoulders. Amazon, for instance, depends heavily on its marketplace partners for increasing the number of listed products without having to buy stocks.
2. Warehouse Marketing operations
Electronic communication and product display are key to brick-and-mortar retailers. It must come from somewhere when a product has been purchased. Once you have made the deal with your suppliers, it’s time to head to the Warehouse. This magical place allows online retailers to pick up products off the shelf, package them neatly, and prepare the products for delivery.
It sounds simple, right? It isn’t. A good store has its own warehouse and thousands of products. It employs at most a few dozen people to pick up and pack the products and prepare them for delivery. Many large companies outsource fulfillment to third party logistics or Fulfillment by Amazon. This allows them to focus on what they do best: usually purchase the best merchandise and service customers.
3. Shipping and returns
As mentioned, your merchandise can be displayed online and promoted but must be packed and delivered to its destination in the real-world. You need to have a great warehouse management system and a great shipping service.
Shipping is often outsourced. If you don’t have the cash to compete with FedEx or DHL, the best thing is to hire a shipping provider and negotiate a fair shipping price. This is a cost you’ll be paying in the future.
These shipping companies will integrate with yours once you have contracted them, allowing you to streamline packaging and delivery.
Customers may not love what they bought every once in a while. Customers will be able to return the items and get a refund. You can work with the shipping company, but the responsibility for all communication rests with your store.
4. Client Relationship Management (CRM) – software and policies
Before you even consider selling, you should think about how you will treat your customer to keep them coming back. CRM is where it all comes in. Although CRM is often used to refer to a particular type of software, it actually describes the entire policy that you will use to manage interactions between your customer and you.
CRM must be customer-centric. These are big words, but what does it mean? This simply means that all you do must be done “for customers, by retailers”. To recommend the best products, you need to know the customer’s buying habits. When it comes to understanding your customers, you need to keep track of their purchases, interests, preferred channels, and all other relevant information.
Next, take action – once you have analyzed the marketing data, ensure that customer care, warehouse operations and shipping providers, as well as your purchase operations, are aware of who and what the customer wants.
5. Ecommerce catalogue and product display
Your online store catalog is the one you most likely expected. This one is crucial, of course. Without it, we’d be back to mailing orders and reinventing the wheel. As you have probably seen, it is only a part of the ecommerce store.
There are some important things to consider when it comes down to it:
Don’t make your store too cluttered. Your products are what really matter. Let them shine.
Analyze and Predict: Predictive analytics is the art of analyzing users’ behavior and predicting their preferences. Learn more.
Search, search, and let’s just not forget about search: Most of your customers will use a search engine (1) to find your store. Optimize your store. If they are unsure, they will search for products (2). Make sure your site search works. Finally, once their order has been shipped, they will search for the location (3). Show them.
6. Marketing and loyalty programs
These days, loyalty is difficult to find. This is especially true when it comes to online commerce. Users will search for the lowest price and purchase from anyone they choose. You can combat this trend by creating loyalty programs like:
- Rewarding purchases Reward your customers with points that they can use in your store. This is a great way to keep your customers connected to your brand and make them feel good about it.
- Social shopping Make your customer feel like royalty by offering discounts and freebies for his friends and peers
- Social media rewards Online users are most likely to have some influence within their micro-community of friends. Encourage them to share your story and offer discounts. Sometimes, “Thank You” is enough.
Marketing at large is becoming more complex. There are many marketing options that you can use to market your products or store, but not all of them are the same. Some are not as efficient as others. Concentrate on:
- Paid search results and search engine optimization
- Email marketing
- Social media
Although they may not seem like much, the “incredible 4 of ecommerce”, when combined, can make the difference between a failed startup or the next Amazon.
7. Showroom and offline purchases
You thought brick and mortar were gone? It is not. Although online retail still represents 7% of total retail, it is growing rapidly. Showrooming is one of the key factors that has helped it grow. This is when you can check out a product in person and then buy it online (mostly cheaper).
Ecommerce is not online-vs.-offline. Consider the customer. Before he buys, the customer needs to feel it. You will need to demonstrate it to the customer. Your online store can benefit from even a small showroom.
Now you know that online shopping is an enormous iceberg. It’s almost all unseen. You’ll be successful in ecommerce if you look where others don’t.