In 2018, Cyber Monday online sales hit a new record… and, for the first time ever, surpassed Black Friday sales. Fast forward a year and U.S. shoppers broke another eCommerce record by racking up $9.4 billion in online sales. And, yet again, Cyber Monday beat out Black Friday. At its peak, consumers spent $12 million per minute!
The last year has proven unequivocally that eCommerce is well on its way to being the king of shopping. So, what does that mean for your business? You better be prepared.
The Rise of Online Sales
eCommerce has been growing steadily over the last two decades. 2019 saw worldwide revenue coming in over $3.5 trillion. And by 2040, some predict that 95% of purchases will be facilitated by eCommerce. With those kinds of your numbers, in order to be successful, your business needs to be ready for the eCommerce wave.
You may be thinking, “But I’m a brick and mortar store. Why does eCommerce matter to me?”
It matters because 87% of all shoppers begin product searches on digital channels and 88% of consumers who do a local search on their phone then visit or call a store within a day. The shopping experience starts online. And if you don’t have a strong online presence or aren’t selling online, you’re falling behind your competitors.
Follow these 5 steps to get your business more into the eCommerce game.
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1. Decide Where You Fit
Selling online isn’t one size fits all, and eCommerce can take several forms. Your first step is determining where your business fits. Do you want to build an entire eCommerce store or simply complement in-store sales with eCommerce?
Here are common directions you can take:
- E-tailer – A retailer who has an eCommerce presence.
- E-commerce Company – A business that sells through the internet. Pure play eCommerce companies only sell online — not in store.
- Marketplace Seller – A company that sells on marketplaces like Amazon or eBay.
- A Limited Seller – A business or individual that uses a shopping cart for limited products/services but doesn’t qualify to be an eCommerce company. For example, a public speaker may sell their eBook on their website, but that doesn’t make them an eCommerce company.
2. Consider Marketplaces
If you don’t want to worry about taking credit card payments or managing your own store, consider selling products on a marketplace like Amazon or eBay. Many businesses sell on both their own site and marketplaces to reach more customers.
3. Invest in SEO
North America alone has about 1.3 million eCommerce companies (250,000 to 300,000 if you exclude marketplace sellers). So, just because you are selling online doesn’t mean customers will actually find you. In fact, 75% of online searchers never scroll past the first page of search results.
Making sure that your site is search engine optimized is one of the most crucial steps to eCommerce success. You can choose to do your eCommerce SEO yourself (and these six strategies can help you beat Amazon in the search results), or you can hire an SEO professional like Big Leap to do it for you. Either way, do not skip this important step, even if SEO may be the most hated marketing tactic.
4. Set Up Email Marketing and Automation
For eCommerce, email marketing is essential for driving conversions. Therefore, it’s important to set up your email marketing and automate it as much as possible.You can use things like coupons or discounts, thank you emails, and upsells to turn visitors into customers.
This means that you will also need to create an email list. You can start building your list with an opt-in freebie on your site, a social media campaign, or host a giveaway for all those who subscribe to your list. Our marketing automation specialists at Big Leap can help you get everything set up and running smoothly.
5. Market Your Store
Successful eCommerce businesses invest heavily in online marketing—either with funds or elbow grease. Decide what digital marketing for eCommerce you will use, paid or organic (see this article on which is better). You can also use this list of places to promote your product online. And if creating an eCommerce marketing strategy seems overwhelming, you may want to consider getting some help from a professional eCommerce marketing agency.