The pandemic has been great for eCommerce.
People first turned online to continue shopping amid lockdowns.
Today, they continue to stand by eCommerce due to its convenience. That's why it comes as no surprise that eCommerce sales have skyrocketed to over $4 trillion in the past year.
Today there are millions of eCommerce businesses all over the globe, and new ones pop up all the time.
If you're starting, don't let this discourage you.
There's lots of room for growth in eCommerce, even for small businesses like your own.
4 Tips to Run an eCommerce Business on Your Own
Here are 4 tips you can use to help your business thrive when it's you running the show solo
- Network to find partners
- Leverage the power of AI
- Use social media
- Build trust
Let's get started!
1. Network for partners
There are so many moving parts in an eCommerce business, and having partners means that you never have to do the work alone.
Partners bring knowledge and expertise into your business that you wouldn't have otherwise had so that you can launch and maintain your business with more informed strategies in marketing, finance, and order fulfillment.
Networking is the best way to find such partners.
Get your business on LinkedIn
The world's most comprehensive professional network boasts over 174 million users in the US alone, and its trusty algorithm helps you connect with experts whose business interests align with yours.
It also shows you a potential partner's skills, business ethics, and track record right off the bat, so you only source the best talent for your business.
There are many strategies you can use to get started.
Search LinkedIn for existing contacts
You can get in touch with existing contacts that you feel can help your business grow.
You can also try to search for people you know — friends, family, old classmates, former colleagues — that you haven't had the chance to add on LinkedIn yet.
Reach out to people in your industry
Finally, you can leverage the connections of those contacts to find professionals whose business interests align with your own.
If you're creating your LinkedIn network from scratch, simply listing the fields you're interested in on your profile can prompt the LinkedIn algorithm to recommend experts for you to connect with.
2. Leverage the power of AI
When it comes to your day-to-day operations, you're also going to need all the help you can get.
Fortunately, you're living in the Digital Age — meaning you can use sophisticated tools to take care of manual tasks.
With AI, you can enhance the customer experience at multiple touchpoints.
AI for engagement
Platforms like Granify and Morphl.io use AI to help you engage customers, personalize both marketing and the shopping experience on a large scale, and scale your business in the long term. This can begin with optimizing customer conversion rates.
AI for personalization
Tools like Google's Cloud Recommendations AI can analyze consumers' previous browsing habits to show personalized market messaging to your target audience and lead them to your eCommerce site.
AI for website analytics
Website analytics platforms like HotJar and LuckyOrange can then provide data on everything from how long visitors stay to which parts of your site are the most and least frequently visited with handy heatmaps. This will give you points of improvement to improve the overall shopping experience.
AI for customer support
You can even extend customer support to all hours of the day with chatbots.
The chatbots answer the most common customer queries in real-time, even when you're away, which can boost customer conversion and increase the trust placed in your brand.
You can even ask people to leave a review with a chatbot.
Placing these reviews alongside your offerings further improves your brand's credibility and draws more potential customers to your site. Focus on the bigger picture.
3. Use social media
In running an online business, it's best to focus your marketing efforts on where the action is: social media.
Using these platforms is free and affords you a broad reach, making social media an affordable and indispensable marketing tool.
When using social media marketing for eCommerce businesses, it's best to go the visual route with platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
You may also want to leverage sites like Facebook and Twitter for their large audiences. From here, there are multiple strategies you can consider employing.
Paid ads on social
For example, you can boost paid advertisements to a particular segment of social media users.
Using audience-appropriate content, you can also build your online personality with themed marketing strategies and interactions with social media users.
For example, if you're marketing to millennials or Gen Z, you can try posting memes and TikTok videos or curating aesthetically pleasing Instagram feeds.
You can also encourage word-of-mouth marketing through social media influencers and hashtags.
Influencer marketing involves paying individuals with a large number of followers to promote your brand.
Meanwhile, you can take notes for hashtag campaigns from brands like ASOS.
ASOS once encouraged their audience to post looks with the hashtag #AsSeenOnMe, promising the opportunity for users to be featured on the official ASOS website and social media accounts.
Ultimately, marketers find all these methods to be significantly effective.
The stats on social media
In fact, 51% of consumers aged 18 to 24 report that they use social media to discover new products.
However, it's essential to ensure that your content remains relevant, or else you risk turning off consumers by spamming them with unrelated content.
4. Build trust
Fostering customer trust in your brand is crucial to the long-term sustainability of your business.
When consumers find you reliable, they're more likely to be loyal regulars who may even promote your business via word of mouth.
There are many ways you can make this happen.
Send orders out quickly
Make sure to fulfill the correct orders on time every time to build a sense of reliability.
Optimize your website for use across various devices, from PCs and laptops to smartphones and tablets.
Offer multiple payment options
Hosting trustworthy payment gateways by companies like PayPal, Mastercard, and Visa can foster a convenient and secure online shopping experience.
This can be a deciding factor for consumers, especially given the rampant cybersecurity threats present on the Internet nowadays.
We've even mentioned how displaying product reviews alongside your offerings can give shoppers critical information that will boost your sales. This is because reviews can do three things for your brand.
First, people tend to hop on bandwagons, and reviews help prove that your products are popular and worth buying.
Second, customers trust people like them — so reviews from like-minded individuals help increase trust in your brand.
Finally, reviews give potential buyers an idea of what it's like to own a product, which ultimately sparks their desire to buy it.
Your eCommerce business can only flourish over time with a loyal customer base that keeps coming back for more.
Wrapping it up
Running an eCommerce business on your own can be difficult. However, having the right expertise and tools at your disposal will bring your business to the front of the pack. Researching to inform your eCommerce strategies will help you reach that goal.
About Robbie Jane
Robbie Jane is a freelance marketing strategist and an aspiring mompreneur.
She loves exploring and brainstorming different business ideas and start-up concepts with her clients.
Most of her work is done online, so when she's not in front of her laptop, she enjoys cooking and baking (and eating) with her husband and kids.