Introduction - ecommerce growth
Achieving ecommerce growth the easy way means using “growth hacks”, a popular term in the business world today. The key focus is about finding smart and creative ways to use everything from your product to content in order to attract and retain customers and achieve growth. These “hacks” are a very popular practice for two reasons:
- They don’t take much time to implement;
- They can make a big impact on your business.
If you are asking why (and we are sure you do), the reason is simple but firm. These hacks are not a myth but rather proven methods of work in particular and repeatable ways. We’ve already shown you how to cut e-commerce costs. This time, for e-commerce companies looking to experience a guaranteed growth the easy way, this post will explain some of the useful practices and strategies that you need to follow.
1. Explore new channels
There may come a time when a business reaches its proverbial ceiling in terms of sales. Even worse, the sales begin to drop slowly, providing a fruitful soil for panic. However, there is a simple solution an e-commerce business can utilize to avoid such downfall. A regular strategy for reaching e-commerce growth is adding more sales channels.
This goes beyond the usual suspects like Amazon and eBay. We are talking about opening up new channels like Rakuten, Newegg or Sears that can provide new openings for you. There are auto MCF (multi-channel fulfillment) tools like Sellbrite and SureDone that connect your marketplace listings and synchronize inventory management across all channels. These tools can be especially useful for FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) users as they can create automatic fulfillment orders. The items get imported into the software and from there on you select which products you’d like the program to take care of (auto fulfill). These tools effectively eliminate the need for individual product shipping and grow your business without having to go for extra costs like hiring additional workforce or paying for supplementary storage. For non-Amazon users, they ease the multi-channel management and transition process.
Percentage of Amazon users that sell on other marketplaces (Image source:: Rakuten)
If you really want to go a step further, Alibaba and JD.com are the way to go. The two biggest Chinese online retailers each have dedicated platforms that accommodate sellers outside of China, something we’ve talked about before. It takes a significant investment and meeting lots of regulations so carefully weigh if the opportunities that the Chinese market presents outweigh the overall cost of entering it.
2. Look what you can change on the inside
The aforementioned approach of opening new channels of demand can most definitely work but it also carries an additional layer of complexity by reaching out far and wide. For a smaller business, that strategy can be a bit more than it can chew, spreading resources and focus too thin. This is why it’s also a good idea to look within and grow from the inside out.
In essence, analyze your SKUs and perform a cost analysis of each to determine if are you selling products you are losing your money on. See if you can you drop some product lines to gain warehouse space for more valuable ones or work smarter to increase sales volumes for your best products in order to push for higher supply discounts. Is there is something you can do from the non-product aspect like improve delivery times or customer service? Is your marketing effective - reaching the right people, highlighting the values of your product? As you can see, there are loads of things you can do to better your business from the inside - achieving growth from optimizing what you have as opposed to what you’d like to have by reaching out.
3. Find out who your best customers are
The harsh truth of doing business is that only a handful of customers actually drive the business. This is commonly known as the 80/20 rule or the Pareto principle, whereas 20 percent of your customers drive 80 percent of the revenue. If a business can identify those 20 percent - the highest-spending customers, it can market to them specifically in order to both retain them and attract customers with similar behavior.
The 80/20 rule in e-commerce (Image source: Blitz Industries)
Answers to questions like what products do these customers buy, what marketing affects them, how are they similar and so on could yield valuable insights. This approach is called the customer value optimization (CVO) and simply put, it works. Hence, an e-commerce company should always try to analyze its revenues and figure out who are its best customers so that it can build a business around them. There is also another aspect of CVO that you can use to your advantage. Namely, your highest value customers can be encouraged to become advocates for further acquisition of new customers through word of mouth or referral marketing. You can use the most influential ones to grow your brand and acquire new customers.
Identifying your best customers leads us to our next entry…
4. Use remarketing
Targeted marketing campaigns allow companies to directly cater to their most impactful customers. However, not every campaign is results in a sale, which is where remarketing comes into play. Remarketing allows you to show ads to prospects who have visited your store without making a purchase, or to previous customers who you’d like to remind of your current sales and offers.
Remarketing helps you get in touch with them by showing relevant ads across their different devices. This includes Facebook ads, Google Search and display advertising, among more prominent ones, to help promote sales. The great thing about remarketing is that you have access to people who have shown interest in your product or brand and will likely opt for a purchase. In addition, since it’s cross-platform and featured over multiple devices, it offers a large-scale reach to previous visitors who have actively shown interested in your products .
In the example above, we see how Facebook Ads can be used in remarketing purposes. An e-seller can use remarketing to address customers in different stages by using shopping cart abandonment campaigns, upsells/cross sell emails (personalized emails after a purchase), emails and ads based on your browsing history and so on.
In today’s fast-paced evolving marketplace, a business simply doesn’t have the luxury to ignore some things. The shortcuts mentioned in this post provide a good place to start boosting your e-commerce success. They can help you reach or even exceed your goals and guide you on track to be exponentially profitable.
For those times when your sales stall or decline, there is an option to open new channels of demand in order to gain wider exposure and boost sales. Another good option, especially if you feel new sales channels demand too much from you, is reevaluating your internal process and seeing what can be improved. Finding and profiling your best customers will help immensely, as well as encouraging them to stick around. Finally, for those that eluded you in the first place, you can always employ targeted remarketing to reign back in prospects that have a genuine interest in your products.
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