How to Get Started On eCommerce in 2021
We first heard of Covid-19 in the last few months of 2019. Most of us did not pay attention to it. It was in our periphery, not expecting that in 2020 it was going to be in the front and center of our lives. Everybody felt the effect of the pandemic. Our lives turned upside down. What we thought was a temporary distraction ushered in a new normal as we move forward.
One of the biggest changes the pandemic brought is how we get our goods and services. Lockdowns were imposed and going to the stores is discouraged. Supermarkets have started to limit the number of customers they allow inside to maintain social distancing. Restaurant dine-ins were disallowed for a time and had to make do with deliveries to serve their customers. Some stores also offered curbside pickup for customers who prefer it.
Because going out to buy goods became difficult (and risky), consumers resorted to online shopping. In the US, as much as 80% of consumers started buying their groceries online. Alcohol sold online have more than doubled compared to last year. This year’s holiday shopping season is different because physical stores are going to be closed.
One business that has benefited from these changes, though, is Ecommerce. Stores have turned their sales effort online through Amazon, Etsy, Ebay, direct website, and social media. Web hosting platforms experienced a rise in their paying subscribers. This means that more businesses have started selling online or at least build an online presence.
How is your business handling this change? Is it delivering the results you want? Ecommerce will continue to be strong in 2021 and if you need help navigating this change, here are our tips:
- 1Pay for web hosting – Your website should be the main venue for your eCommerce. A free website is limited, so invest in a paid subscription where you can make a customer portal where your buyers can buy from with more ease.
- 2Work on your design – If you devote time and effort in designing your physical store, do the same on your online place. Do not just put your product against a generic background, take a photo and upload it. Think about the layout. It should attract a buyer’s attention. Create content that will support your product. Shoot how-to videos, if necessary. Remember that your website is an extension of your actual store and your branding should be identifiable.
- 3Test marketplace channels – Give your customers options on where and how to buy your products. Aside from your website, put your products in marketplace channels. Amazon is the biggest player in the business, but there are others you can try. Test which one best fit your business.
- 4Advertise – A working online store plus Amazon listing is not enough to guarantee sales. You need a marketing plan to get customers. Advertise through channels like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and more. Game apps are also effective venues for advertising. Tap social media influencers. Do email marketing. There are many marketing strategies you can test to find those that can generate sales.
- 5Implement Google Shopping Ads – Google’s ad platform shows users products that are related to their Google search queries. When the user clicks on an item, they are sent directly to the seller’s site. This is one of the easiest and most effective way to sell your product. Customers are already vetted because they already saw your product and its price.
- 6Optimize for voice search – Voice search was one of the biggest marketing strategies in 2020 and it will continue in 2021. A lot of buyers use voice to look for products and brands should optimize their content for these search terms to place well in search engines.
- 7Use SMS and push notifications – Before these messaging apps came about, we all used SMS. They have huge open rates because notifications get right in front of the user and many people do not know how to turn them off.
- 8Make a lot of videos – Videos are popular with online audiences because people would rather watch information than read. They also increase the time your audience spends on your page by over one minute. Create a YouTube channel where you can interact with your customer base. It will help drive traffic and revenue because Google ranks videos higher on the results page.
- 9Send personalized emails – Personalized email marketing still works despite the existence of new eCommerce strategies. Track you audience’s behavior in your store and send them appropriate emails based on their activity. Did they put items in a cart then abandoned it? What changed their mind? Was it the price? Are they looking for a better item? Send them an email to show them other items they might like. Throw in a coupon code to entice them further.
- 10Outsource the process – eCommerce can be a daunting process at first, especially for those who are not so tech-savvy. A lot of people don’t know how to create a website. Some are even wary of social media. eCommerce is complex. It involves technology, marketing, merchandising and logistics. If this is too big a task for you, get an expert who does this for a living!
While we are hopeful that this pandemic is going to end soon, it is not clear if we can go back to how things were. Social distancing may be here for a lot longer than we wish. It may take a while for physical stores to be allowed to welcome back great crowds. Plus, buyers may still prefer online buying even post-pandemic. If you want your business to still thrive, then it is time you considered going digital. The eCommerce world is where it’s at in 2021. And beyond!