Internet usage has been steadily increasing each year, but the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have seen a dramatic shift to online and as a result, the opportunity for e-commerce businesses is huge.
However, with new online stores launching all the time, the virtual market is becoming increasingly competitive for retailers, which is why investing in and adapting your e-commerce business is key for future growth.
As we head towards the new year, now is the perfect time to begin thinking about the steps you can take to grow your business and remain competitive in the online world. To help get you started, we’ve put together our five top tips for growing your business online.
Monitor your analytics and online trends
The online world is constantly changing and with rapidly shifting consumer behaviour, evolving technology and developing shopping trends, e-commerce businesses need insights to adapt and help drive their future plans.
A data-driven approach allows businesses to make informed decisions that mean you can take advantage of the potential opportunities for growth. For example, let’s say you’re looking at your website data and you spot that lots of people are visiting a specific page on your website, but these page views aren’t converting into sales. This is an indication that you need to adapt something on the page. Lack of conversion could be due to a number of different variables, from lack of stock, poor quality product imagery or even slow page loading speeds. Without diving into the data, you may never have noticed that there was an issue that needed addressing, and you would have continued to miss out on potential sales.
A good strategy will also mean looking outside of your own business. You must take the time to monitor competitor’s activity and utilise existing industry data.
Optimise your website for search engines
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation is crucial for driving traffic to your website. The online world is more competitive than it ever has been before, and so ensuring your website is visible in the key search results is vital.
Google is where we all go for advice and information, and a report from Smart Insights confirmed that it is still by far the most used search engine, with 70 per cent of users turning to Google over its competitors. The importance of search engines in the e-commerce world is huge, with a staggering 81 per cent of all consumers searching online for a product or service, and 90 per cent visiting an online retail site or store.
However, research shows that only a small percentage of users will scroll past the first page on Google and therefore, ensuring your website is SEO optimised, and is ranking for the right keywords is one of the most important ways of driving traffic and in turn, sales for your website.
It’s fair to say that SEO can be time consuming, and it’s important you do it right if you want to see tangible results. However, if you invest in optimising your website now, then the future business benefits could be huge.
Utilise social media
Social media is one of the most popular online activities, and across the various platforms currently available, there are more than 3.6 billion users worldwide – that’s almost half the global population! If your e-commerce business doesn’t have a social media presence, then you’re missing a huge opportunity for growth.
Brands use social media marketing as a way to build brand trust and awareness, as well as to drive sales and gain new customers. Through social media advertising platforms, brands have much more control over who they target, and how they target them. With 71 per cent of adults with internet access using social media, the potential audience is significant.
However, it’s not just about simply being on social media, the key to a good campaign is being targeted and strategic with your content. Firstly, you need to establish which social media platforms your audience uses and also look at when they use them. This way you can spend your time more efficiently and it’s much more likely that campaigns will convert.
Having great content that you know will resonate with your target audience is key to ensuring your social media campaigns perform well. You should also consider investing in paid social media advertising – it can be a great way to reach new audiences and boost the results from campaigns for a potentially low cost, with the impact of organic reach falling considerably in recent years.
Create a mobile friendly site
With many business owners working from laptops or desktop during the day, it’s easy to overlook the importance of mobile. According to The Drum’s Ecommerce Year in Review report, in 2019 more than half (53 per cent) of sales happen via mobile, and the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic mean it’s likely that this number will continue to increase.
Google says that 67 per cent of mobile users say that when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they’re more likely to buy a site’s product or service, whilst over half (52 per cent) said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company. So, with that in mind, what does a mobile friendly site look like?
The key is usability. Consumers want to be able to find and purchase products as quickly and easily as possible. Making sure search bars are visible, images are clear and site load speed is optimised are all important factors to ensuring your website is easy to navigate on mobile.
Introduce a multi-channel strategy
A multi-channel strategy simply means selling to consumers through a range of different online and offline channels. Since the rise in popularity of online marketplaces, such as Amazon or eBay, multi-channel retailing has become even more important with savvy shoppers now able to easily compare between online stores.
The channels that are available for businesses to sell through have continued to grow and develop and in recent years we’ve seen more purchase options than ever before. Even the social media platforms are getting involved, with Instagram recently launching a dedicated shopping page on its app.
The benefit of multi-channel retailing is that you’re able to hit consumers at different stages of their buying journey as well as utilising the brand benefits that come with selling through retail giants such as Amazon.
As uncertain as the future may be, online businesses who continue to invest in a strong and sustainable online presence are far more likely to see their company continue to grow. If you’re looking for finance to help with your growth plans, then a Capify e-commerce loan could be perfect for you. Get in touch today to find out more.