How to Optimize Your Ecommerce Value Proposition
By Tom Wintaugh
In an industry dominated by slick websites and fast-changing conditions, your business needs to be ready to handle anything. Here are the key characteristics that you need to succeed.
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Just as successful people have similar characteristics, so do successful ecommerce businesses. Many people who start an online business want to know what the key elements to creating a successful business are. We are going to explore some of those key elements of successful businesses in today’s ecommerce environment:
In an industry dominated by slick websites and fast-changing conditions, your ecommerce business needs to be adaptable, agile, and ready to handle anything. You can't afford to miss out on opportunities to get in front of buyers, showcase your products, and capitalize on emerging trends. To keep your competitive edge and drive growth for your business, you must have the means to quickly make changes to your website. This level of flexibility is critical to engaging customers, increasing sales, boosting customer lifetime value, and seizing opportunities as they come.
A key characteristic of ecommerce success is having a spectacular online experience. This means having the robust systems, technology, and promotional strategies needed to sustain that experience. An agile, customer-centric, and innovative website will allow you to thrive in the years to come.
These are the key characteristics of ecommerce that you need to succeed in today’s competitive commercial landscape:
This is the most important key characteristic of ecommerce success. Your website not only acts as an online shop, but also serves as the online face of your business. Your site serves as a valuable tool for increasing sales, attracting customers, and staying competitive—especially as your industry evolves.
To thrive, you need a highly functional and modern website that delivers a top-notch experience, communicates your value proposition, and gives customers a reason to shop with you. Things like your product merchandising, site design, checkout process, and overall brand experience will set your business apart.
A strong user experience is all about making things easy for users and delighting them. This involves refining your website design, optimizing your product presentation, and maximizing customer interactions.
A spectacular user experience means having a responsive design that adapts to any device and a stable, fast, and secure website. Your site will also need to keep shoppers moving along the buyer journey. You’ll want to establish a clear website hierarchy, offer clear and intuitive site navigation, implement faceted search features, and offer a simple, friction-free checkout process.
Ecommerce moves fast...and so should your fulfillment operations. You’ll want a solid infrastructure and set of systems that enable you to process orders quickly and get products shipped safely to customers. Your shipping workflow needs to prioritize customer service. Your ability to give clear communication, real-time updates, and accurate timelines will determine your success in the fast-moving world of ecommerce.
Your ecommerce business will either thrive or decline from your reputation among your customers and potential customers. You need to effectively meet customer needs and expectations for shipping—this is a key characteristic of ecommerce success...and survival.
One of the biggest expenses for most online sellers is inventory (ordering, restocking, and storing products). A successful business needs to streamline its inventory management to have the right amount of inventory on hand while balancing costs and maintaining sales opportunities.
When you implement a more efficient process for managing your inventory, you can increase your margins, boost efficiency, and ensure smooth fulfillment. A sustainable inventory management system will enable you to scale and adapt to changes in supply and demand. In addition, good inventory management leads to more consistent product availability online, which provides a consistent customer experience.
It may seem obvious, but the single most important factor for creating a successful ecommerce business is to start with a great idea and a great product. That product must address the needs of the customers in the current market conditions, in order to succeed. Firstly, businesses need to find out what their customers are seeking in order to satisfy their shoppers’ needs. After a quality product is created or found that people actually want or need, online businesses can then take advantage of the marketing opportunities available to them online.
Get the word out about your great new product by sending emails, tweets, Facebook posts, and more. Use social media to get people excited and feature personal recommendations on your website. You can even start a YouTube channel for your company and feature customers using your product. Making the effort to reach out to your customers personally will help your customers to feel like they are important to you. It’s also a great way to build customer loyalty.
Most businesses are familiar with the competitive process offline; however, in the ecommerce world, competition is on a completely different playing field. There are ecommerce giants such as Amazon.com that take over every industry. They are aggressive and far-reaching. How do you compete with a business like that? It is simple: offer something different. Create a niche for your online store that focuses on superior customer service, video demonstrations, specialized resources or customized products. Use your imagination to harness the power of online benefits to make your business stand out and succeed.
Launching an online store is a good start...but how do you let people know you’re there and turn them into lifelong fans? As the online space becomes increasingly competitive, your business needs a solid strategy to generate high quality, relevant traffic. This means having a marketing engine to acquire new customers and increase brand awareness. Your ability to generate buzz and tangible traffic is a key characteristic of ecommerce success.
You’ll want to leverage marketing channels like:
Successful promotion of your ecommerce website depends on your timing, the relevance and creativity of your messaging, your content and offers, and the marketing channels you choose for promotion. The ability to react quickly to emerging trends, seize new opportunities, and respond with relevant offers, products, and branding is another key characteristic of ecommerce success.
Your conversion rate is a good measure of your current website health—it gives a snapshot of how your site is doing and can be used to evaluate your website’s ability to get users to take action...be that making a purchase, requesting a product demo, or signing up for an email newsletter. What qualifies as a good conversion rate will vary by industry but having a benchmark will give you a good picture of your website performance. By getting more customers to convert, you’re able to increase your profits, get more value out of your website, and open new paths for forming customer relationships.
Whether you operate a small, medium, or large business, you can compete against giant e-corporations. It is simply a matter of creatively leveraging the characteristics that set you apart. Take risks and be persistent. You’ll see that your business will succeed because of your passion for success.
This blog was updated on December 20, 2021.
Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.