Running a good online business is not always about products and sales. Most of the time, it’s about the major drivers of the ecommerce industry. What affects online business as a whole, will also affect your own business as a web merchant. So, being in control will keep you ahead of the curve.
The things that affect the ecommerce industry have stayed the same throughout the years but dealing with them changes rapidly in this modern world we’re living in.
Here are the 4 things that influence online business broken down to their components for easier comprehension and an insight into new trends and new drivers.
Delivery is the first major thing that affects online business. Your business will not stand without proper shipping and without complying to new customers’ requirements. Especially nowadays when we enter the world where Generation Z are fully aware adults that constantly shop online.
The most important thing you should pay attention to is, of course, the timing. Customers, not just young adults, are spoiled with Amazon Prime’s services and they require products to be delivered right away. If you deliver a month from the order time, perhaps they won’t even bother ordering from your online business’ website. They can just as easily find what you offer somewhere else and have it delivered the very next day.
So, explore more shipping options to comply with all your website visitors’ needs.
Another thing to have in mind is the country preference in terms of delivery. Always think about the region you’re selling in because cultural differences don’t stop at how you shake hands. There are various ways customers prefer their order delivered and it all comes down to the country they live in. They all want it quickly but they also all want it in a certain way.
For example, in Germany, folks prefer having their ecommerce order shipped right to their house. But in Denmark, there are boxes of delivery all around the city. Crazy, right? And Danish people go search through these boxes to find their own package. I guess this is where they find the thrill. And France is completely the opposite. French people prefer to receive their order from a pick-up office.
Having all of this in mind, a good piece of advice is to offer all kinds of shipment methods depending on the country you’re selling in.
And still being on the topic that all consumers are different and all have their own perks, another important thing about delivery is personification.
It’s of great importance to give your customers the option to choose different delivery companies, for example. They might trust a delivery company more than they would trust your website so it’s always good to offer another choice.
Even if you don’t, personification doesn’t stop here. Once somebody orders from your online business, notify them of the shipping status. Message them however you can to assure them that everything is fine with their order and to perhaps promote something you’re sure they will like.
Marketing is essentially where you should be as a presence so your potential or current customers can see you. The simple solution is to literally be everywhere (for everyone).
The answer is a very well implemented omnichannel strategy. The experience you provide your customers with should be continuous. This means that once they have a touch point with your brand, they should stumble upon you at the next possible channel.
For example, once they visit your physical store, you should make sure they also see your brand online or the other way around. Offer what you’re selling everywhere and don’t ditch brick-and-mortar if you can afford it.
Have in mind that over 50% of customers buy on their phone and 60% of those are millennials. This data has been taken from Emota’s policy officer in a recent presentation we met him at.
What these statistics should tell you is that mobile commerce should be perceived as a separate thing from ecommerce. The experience you provide your website visitors on mobile should be close to flawless and designed extremely easy to shop. Great examples of mobile experience are the big Asian seller – AliExpress, and ASOS.
Another component of marketing is social media. Young adults, and not just them but buyers in general, are actively influenced by social media when they make the decision to purchase. You should definitely up your social game and perhaps think about channels that are different than Facebook and Instagram.
Don’t get me wrong, these are perfect and you should definitely have a presence there and try to steal a piece of the cake but there are already too many brands that advertise using Facebook and Instagram.
Be different. I encourage you. Use influencers if you still want to do it on Facebook and Instagram. They have proven to work many times and it’s more catchy for people to buy if they see a role model suggest a product than to see just another brand that openly advertises.
And if not influencers, make a thorough research about your audience. Snapchat could be your game depending on whether people use it in the country you’re selling it. There are many alternatives to Snapchat, as well. Just search your audience everywhere and in everything. Know them, be them so you can identify where they spend their time online.
And the next aspect of marketing I wanna talk about is the return policy. If you have one, definitely communicate it straight out. If you don’t have one, consider having one.
What do you think will happen if you say to your online business visitors something of the sort “We are taking back things without questions”? It will make whoever buys even once from your website much more likely to come back.
Doing this will get you ahead of the curve even if it puts a hole in your pocket.
For the second time, the best example of this is ASOS. They’ve built a brilliant return policy. It is always free, they only ask the basic questions about the reason for return and they never, ever say no.
Use of data
The secret is the right use of data. My piece of advice is to collect as many cookies as possible but to, of course, do it by the rules. Your customers should be left with the feeling that their data is safe and that they can get it back whenever they want. You should assure them of that.
Using data and knowing how to understand it will give you a great insight into your customers.
Also, on the topic of data use is also Artificial Intelligence. It’s been reported that 28% of retailers used AI in 2018 to help them build better connections and interact with their customers. Chatbots are the perfect example of a tremendous tool that will also get you ahead of the curve.
Out of these 4 major things that affect online business, payments is the one that is changing in the most rapid way.
To be on top, you should offer consumers a huge variety. And not just about products but about payment options. Nowadays, payment variety is enormous. It’s a good idea to make it easier to treat cross-border customers knowing the fact that different groups of people want to pay in different ways. On this topic, there is also a huge cultural difference when it comes to payment. For example, in Denmark people don’t like to pay in cash but Germans love it. So, offer everything you can.
Also, make sure to demonstrate to website visitors that they are safe when they shop from your store. Show them that you are 100% anti-fraud. Here are a few simple design steps to validate your webshop in front of all customer that is undertaking the final payment step.
Things to Look Out For
In a constantly changing industry like ecommerce and online business, you should always stay on top. Product safety is the first thing you need to look out for. Know what’s going on with all product safety rules and comply with them.
Also, look out for the VAT systems. There are 28 different VAT system in the European Union and that’s more than bad for web store owners. It is a huge burden to figure out and manage all of the changes that are going on. If you haven’t heard, there is now a mini one-stop shop in the EU since April this year.
A taxable person which is registered for the mini One Stop Shop in a Member State (the Member State of Identification) electronically submits quarterly mini One Stop Shop VAT returns detailing supplies of telecommunications, broadcasting and electronically supplied services to non-taxable persons in other Member States (the Member State(s) of consumption), along with the VAT due.
Another thing to watch out for is China. Always watch out for China. They are still growing and right now they are even growing in a modern world with modern tools by attracting talent to their country more and more often.
So, look out for that big market and make sure they don’t stomp on your own niche.
Hit me up with any questions you might have regarding this subject in the comments below. I will be happy to answer.