According to a 2019 Marist College and National Public Radio (NPR) poll, 76% of all US adults shop online.
Barriers to entry for new business owners have been removed enabling them to utilize digital technology.
eCommerce stores are much faster to set up than brick and mortar stores. However, starting a new company is no easy task. According to Maksym Babych, the CEO of the SpdLoad, the key for any start startup lies in the idea validation process.
Many startups fail simply because their product is not needed by anyone, no matter how much they would spend on marketing.
Idea validation helps startups to employ a set of tools that allows them to identify demand for a product at a very early stage with a small budget.
Once the groundwork in product development has been done, expanding reach and accelerating growth become the more significant challenge.
Here are six ways startups can accelerate that eCommerce start-up growth and expansion.
- Social Media
- Marketing Automation
- Email Marketing and List Building
- Planning for Growth
- SEO Optimization
- Focus on the Customer Experience
Even if an eCommerce site has a catalog of products that consumers need and want, customers are not just going to show up and make a purchase.
Marketing strategies aimed at attracting and converting customers, generating repeat sales, and promoting upselling and cross-selling will see the best results.
1. Social Media
Don't overlook the massive role social media plays in marketing eCommerce startups.
If used properly, social media can drive a lot of traffic to eCommerce sites for relatively little cost.
Interact with your potential and current customers on Facebook. Share photos and videos on Instagram to pique the interest of your target market. And post relevant market information on Twitter.
Other tips on how to use social media effectively include:
- Posting regularly on social media to maximize brand exposure
- Asking for feedback and questions from current customers to boost engagement
- Sharing relevant, helpful, and exciting content, including calls-to-action
- Starting conversations that are not related to sales but are more geared towards letting your customers know you care. For example, ask what they are planning for the weekend
- Including videos and photos of customers using your products (with their permission) and asking for comments
2. Planning for Growth
When planning your business, make realistic financial assumptions and predictions.
Track and analyze your entire cost of sales including overhead to ensure profitability on every product.
Startups that experience growth will need to scale their business to keep up. Increasing capacity usually involves the need for additional capital. Business financial planning is an integral part of accelerating your eCommerce startup.
Focus on the marketing initiatives that have the best ROI to maximize benefits and reduce inefficiencies.
3. Email Marketing and List Building
One of the most cost-effective and efficient methods to grow your business is email marketing.
However, before you can use a comprehensive email marketing strategy, you must build your list of potential, old, and current customers.
Email marketing apps such as MailMunch from Shopify Apps, OptinMonster, and Optimonk can help you grow your list.
Below are some helpful tips for building your list:
- Include a sign-up form on your website
- Use a pop-up in a non-obtrusive way that includes an incentive such as a discount
- Ask customers for their email address when they purchase so you can send them future specials and savings coupons
Communicate with old, current, and potential customers about new products, offers, and promotions by sending out emails.
Email marketing is one of the most effective methods for connecting with, influencing, and convincing customers to make a purchase.
Staying in contact with past and current customers via email marketing will help make them repeat customers, especially if you send helpful, valuable, and cost-saving emails.
4. Marketing Automation
Following up on abandoned shopping carts, sending out newsletters, fulfilling orders, and other marketing tasks can be tedious if done manually.
Automating many marketing tasks, such as the ones below, will help your eCommerce business grow.
- Email marketing
- List segmentation based on consumer behavior
- Track and reward VIP customers
- Reconnect with less engaged customers
- Focus on relationship building and customer experience, not just sales
5. Site Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to the growth and continued success of an eCommerce startup business.
When people are searching for your products, you want your website to show up high in the search results.
Be sure to include in your marketing initiatives processes that will leverage and strengthen SEO.
Because it takes time to show up organically in search, start early in the planning phase of your business. Analyze, assess, and modify when necessary.
SEO is not only about choosing the right keywords and phrases. It also includes content marketing to increase backlinks and web traffic.
6. Focus on the Customer Experience
The building, improving, and enhancing customer relationships is often overlooked.
Consumers expect instant gratification and seamless, smooth customer experience. Ignore your customers at your own peril.
Social media is a valuable tool to help connect, listen to, communicate, and improve customers' interactions with your brand.
They often express their opinions and address any issues on social media platforms. Respond professionally and in a timely manner to resolve issues and answer questions.
Starting a new business and accelerating its growth takes time, perseverance, and motivation. It's not easy, and not everyone succeeds.
However, if you use the right tools and platforms, plan, and focus on the right processes, your chances of success will be higher.